We love a 3D printing/duck story here on Personalize, whether they’re of the rubber kind or the real deal as with this story on poor old Buttercup.
An article published in The Tennessean, will have you reaching for the tissues as it details the way in which a 3D printing bureau, NovaCopy Inc. have donated their services to help a disabled duck become able bodied once more.
As a duckling Buttercup was born as a lab duck in a school with a backward left foot. He was adopted and rescued by Mike Garey of Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary.
Garey, an expert on waterfowl, knew that if the duck was allowed to keep his backwards foot he'd never survive in the wild, the only option as far as Garey was concerned, was amputation. So after just three months on this planet, Buttercup went under the knife of Collierville Animal Clinic's exotic veterinarian Dr. McGee.
After a successful operation, a period of healing and the relevant checkups, Mike Garey sought out a prosthetic foot for Buttercup. During the rehabilitation process Garey landed upon 3D printing as an option in his quest to... build up Buttercup... ahem. His extensive research took him to a local copy firm who have solid foundations in the Tennessean 3D printing sphere, NovaCopy Inc.
After some consultation NovaCopy generously donated their services and advised Mr. Garey how best to go about getting a 3D model of the foot. For the design of the foot Mr. Garey took photos of Buttercup’s sister’s left foot. He proceeded to use AutoDesk software to create the 3D model and NovaCopy printed the foot on a 3D Systems’ ProJet machine; the print will be used as a mould for the eventual silicone prosthetic.
The final prosthetic will fit perfectly and will have a medical-grade finger trap so as it never comes off. The story is very apt this week, given Tony Soprano’s love of ducks and all, T would have almost certainly approved of Mike Garey’s tireless efforts to improve, if not save Buttercup's life.
Comparing this story to the rubber duck one is a fantastic allegory for 3D printing in general, its uses can often be dismissed as frivolous but there are some applications that are genuinely life-changing and often life-affirming.