1 of 3
K-9-1-1 Animal Sanctuary
Dudley struggled to walk without the lower half of his right leg
2 of 3
3 Pillar Designs
The 3D printed foot to be attached to the Dudley
3 of 3
Dudley is now able to walk with confidence
Remember Buttercup? The story of how an amputee duck got a new foot through the powers of 3D printing was one of our favourite stories of 2013.
Buttercup’s story went viral and soon he was strutting his stuff down the Red Carpet as honorary Duckmaster in the world famous Peabody Duck March. The story has inspired countless others; Novacopy – the bureau responsible for printing the waterfowl prosthetic - received phone call requests for prosthetics fo all manner of beings, from dogs to humans.
Buttercup, of course, isn’t the only bird who is in need of a prosthetic limb, accidents happen and Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary have now acquired a 3D printer so as they can design and prototype all types of feet and legs for domestic ducks and geese. The story has also inspired others to follow suit.
One story, which bears a striking resemblance to that of Buttercup is the story of Dudley the duck. This tale is a heart breaking one; as a duckling he and his sibling were kept in the same enclosure as chickens. One particular chicken set about attacking the pair, perhaps presuming they were food. Dudley’s brother died and Dudley's injuries were such that his right leg ended up falling off below the knee.
In October, one of the duck’s carers at the K-9-1-1 Animal Rescue & Services in Sicamous invited a friend and mechanical engineer, Terence Loring, to come and have a look at the duck, who, despite the injury, was swimming pretty well but struggling to walk. Loring, who traditionally specialises in architecture, had experience with 3D printing and knew the technology could come to the duck's aid.
He set about designing an anatomically correct prosthetic, with the help of students at Thompson Rivers University he now had a correct fully working duck's leg. Rapid prototyping bureau Proto3000 offered to print the leg for free.
This was never going to be a simple process, the leg went through several iterations; the first snapped when Dudley stood on it, the second caused bruising and sores around the stump. But this is the beauty of 3D printing, whereas traditional manufacturing methods would have required moulding and tooling for minor alterations – making this an unaffordable endeavour – 3D printing allows for a quick turnaround of design amendments.
The third and final iteration has been a success and Dudley, a duck that could once barely walk, now is running around chasing pigs and chasing mates, so much so that he has now earned the nickname Studley Dudley.