There’s just something about the holidays and man’s best friend that brings out the best in people. [Tara Anderson], Director of CJP Product Management at 3D Systems, fostered a husky mix named Derby. Derby was born with a congenital defect: his forelegs were underdeveloped with no paws. This precluded the poor fellow from running around and doing all of the things dogs love to do. [Tara] had fitted him with a wheel cart, but she still felt that Derby deserved more mobility and freedom. Deciding that 3D-printed prosthetics was the answer, she turned to her colleagues and collaborated with Derrick Campana, a certified Animal Orthotist, to create a new set of forelegs for Derby.
The design is different from typical leg prosthetics; Tara felt that the typical “running man” design would not work for a dog, since they’d just sink right into the ground. Instead, the “loop” design was used, allowing for more playful canine antics. They were constructed using MultiJet Printing on the 3DS’ ProJet 5500X. MultiJet Printing enabled the prosthetics to be printed with firm and soft parts, both needed for comfort and durability.
The first set they designed is lower, to help ease the dog into using the prosthetics and strengthening his muscles. As he grows more accustomed to his newfound mobility, newer ones will be printed that will gradually increase in height. Derby has taken a shine to his new legs, happily gallivanting around and in some cases outrunning his new owners!
This is a very neat variation on prosthetics; we are impressed with the novel design and efficacy. We would love to see this MultiJet concept explored in the Maker community with open-source platforms and materials, as well as more unconventional designs made possible by 3D-printing. We never get tired of seeing the many ways people have already created amazing prosthetics for men, women, and children. No matter your personal opinion on 3D Systems, you can’t deny that Derby is having a blast with his awesome gams.