Disabled Duck Gets 3-D Printed Foot

Disabled Duck Gets 3-D Printed Foot


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ASHVILLE, Tenn. — Buttercup the peg-legged duck showed off his new webbed foot, waddling into the hearts of workers who helped make his new prosthesis a reality.

The domestic white duck, born last year with a backward left foot, had it amputated earlier this year because it would bleed as he tried to walk on it.

Mike Garey, a volunteer at Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary in Arlington, Tenn., knew the best way to give Buttercup a normal duck life was to find a way to fashion an artificial foot that faced the proper direction. Buttercup had the new foot attached Sunday night and within minutes was walking around outside on sanctuary grounds.

"There was always the big unknown of whether or not it would work and if he would accept it," Garey said.

But Buttercup had no problems accepting his new bright red, rubbery foot, and the lucky duck came to Nashville with his keeper Tuesday to say thank you to friends and fans.

Garey and his sanctuary got Buttercup after he was hatched last year in a high school biology lab. A veterinarian amputated his foot in February, and as Buttercup's stump healed, Garey began researching options for a new foot.

The first step in Buttercup's custom-made prosthesis was a prototype created with a 3-D printer. Garey chose NovaCopy here, about 200 miles from the sanctuary, because of the company's expertise and high-resolution technology. Officials agreed to donate their time, expertise and technology to the non-profit group.

"(Garey) was really looking for a donation of the 3-D printing services, and I said absolutely," said Melissa Ragsdale, NovaCopy's president of 3-D printing solutions. "I would do it again in a heartbeat."

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