Red-Crowned Crane Receives 3D Printed Beak

Share this Article

beak-implant-before-and-afterWith the exception of the infamous cock-fighting rings, bird fights aren’t normally those associated with guts and gore in the animal kingdom. However, I’ve come to believe that this is only because most of us haven’t spent a great deal of time observing avian behavior as these creatures can be just as vicious, albeit in some ridiculous looking ways, towards each other as the fiercest big cat or toothiest piranha. Sometimes these aggressive tactics are used to drive away outsiders from the flock and other times they occur between creatures struggling for dominance over territory and, of course, over females.

Any doubt over the grave nature of these conflicts can be laid to rest by examining the wounds and injuries that the animals often sustain during a real battle. Sometimes the offending party is driven away just by the pre-fight posturing of the other bird, but when things get serious, the loser can fly away seriously hurt. This is what happened when Lili, a red crowned crane living in the zoo in Guangzhou, China, got into an altercation with another one of her zoo mates.

As if it weren’t bad enough that Lili lost the fight, she also lost part of her beak and the damage was so extensive that she was unable to feed herself. In the wild, this type of injury would have been a sentence of certain death, but on the watch of the caretakers at Guangzhou Zoo, no such thing could be allowed to happen. Instead of giving her up, the zookeepers called in a 3D printing expert to help create a new beak for Lili so she could get back to happily fishing for her own meals.

3d-printed-beak-implant-2To start with careful measurements of the fragment were taken, along with data that was gathered from other healthy bird beaks among the zoo’s collection of red-crowned cranes. A number of models were printed in plastic in order to ensure good fit and function. Once the design was finalized, a version was printed in titanium to be attached to the remaining portion of Lili’s upper beak. Titanium was the material of choice because of its strength and resistance to corrosion, an important factor as the cranes spend a great deal of time with their beaks in the water looking for fish and other tidbits. Lili could have as much as 50 years of life ahead of her and so a beak that could stand the test of time was of the utmost importance.

3d-printed-beak-implant-1This isn’t the first time that an injured bird has been helped through 3D printing and it won’t be the last; this versatile manufacturing method makes it ideal for customized interventions such as this one. A cockatoo in Nanjing Zoo received a 3D printed prosthetic beak earlier this year after other bird bullying, as well. Of course, now that Lili is the only bird in her flock equipped with a titanium beak, let’s just hope that she uses her new found strength for good. Otherwise, the keepers at the Guangzhou Zoo might see themselves needing to produce a great deal more of these in the future. Discuss this story over in the 3D Printed Crane Beak forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source/Images: Shanghaiist.com]

 

Share this Article


Recent News

3Dsimo Multipro – the One Tool to Rule Them All (7 in 1)

Optomec Releases LENS Laser Deposition Head (LDH 3.X) for Additive Manufacturing



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Researchers Use Autodesk Ember 3D Printer to Characterize 3D Printed Lenses

In the recently published ‘Characterization of 3D printed lenses and diffraction gratings made by DLP additive manufacturing,’ international researchers studied digital fabrication of optical parts using DLP 3D printing. Examining...

Germanium, Silica & Titanium Lend Stability to 3D Printing Optical Glass

In the recently published ‘Sol-Gel Based Nanoparticles for 3D Printing of Optical Glass,’ Peter Palencia and Koroush Sasan of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are innovating further in the realm of...

Lithuanian Startup Dear Deer Eyewear Offers Bespoke 3D Printed Eyeglasses Online

Because I was really into Barbies at age 6 when I first got prescription lenses, my very first pair of eyeglasses were huge and bright pink…I shudder to look at...

Interview with Formalloy’s Melanie Lang on Directed Energy Deposition

When I met Melanie Lang at RAPID a lot of the buzz on the show floor was directed at her startup Formalloy. Formalloy has developed a metal deposition head that...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Print Services

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!