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Peg is One Lucky Duck, Receiving a 3D Printed Foot from Arkansas High School Students

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You would probably be hard pressed to find someone who is not an animal lover. And most of us eat up the stories about animals being helped via 3D printing. Unfortunately, Peg the duck also had part of his foot eaten up in his youth, by a nasty turtle seeking to make dinner out of him—or part of him, at the very least.

An Indian Runner Duck living in Ontario, Peg had the lucky fortune to have Patsy Smith as his owner. She found him after his accident and took care of him, but as time passed his injured foot began causing him trouble and pain due to ongoing irritation. Smith began researching a way to make Peg’s quality of life better. She began seeking out resources in Ontario, as well as speaking with a rescue organization in the US, in Tennessee. Eventually, she found her way to the Armorel EAST Lab in Arkansas, as students reached out to help Peg with a high-tech solution.

Armorel high school students planned to use their lab’s 3D printer to create a prosthetic leg for this one lucky duck, with care for animals and sympathy for Peg bringing everyone together.

“We already were looking into ways of creating sophisticated creations with our 3D printer and we saw that we could do just that for a duck,” said Alicia Bell, EAST Lab facilitator. “Animals bring everyone together and this was just a great way to show how work in the classroom can impact real life.”

The 3D printed prosthetic was produced at the lab in three months, with students Abby Simmons, Matthew Cook and Darshan Patel in charge. The process was challenging, and although 3D software and printers make fabrication quite easy today, there can still be a lot to learn in terms of design, use of materials, and making a device sturdy enough for a duck to waddle around on all day.

“It was really frustrating because we had to make sure it fit him perfectly and we had to start over due to some issues with the printing but it all worked out in the end,” said Simmons.

The students prevailed however, working stubbornly to make sure Peg would have a comfortable fit. After thirty iterations at the 3D printer, they were able to produce a foot that would offer both functionality and longevity for Peg to get around.

Smith is elated to have found help for her beloved duck, and probably just a bit surprised to have found a school with a 3D printing lab and a group of students just waiting for such a ‘pet’ project.

“Not only is it heartwarming, but it is exciting and I am just so grateful that there are people that truly care and they have gone out of their way to do all they can to make it as comfortable for the duck,” said Smith.

Check out some of our other stories about animals who have received 3D printed prosthetics over the years, from birds to dogs and much more. See a video about how Peg’s 3D printed foot was made, here.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts; join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

[Source: Metro; Images: KAIT TV]

 

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