Injured in a Bush Fire, Tortoise Gets World’s First 3D Printed Shell

By: | June 10th, 2016

Image courtesy Youtube

Developments and improvements in the process and the materials in the field of 3D printing have taken up applications in different sectors. 3D printing industry applications range from aerospace design to health care. However, one application that will put a smile on your face is helping injured animals.

A team of doctors in Sao Paulo has come together because of their common love for science and animals. The team, known as ‘Animal Avengers,’ has successfully reconstructed artificial beaks for three toucans, a parrot, and a goose. They have designed the first ever titanium prosthetic pecker for a Macaw and built a brand new plastic-based replacement hull for a traumatized tortoise.

A tortoise whose shell was completely burnt in a bush fire was fighting for its life when Animal Avengers came to his rescue. The reptile named Freddy is the world’s first turtle with a 3D-printed prosthetic shell.

The team explained that this task was very difficult. Graphic designer Cicero Moraes explained the process: “It took about 40 photos [to build a model and reconstruct the shell]. We took a healthy animal, took the same 40 photos, reconstructed that animal in 3D and put it into the computer.”

To create the complete shell, the design was printed out with the help of a desktop printer in four individual pieces using a low-cost corn-derived material. These four pieces were later slotted together like a jigsaw puzzle.  It took 50 hours to print a single piece.


Image courtesy

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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