Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 1.55.40 PMLast year, the entire 3D printing community became enamored with Grecia, a toucan found in Costa Rica with half of its beak missing. After the toucan lost a large portion of the upper part of his beak following a thoughtless attack by local youths, the local community successfully launched a campaign to raise money and provide Grecia with a 3D printed beak prothetic. Without a beak, the toucan was left without the means to feed and fend for itself, and so, the world came together to help Grecia get back to leading a normal life.

In order to create the 3D printed beak prosthetic, technicians from Grupo SG, a partner and reseller of 3D Systems, scanned the beak and turned it over to the design team at EwaCorp and Elementos 3D, who worked together with 3D Systems to create a 3D model fit for Grecia. About a year later, after working tirelessly to get past the difficult process of designing an adequate beak prosthetic, the colorful bird was placed in the ZOOAVE Animal Rescue Center, where his unexpected will to live influenced the local veterinarians to do all they could to keep the him alive. Since then, Grecia has since become a local Costa Rican celebrity of sorts, and now, the toucan’s story is being told on the forthcoming Animal Planet documentary called Toucan Nation, which is airing this Wednesday, August 24th, at 10PM (EST).

In preparation of the upcoming documentary, the Rock Hill, South Carolina-based 3D printing giant 3D Systems has detailed how they were able to help the ZOOAVE staff restore Grecia’s beak with their end-to-end 3D printing solutions. 3D Systems collaborated with the animal rescue shelter, along with local product designers, dentists, and nanotechnology experts to create a peak prosthetic that was strong, biocompatible, promoted bacteria growth, and also properly fit Grecia’s residual anatomy.

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Geomagic software suite was integral to restoring Grecia’s anatomy and autonomy

To do so, Grupo SG took 3D scans of the damaged beak, which were then reverse engineered into an attachable prosthetic beak by 3D Systems. Using their Geomagic Wrap software, 3D Systems transformed the 3D scans into a CAD model, which was then imported into Geomagic Freeform, which enabled them to add and remove features accordingly. This final model was then inspected via Geomagic Control, and, finally, was printed in DuraForm ProX PA plastic material on the ProX SLS 500 3D printing system. A few weeks after the project was completed, Grecia was fitted with his new 3D printed beak, and has since become the most popular resident at the ZOOAVE Rescue Center.

“The flexibility of our end-to-end digital manufacturing workflow is critical in these kinds of applications that venture into uncharted territory,” said Chuck Hull, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, 3D Systems. “We are delighted our technology could play such an impactful and beneficial role to help this cause.”

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In Toucan Nation, which is being presented in association with the Humane Society International and H/3 Foundation, Animal Planet will showcase Grecia’s recovery, as well as the growing international movement against animal cruelty that has stemmed from this senseless attack. Although Grecia isn’t the only toucan to have been gifted a second chance at life thanks to a 3D printed prosthetic beak, he has become the ‘poster-bird’ for a new budding movement to put an end to animal cruelty in Costa Rica and around the world. Discuss further in the 3D Printed Beak forum over at 3DPB.com.

[Source: 3D Systems]
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