Cleo, a spirited rescue dog, captivated the hearts of many with her remarkable resilience. 3D printed prosthetic leg for her helped her on feet. She was discovered as a stray in Oklahoma, her origin shrouded in mystery. Despite having only three legs, Cleo’s indomitable spirit shone through. Tech video producer and internet personality Marques Brownlee described her as “one of the nicest dogs” he had ever encountered. Cleo’s missing limb didn’t hinder her exuberance; she ran, chased, and played fetch as if nothing was amiss.
However, beneath her cheerful exterior lurked the potential for future medical issues. Her three-legged gait could lead to joint pain and arthritis in her other limbs, compensating for the absent one. Recognizing Cleo’s need, 3D Pets, a New Jersey-based organization specializing in creating custom prosthetics for animals, stepped in to help. Marques Brownlee documented Cleo’s journey of receiving a custom prosthetic limb that would provide her with long-term support.
A Tailored Solution with 3D Printing
Creating a 3D printed prosthetic leg for an animal, like Cleo is a complex task. Each case is unique, influenced by factors like the reason for limb loss, the animal’s size, and the limb’s position. Mass production of one-size-fits-all prosthetics isn’t feasible. The 3D printing process allows for the rapid iteration of designs, ensuring a comfortable and bespoke solution for each animal. 3D Pets employs cutting-edge 3D scanning and printing technologies to craft customized full-limb prosthetics and mobility devices, catering to a diverse range of animals, from dogs and goats to pigs, ducks, tortoises, and even an elephant. With over 300 animals assisted, their process begins with a candidacy form on their website.
Accurate scans of the animal are pivotal in creating the perfect prosthesis. 3D Pets employs the iPhone’s TrueDepth camera and LiDAR scanner to capture precise measurements, a task that can be quite challenging with restless animals. These scans are transferred to the 3D Pets web portal and integrated into custom design software for 3D printed prosthetic leg. This software fine-tunes the 3D printed prosthetic leg design to fit the 3D scan perfectly. Like a digital sculptors, they can adjust lattice structures, hardware placement, and straps to ensure an ideal fit. Another software optimizes the prosthesis for 3D printing, balancing rigidity for mounting hardware with flexibility for areas around the animal’s lungs and ribcage.
Precision Printing for Paws with 3D Printed Prosthetic Leg
The final design of 3D printed prosthetic leg is then sent to one of 3D Pets’ numerous 3D printers. Given the diversity of animals they serve, the studio houses an array of 3D printers in various sizes. Cleo’s custom prosthesis took approximately 24 hours to print, followed by post-processing to ensure quality and durability. Notably, 3D Pets is known for its specialized 3D printed prosthetic leg, designed to absorb the impact as animals take steps. The continuous improvement of these feet, driven by client feedback, is a testament to the studio’s commitment to enhancing animal mobility. Their next version of the foot will feature rounder edges for even wear, accommodating dogs’ natural lean.
Introducing a prosthesis to an animal requires patience and a gradual adjustment process. Animals, like humans with crutches, need time to adapt. Initially, Cleo wore her prosthesis for short periods, slowly increasing the duration each day. This allowed her to retrain her muscle memory and regain trust in her newfound limb. Brownlee witnessed Cleo’s remarkable transformation, from tentatively hovering her prosthesis above the ground to confidently running on it.
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