While we come across so many scientific, complex stories regarding 3D printing every day, much of it based around transforming industry, helping to save lives, and working as a general catalyst for improvement, it’s very inspiring when we get to write about innocent animals who are able to receive a better quality of life. Since animals and pets obviously can’t ask directly ask for help themselves, it’s up to us to pinpoint their needs—and to take the initiative for them—making for a very sweet story when all those elements fall together, resulting in assistance with innovations such as 3D printed animal prosthetics.
Geese are waterfowl that, as a rule, spend their day foraging and grazing for food. Sometimes considered ornery and even pesky in suburban areas, Ozzie the Goose is certainly anything but that. With pure white feathers and an innocuous, mild honk, you can see why animal rescuer Sue Burger, of South Africa, not only nursed him back to health but went to the added—and extensive—length of procuring a 3D printed leg for Ozzie.
After breaking a leg, Ozzie’s limb was fully amputated, saving his life but also causing a great amount of struggle in locomotion, bringing devastation to the rest of his body as he overcompensated, resulting in broken wings and more. Burger, rather than going the route of euthanasia to quell Ozzie’s suffering, took to the airwaves in a plea for help for Ozzie. After some coordination, a very impressive group was assembled to help Ozzie, to include:
- 3D Printing Systems, which contributed materials
- BunnyCorp, responsible for 3D design
- J-Lee Inc. (Hybrid Advanced Geometries), which offered use of 3D printers and their workshop, as well as technical help
- Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM) from the Central University of Technology (CUT) in Bloemfontein, responsible for the final 3D print of the leg
Burger was certainly able to assemble quite a team for helping little Ozzie with a new leg, but she would need it, as very few bird prosthetics have ever been created. BunnyCorp, which did have the previous experience of designing human prosthetics, began with the preliminary work of measuring the leg and setting up fitting times and then moved on to making the initial 3D design, which was sent to Hybrid Advanced Geometries for 3D printing.
In quite the momentous occasion, Ozzie was fitted with his initial leg on April 3rd, but did experience some confusion regarding the sudden appearance and feel of the artificial limb, as some time had passed since the amputation. He will require physical therapy, but is actually walking on the leg. The team is keeping an eye on his progress and this first iteration of the leg to see how Ozzie does before they actually go to CRPM to have his final, permanent nylon prosthetic leg 3D printed. The final 3D print is expected to be extremely durable and long-lasting for Ozzie, who should be out foraging in the green grass again soon.
Do you know of any animals or pets that could use a 3D printed prosthetic? Do you know of any individuals using them? Share with us in the 3D Printed Goose Prosthetic Leg forum thread over at 3DPB.com.