Until now Derby was the dog which was born with both front legs deformed. Before now the dog could just walk on the soft surfaces. But now, as 3D printed prosthetics have appeared, the dog got its second chance and so Derby’s life totally changed.
Derby was born with an inherent blemish, which is characterized by front paws and small forearms. Walking on hard surfaces, for example sidewalks, cause grazes on the front limbs.
In April Derby was brought to Peace and Paws Dog Rescue, and Tara Anderson – Director of CJP Product Management from 3D Systems (Massachusetts) – fostered it. She knew that she will be able to design and produce prosthetic legs altered to the dog’s structure. That’s how she decided to help.
Her colleagues from 3D Systems – Dace DiPinto and Kevin Atkins – and Derrick Campana – an ABC Certified Orthotics from Animal Ortho Care – all together they scanned the dog’s forearms and developed unique 3D prototypes of Derby’s prosthetics. They used the special digital platform for sculpting by 3D systems known as Geomagic Freeform. It helped the produce the suitable smooth curves and organic shapes perfect especially for Derby’s shape. They had experimented a couple of times before the elbow cups appeared.
The most wonderful thing about the use of 3D printing in Derby’s case is that they had all those images on the computer and were able to print them. It takes less time, than, for example, molding and rebuilding each detail separately.
The team of designers used the ProJet 5500X 3D printer to develop the prosthetics. The printer allows delivering the 3D printing made of a number of materials into a single item, to print whole prosthetics with convenient cups in spokes. It took a couple of hours to complete the prosthetics and they were immediately shipped to Derby to test them.
Vice President of Product and Channel Management, 3D Systems, explained that the advantage of 3D printing is that if you need to adjust the design, it won’t take much time and it won’t be too expensive in comparison with the traditional ways of production. All you have to do is to print a new one.
Now thanks to 3D printing and its capabilities Derby can run wherever he likes. In August Sherri and Dom Portanova noticed him and were excited about the power of 3D printing. So they decided to adopt him. They say that he loves running. Every day he runs two or three miles either with Dom or with Sherry. It’s amazing to see him running on his new legs.
So that’s what 3D printing is about – helping everybody: people, dogs, whoever. 3D printing helps anyone in need lead better lives.