A Lame Duck Is Walking Again Thanks to a 3D Printed Foot

By Leslie Horn on at

Buttercup the duck was born with his left foot turned backwards, making it nearly impossible and extremely painful to walk. But now he's waddling again with a 3D-printed foot.

Buttercup was born in a sixth-form biology lab in November. Because of his bum foot he was given to Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary in Arlington, Tennessee. The organization's Mike Garey, a software engineer, adopted Buttercup, and began searching out solutions to get Buttercup walking again. He landed on 3D modeling company, NovaCopy, which 3D printed Buttercup a brand new webbed foot, based on photos of Buttercup's sister Minnie's left foot.

A Lame Duck Is Walking Again Thanks to a 3D Printed Foot

NovaCopy knew that traditional plastic used in a lot of 3D printers wouldn't work because the material is too stiff. Instead, it created a mould that was used to cast a more malleable silicone foot for Buttercup. The cast is attached to Buttercup's leg with a sheath, sort of like a flexible silicone sock. And last night, Buttercup's adopted dad finally finished attaching the prosthetic, and Buttercup is waddling like a happy, normal duck.

Every time you think of a stupid, dinky 3D-printed toy you don't give a crap about, just remember that there is an adorable duck out there walking thanks to the very same process. [Feathered Angels, Buttercup the Duck via CNET via TreeHugger]