I’ve covered a lot of stories in which 3D printing has helped animals gain an improved quality of life, from Buttercup the Duck’s 3D printed prosthetic foot to the stories from North Carolina State University. But, I have to say, this is one of the cutest applications of 3D printing yet. Either that, or I just really want a puppy.
Derby the dog: Running on 3D Printed Prosthetics
Derby, a Malamute, was born without fully formed front legs. The dog couldn’t walk, let alone run. With the help of Derby’s foster parents, a Virginia-based company, Animal OrthoCare, created a special set of 3-D printed prosthetics for the canine. Now Derby races through his neighborhood just like a normal pup.
The story begins when Anderson was in the process of adopting a dog through a site called Peace and Paws Dog Rescue. Seeing Derby, Anderson couldn’t help but decide to foster him. In seeing how he used a cart that Anderson purchased, she knew that the dog required greater mobility and freedom of movement to sate his energy and curiosity. Thankfully, Anderson works for a company with a slew of 3D scanning and printing technology.
This resulted in a set of prostheses consisting of attachment cups, rubber treads and rigid spokes, allowing Derby to run across all surfaces for the first time ever, albeit while very low to the ground.
Derby received a 3D-printed prostheses that enabled him to run for the first time. Well, it’s onward and upward for Derby and his carers, who have now crafted an upgraded set of custom prostheses allowing him to walk proudly with a straight back and even sit like a healthy dog.
Derby the dog’s upgraded 3D-printed prostheses has him walking tall.
Not content with this, Anderson set about making new and improved prostheses that would allow Derby to go about his daily activities in a more comfortable fashion.After sifting through many new designs of varying sizes, Anderson arrived at an iteration she likens to the human knee, in that it had just the right amount of give and take. She then crafted the new prostheses using selective laser sintering and fitted it to Derby’s front legs, where he seemed to take them in his stride.
His new prostheses allow him to sit like a healthy dog and walk at his proper height, both of which he’s never been able to do.
You can see Derby take his new prostheses for a spin in the video below.