A feathered friend is up and moving thanks to some advanced 3-D printing technology. Buttercup the duck hatched with a deformed left foot but is finally moving quickly and carefree after being fitted with a prosthetic.
"Buttercup was part of a hatching project in a biology class," said Mike Gary of the Feathered Angels Water Fowl Sanctuary in Bartlett. "One of the students adopted Buttercup and took him home with her. His left foot was severely deformed, basically turned backwards when he came out of the egg."
The student gave Buttercup to the Feathered Angels Water Fowl Sanctuary. Gary amputated the deformed foot and came up with a plan to get him walking without pain.
"I thought, 'I can make a difference and create a foot for him,'" said Gary. "I wanted some type of rubber-type foot that would have some give to it and also have a rubber sock-type material that would protect his leg and give him some cushion."
A quick search of the Internet lead Gary to Novacopy where he submitted images of a duck's foot into their 3-D printing technology.
"It's very Star Trek-ish," said Melissa Ragsdale of Novacopy. "The machine will look at that model and determine how many levels of material are required to print and layer that up from bottom to top."
"Him getting up the first time and walking really fast on it, it was pretty overwhelming," said Gary. "For it to work right off the bat, it was truly an amazing thing."
Appearing at Novacopy Tuesday, Afflac made a surprise $3,000 donation in Buttercup's name so that Gary can continue his passion for helping animals.
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