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Disabled Duck Gets A New Foot Thanks to 3D Printing Technology

Update Date: Jun 29, 2013 01:45 PM EDT

After living one year with a backward foot, disabled duck, Buttercup, will finally get a viable foot due to 3D printing technology. Buttercup was born in a high school biology lab last November and at first appeared like any normal yellow and fluffy duckling. However, Buttercup's deformity quickly revealed itself as the duckling could not walk around properly due to a partially developed foot. Fortunately for this little duck, the Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary, a Tennessee-based group, came to his rescue.

"With his deformed food, he would have been in pain and had constant cuts and foot infections walking on the side of it even at our sanctuary here," Mike Garey, the owner of the group said according to CNET. Garey is a software engineer.

The group's first step required it to amputate Buttercup's deformed foot. After the amputation, the team was left with several options. They could give Buttercup a peg leg or they could take one step further and give him the fully functionally foot he never had. Garey eventually came across NovaCopy, which is a 3D printing company. After NovaCopy agreed to donate to Garey's cause, they started the project. Together, they took photos of Minnie's left foot, Buttercup's sister, as a mold for a new foot.

Instead of using the usual plastics, NovaCopy created a mold of the foot, which was then used to create a silicone foot that provided the flexibility and movement Buttercup would need. This new foot will be attached to Buttercup using a silicone sheath.

"This version will have a stretchy silicone sock instead of the finger trap, which will roll up on his leg, be inserted into the foot and then have a fastener in the bottom," Garey explained.

As of right now, Buttercup is moving around with his stump and will receive the new foot shortly. To follow his progress, you can click on his Facebook page.

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