3D printing is one of those technologies that very few people have had the chance to really see the benefits from first hand. Sure, they hear stories on the news about children receiving prosthetic hands, and see images of 3D printed cars, houses, and robots, but most people still consider it a technology that hasn’t really made an impact on their lives quite yet.
Prostheses are one field that really has a ton of potential when it comes to 3D printing. The ability to create completely custom devices for a small fraction of what a more traditional prosthetic would cost, makes the technology quite groundbreaking. It’s not just humans who will continue to see the benefits of 3D printing when it comes to creating prosthetic devices. As we have seen more and more lately, animals stand to benefit as well.
Whether it was Derby the dog, and his 3D printed prosthetic ‘running’ legs, Stumpy the turtle, and his 3D printed leg, or TurboRoo, and his doggy cart, the technology is definitely becoming more widely used when it comes to helping animals in need.
Now, Derby, TurboRoo and Stumpy have a new friend who they can add to the mix. Her name is Bubbles and she is a two-legged Dapple Dachshund. This 6-month old wiener dog was born without her front two legs, but thanks to her owners Trevor Byers and Elissa Smoak, as well as a little bit of 3D printing, she can now get around much easier.
It all started one morning on July 27th, 2014 when Smoak and Byers were woken up by a strange squeaking sound.
“I found a tiny baby puppy behind my pillow,” explained Smoak. “Still half asleep, we moved Bubbles and her mother to the whelping box. Shortly after that, the next puppy was born. Now with the mother distracted, we could take a better look at little Bubbles and that’s when we finally noticed her legs [or lack thereof]”
Many people, when faced with becoming a new owners of a disabled puppy or other animal, automatically decides to put it up for adoption, but this wasn’t the case for Smoak and Byers, as they knew that little Bubbles was meant to be part of their family.
The original plan that they came up with was to create an affordable custom doggy cart for Bubbles using model airplane parts and carbon fiber. This would keep the cart very lightweight while allowing her to get around with ease. After searching Google, the couple found other dogs who had custom carts made for them in the past, and they decided that 3D printing would provide for a terrific method of fabricating Bubbles a new cart.
It wasn’t easy though. Using a 3D printer that they had purchased, Smoak and Byers went through many iterations of their cart before finding one that has so far worked the best.
“It isn’t easy, as she is a Dachshund so she is longer, super hyper and on top of that she is still so tiny,” explained Smoak.
In the end, the couple settled on a design that included large 3D printed wheels, featuring hearts within them, a 3D printed body harness, and more. These designs are currently available for anyone to download, modify and 3D print free of charge on Thingiverse, and they hope that people make good use of them, stating that their goal is to, “spread awareness that an animal with a handicap can lead a full and happy life and should not be given up on.”
Hopefully other dog owners and animal lovers see this story and realize that all it takes is a little dedication, some time, and a 3D printer in order to change an animal’s life forever. What do you think about this 3D printed doggie cart, created by Trevor Byers and Elissa Smoak? Discuss in the 3D Printed Dog Cart forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out some more photos and some videos of Bubbles below. Be sure to vote for Bubbles in the Modern Dog Photo of the Week Contest.