I just love it when I see useful cases of 3D printing making a life more pleasant and enjoyable. Whether that life is of a human being, a dog, or a duck, 3D printing technology has transformed many.
Earlier this month we brought you a story about Turboroo, a disabled Chihuahua puppy, who is now able to walk, despite the fact that he is missing his two front legs. This was made possible by a 3D printed cart which helped him get around. Way back in February we also covered a story about a one legged duck named Buttercup. Buttercup gained international exposure, thanks to the 3D printed leg which the Feathered Angels Sanctuary created for him. This allowed Buttercup to walk almost as well as a normal duck.
Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary, located in Arlington, TN, bills itself as ‘Heaven on Earth for Domestic Ducks and Geese’. The two acre sanctuary has a mission to help abandoned domestic ducks and geese, by providing them with food, shelter, and medical care before hopefully finding safe, caring homes for them.
For Buttercup, not only has the sanctuary created a heaven on earth for him, but they continue to strive to find ways to make his life as normal and fulfilling as possible. After the 3D printed leg was created for Buttercup, he could walk just fine. If you know ducks though, they like water even more than land. When Buttercup would try and swim with his new foot, it didn’t quite work like the staff at the sanctuary had hoped.
Instead of just giving up, the team at Feathered Angels decided to go back to the drawing board, and design Buttercup a special 3D printed swim foot.
“Swimming with his prosthetic, or even without it, with just his peg, he doesn’t swim well, so we came up with an idea of inventing a swim foot,” explained Mike Garey, one of the daily care staff at the sanctuary.
The new foot, which can easily be secured to Buttercup’s stub, via an opening with a pin, is quite elaborate, for a foot at least. The back side has flapper doors which open so that when he swims, the water will pass through the front, but when he kicks they will close and be able to push the water.
In the footage provided by the sanctuary, which you can see below, Buttercup tested his new foot out in a swimming pool. After a bit of some uncertainly, he began to navigate himself throughout the pool, no differently than that of an ordinary two-legged duck.
For those of you touched by this incredible story, and the people behind it, the Feathered Angels Sanctuary accepts donations via Paypal. Let’s hear your thoughts on Buttercups new foot in the Buttercup 3D printed swim foot forum thread on 3DPB.com.