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Injured Duckling Takes First Steps On New 3D-Printed Leg

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Dudley the duckling was having a pretty tough life after he lost his brother and leg to a chicken that attacked the two. But thanks to Terence Loring and 3D-printing technology, Dudley has a new leg and a second chance at life.

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Loring, a 32-year old mechanical engineer and architect, heard about Dudley from his martial arts instructor and decided to help the needy creature. Loring worked with a local Canadian firm, Proto3000, to print Dudley’s new leg. The firm is printing the legs for free.

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Dudley and his brother were placed with some chickens in an enclosure at the K9-1-1 Animal Rescue and Services in Sicamous. One day the chickens attacked the ducklings and Dudley lost his brother and his foot and part of his leg. The duckling could still swim, but getting across on land was proving to be difficult for the injured creature.

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The foot was modeled by mirroring Dudley’s good leg so the size and angle of the legs would be the same. The first design was too complex and also at a wrong angle so Loring simplified the design for the second version. The main structure is made of ABS while the foot is made of a soft and flexible ‘rubbery’ plastic which allows for easier placement and lift-off. The change in the ducklings personality is clear thanks to his new leg. The duckling has become more active now that he can move around land freely. The design of Dudley’s leg is still being improved and dozens of them have been tested. As Dudley grows, the artificial leg can easily be replaced by a newly printed version with minimum cost and effort.

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Loring hopes to help more animals with this technology and has uploaded the designs on the internet so that anyone can download them for their pets or any animals they know who are in need of a new lease on life.

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