Animals With Custom 3D Printed Prosthetics
12 Jun 2015

You’ve probably heard of 3D prosthetics being printed for humans, from an arm to an ear to a heart, but have you ever heard of 3D printed prosthetics for animals? Recently different companies have been working to making the lives of our fellow creatures better. Here are some stories that are sure to tug on your heart strings.

Duck Gets New Leg


Buttercup the duck gets the chance to walk for the first time after being born with an underdeveloped leg. And it’s all thanks to 3D printing. Without the prosthetic, Buttercup would have lived a life of constant infections, even when living in a sanctuary. Now Buttercup is able to walk around and live the exciting life as a duck free of infections.

Sea Turtle Splint

Seeing an injured sea turtle along the coast of North Carolina is, unfortunately, a fairly common sight. Although the turtles are normally able to heal themselves, many aren’t able to heal well enough to survive in the wild. This is where some amazing veterinarians and engineers stepped in and created a custom-made splint for sea turtle Augie. The splint was made from plastic and rubber which created the perfect weight for Augie. Augie ended up wearing the splint for about 40 days and just like that the problem was solved, making for a happy and healthy Augie!

Beak For a Bald Eagle


Found in an Alaskan dump with her beak almost completely shot off we have Beauty the Bald Eagle. An Eagles beak is vital to their survival for the many purposes, such as eating and drinking. Without her beak, Beauty would quickly starve. Luckily, with the help of Jane Fink Catwell from Birds of Prey Northwest, and Nate Calvin of Kinetic Engineering group, they were able to 3D print a new beak for Beauty! Now Beauty is able to eat and take care of herself.

Turtle gets a 3D printed shell

turtle shell

Meet Cleopatra the turtle. She suffers from something known as “peaking” which means that instead of her shell growing smoothly, it has developed raised sections and worn through in spots. This is a big problem for Cleopatra because it means she is more susceptible to infections and bacteria. This custom made shell designed by Roger Henry took him hundreds of hours until the prosthetic was perfect. Fortunately, Cleopatra’s 3D shell is not permanent and her real shell should heal in the next few years. In the mean time, her 3D shell allows Cleopatra to interact with other turtles and make a fashion statement without fear of infection.

Dogs with 3D Printed Paws


When Jack the Labrador mix was just a puppy he lost his two back paws, making him spend the first three years of his life trying to balance on his two front legs. Lucky for Jack his family heard of a program at North Carolina State University that fits animals with 3D printed prosthetics. Dr. Denis Marcellin-Little attached two 3D printed paws to the bone on his hind legs. Now Jack is happier than ever and can walk and play fetch like any other dog!

Derby the dog was born disabled, with deformed front legs that severely restricted his mobility. When Tara Anderson met Derby, rather than just pity him, she decided to do something about the situation. Her first idea was to get him a set of wheels with a kind of cart/harness. But while the cart allowed Derby to get around, it didn’t allow him to run free like a real dog. This lead to Idea 2.0: Having access to 3D modeling software and 3D printing equipment allowed Tara and her coworkers to make custom prosthetics that enabled Derby to run for the first time in his life. You can watch the video about how Derby got his legs here (warning: you might get something in your eye while watching it).

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