Phillip the duck is a survivor. With probably no idea of how close to the brink he has actually come, this seriously cute little duck has a new lease on life—and a new pair of orange, webbed feet that were 3D printed by a local Wisconsin teacher. We often follow amazing stories regarding 3D printed innovations in the medical industry that allow for humans to enjoy a much better quality of life, and sometimes they are even saved. Phillip’s is an example of both cases, and it’s incredibly inspiring to see how people have come together to help him on his way to a better duck life.
After enduring conditions that may have been less than stellar and being exposed to the bitter cold, the poor duck’s feet basically deteriorated to the point of curling up and withering into a non-functional state. As numerous farm and domestic animals were being moved from a home nearby, Vicki Rabe-Harrison saw news coverage of the story, along with the state of Phillip’s feet. She made immediate plans to see the duck and adopted him.
“There was a girl that had to move out of her home that had goats and chickens and ducks and all sort of critters,” says Vicki Rabe-Harrison, of Pickett. “And there was a picture of Phillip with his feet all curled up and dried because they had frozen.”
Vicki did a little bit of research online, and discovered 3D printing had been used to help other animals in need of replacement limbs. She contacted a teacher at a local school, thinking maybe he could help. Vicki was so concerned for Phillip’s level of suffering that she was on the verge of having him euthanized, thinking 3D printing help just might not come through by way of the Oshkosh school. She had made the appointment to put him out of his misery and was about an hour away from going when she received the call from Oshkosh’s South Park Middle School.
Teacher Jason Jischke had received Vicki’s email message and called her from his classroom to tell her that he had the 3D printer going and was making the feet as they spoke. Both were so overcome with the emotion of saving Phillip in what could have been his last hour that they were in tears.
“The initial email I thought…is this for real?” says Jischke, who is very enthused about using the 3D printer—especially to save a life—he has tucked away in the classroom. “I immediately called Vicki from class and I said, ‘Vicki, I’m making the feet right now. Hold off, hold off!’”
Since that point, it has taken six weeks to get the feet just right, says Jischke, who is using NinjaFlex filament for Phillip’s new limbs. The material was donated to Phillip’s cause, with both feet taking 36 hours to print in total.
“He picked it up real fast, and I’m sure he’ll learn to balance again and be able to waddle around with all the other ducks,” Vicki Rabe-Harrison said.
So now that Phillip is all fixed up, what are his plans? According to Vicki, he’ll be going to live happily ever after in an animal sanctuary.
“Phillip and I have become pretty good friends, and it’s going to be sad to see him go,” Jischke says.
Most of us can relate to that bittersweet feeling of having to let what is essentially a wild animal go back to the outdoors once we have helped with healing, but a nice pond and grass to forage around in is exactly what Phillip needs, rather than living in a home.
Vicki’s hopes for him sound idyllic and right on target, wishing him a long life in Cedarburg with a bunch of ducks where he can run around and swim.
The list of animals who’ve received 3D printed prosthetics is beginning to add up. We’ve seen examples—just to name a few—like lovable Felix the sheep who received a new leg in Woodstock and Derby the dog running with two front prosthetic legs. We even followed the story of Lilly the goat who received a 3D printed wheelchair. Innovations like these really put a smile on one’s face—and allow for some very happy animals to regain mobility out in the world. And, of course, we’ve seen several ducks—including Buttercup and Quack-Quack—also benefit from 3D printing to help them walk again. While the technology is certainly to be hailed, it’s the kind-hearted people helping the Lillys and the Quack-Quacks and the Phillips of the world who are truly amazing. Discuss this wonderful story in the Phillip the Duck Gets 3D Printed Feet forum over at 3DPB.com.[Source: WBAY ]