Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Horse Saved with 3D Printing Makes for the Best Christmas Present Ever

ST Medical Devices

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Andrew was asked if he could find a solution to keep the hoof dry so the animal could heal and wouldn’t have to be shot. He placed the horse’s two cankerous feet on cardboard and drew an outline of the hooves. He then 3D modeled a part that he printed on a heavily modified Fyfine extrusion 3D printer using E-DA TPU with a shore of 97. Andrew’s Fyfine has two extruders and a custom fan ducting system, as well as some motion control improvements. 

He needed five iterations to get the parts exactly right, but was ultimately able to create the perfect seals for Freda’s feet. Next, farrier Richard Helliwell cleaned out the horses hooves. They were very bloody at this point and medication was applied to the wounds. Then, the team had to seal off the injuries with dental holding material. After that, Andrew’s 3D printed seals were applied before metal horse shoes installed over the 3D printed parts. Red hot metal spikes pierced the shoes, 3D printed components, and the hooves, sealing the custom seals shut. In pain, poor Freda limped around the barn.

That was five weeks ago. Then, today, on Christmas Eve, we received an update from Andrew:

“I just had the best Christmas present ever! Today, we found out that Freda was going to be OK. This horse is alive because of 3D printing and the work of farrier Richard.”

As a thank you in return, the couple want to teach Andrew to ride the friendly and adorable colossus. Andrew believes that 3D printed plates like he’s made could save more horses’ lives. They’ve just made two new cold weather seals for Freda, too. He’s thinking about making a desiccant cartridge to keep the area even dryer and help make the treatment more effective, as well. Additionally, Andrew is working on a 3D printed clip to help showjumping horses so that they loose their shoes less often.

“3D printing is problem solving technology,” Andrew said. “If a person has a problem, we can step in to solve it. We should be using 3D printing for good, not things like guns. And I’m sure we can save more horses lives with this treatment.”

I think that this is a wonderful story to show just how positive and useful 3D printing can be when it is used to iteratively and quickly come up with an exact solution for a precise problem. Thank you for this heart warming news, Andrew! If you would like to learn more contact: info (at) 3d-squared.com.

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