Buttercup the duck was born with his left foot turned backwards, making it nearly impossible and extremely painful to walk. But now he’s waddling again with a 3D-printed foot.
Buttercup was born in a high school biology lab in November. Because of his bum foot, he was given to Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary in Arlington, Tennessee. The organisation’s Mike Garey, a software engineer, adopted Buttercup and began searching out solutions to get Buttercup walking again. He landed on 3D-modelling company, NovaCopy, which 3D-printed Buttercup a brand new webbed foot, based on photos of Buttercup’s sister Minnie’s left foot.
NovaCopy knew that traditional plastic used in a lot of 3D printers wouldn’t work because the material is too stiff. Instead, it created a mould that was used to cast a more malleable silicone foot for Buttercup. The cast is attached to Buttercup’s leg with a sheath, sort of like a flexible silicone sock. Last night, Buttercup’s adopted dad finally finished attaching the prosthetic, and Buttercup is waddling like a happy, normal duck. You can see a first look of the new foot in action in this video Garey shot last night:
Every time you think of a stupid, dinky 3D-printed toy you don’t give a crap about, just remember that there is an adorable duck out there walking thanks to the very same process. [Feathered Angels, Buttercup the Duck via CNET via TreeHugger]