Quack-Quack The Duck Walks Again Thanks to a 3D Printed Leg Brace

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qq3Every year there are thousands of birds that get injured by vehicles, clothes lines, hunters or other animals. Many times they are injured to a point where they can no longer function correctly in the wild, and their caretakers are left with no choice but to put that animal down. Recently we have seen 3D printing come to the rescue of several animals, such as TurboRoo, the puppy who received a 3D printed cart to aid in his walking.

Today, we have yet another amazing animal story to report on; one which will make you step back and realize that 3D printing can really be used for some great causes.

qq6A duck, who has come to be named ‘Quack-Quack’, was enjoying his day on the college campus of National Taiwan University (NTU), when he was viciously attacked by a dog. Upon examination at the National Taiwan University Animal Hospital, it was determined that Quack-Quack would require extensive surgery on his(sex undetermined) left leg. When surgery was complete, it found that Quack-Quack had internal metatarsal torsion, which prohibited him from putting any weight onto the leg.

A company called Lung X Lung Design along with Taipei Hackerspace decided to team up to help provide Quack-Quack with a solution for his injured leg.

Utilizing 3D Systems’ Sense 3D scanner, the team created a mold of the duck’s foot and used the scanner to capture it in 3D. Scanning the foot directly didn’t work all that well, due to lighting issues. Once complete, they 3D printed a foot covering where Quack-Quack’s foot would reside, as well as a brace that would be attached to his leg. To print it out, they used an L3D 3D printer with NinjaFlex flexible filament. The flexibility of the device would allow for it to more perfectly conform to the foot.

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Once complete, they tried the brace on Quack-Quack’s leg and foot, but found that it was not fitting right. The size was a little off, and further modifications needed to be made. So the team went back to the drawing board and came up with a revised version. The new design was more lightweight, also allowing for Quack-Quack’s toes to be fully exposed. It fit almost perfectly, and allowed Quack-Quack to put weight on his foot, as well as keep his balance without causing much pain.

The revised version

The revised version

Quack-Quack now has the ability to bear weight on both feet, and should make a full recovery. This goes to show you that 3D printing has more uses than most of us realize. The ability to create completely custom objects, on a person to person (or duck to duck) basis is what makes this technology so incredibly useful. This certainly won’t be the last case we see where 3D printing comes to the aid of a helpless animal.

Discuss this story in the 3D Printed Duck Leg Brace forum thread on 3DPB.com.  Check out the video below which shows the process.

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