You know the old saying: if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, it’s a duck…with a 3D printed replacement leg. Or at least this is the case for one particularly lucky waterfowl currently interned at the Ramakrishna Mission in Rajahmundry (also known as Rajamahendravaram), a major city in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. While the duck has not provided any clarifying details about the accident that led to the loss of one of his legs, his reticence to share did not dampen the enthusiasm of a group of young men who wanted to help. As wings make the use of crutches an impossibility, the idea of 3D printing a replacement limb occurred to the duck’s caretakers and they made contact with startup company 3Ding.
Two members of the 3D team at the company decided to work to address the duck’s loss, first by researching the current state of duck prosthetic knowledge and then through a series of trial and error experiments. In the daily newspaper The Hindu out of Hyderabad, team leader Sandeep Reddy explained how they got the job:
“I have a friend in Rajahmundry who called me up 10 days ago. He told me about the condition of the duck, which lost one leg, and asked me if I can help in any way. I readily accepted and asked him to send me the dimensions and photos of the duck.”
After receiving the necessary information, Reddy set about designing a model with flexible joints that would allow the duck to both move with ease and to support itself while at rest. Once the 3D model was complete, it was printed in just under two hours out of ABS plastic, which they hope will make the prosthetic durable enough to withstand the daily stresses of duck life for quite some time.
Not surprisingly, Reddy said that his primary interest in taking on the project wasn’t the lure of fame and fortune for those who make it big in the waterfowl prosthetic industry. Instead, he made their
final design freely available on the internet and hopes to be able to develop more aid devices for animals that will greatly improve their quality of life:
“We want to make more of such artificial body parts for animals, especially dogs, in the near future to help them lead a better life. This is not about money. We just want to prove that anything can be printed in 3D with very low costs, and it can make a big difference for many.”
And I say, good for you Mr. Reddy and for the animals that will benefit from your attentions. It’s wonderful to see the way that 3D printing has provided an outlet for the good works that so many have been storing in their minds. Discuss this story in the 3D Printed Duck Leg forum on 3DPB.com.