If you have imagined something like this then get ready to see your imagination turn into reality. A team of tech students in Colorado recently came up with 3D printed shells for tortoise. Roger Henry, a senior student from Colorado Technical University discovered a tortoise couple for the project that could be used for this purpose. A leopard tortoise named Cleopatra was living in Golden at Canyon Critter Reptile Rescue with a bumpy and rigid shell and several other health problems. Henry realized its plight and designed a 3D printed prosthetic shell for this beautiful creature. Cleopatra can now wear this shell whenever it moves out to socialize with other fellow creatures.
To accomplish this task, Henry used SolidWorks and spent around 600 hours in designing the shell prosthetic. It took around 20-21 rounds of modification before he could come up with the final design. It was team work that witnessed equally enthusiastic participation from animal rescue, college, and 3D printing process along with Taz Printers and Makerbot that could be used for making the two-piece shell for the animal. Cleopatra is still in her teenage and she is expected to live for next 80 years, more than any human. She will grow almost three times her size which means new prosthetics set will be needed for her in coming years.
A similar process was seen when a Brazil, Sao Polo based engineers-scientists team called Animal Avengers came together to make a shell for a tortoise called Freddy who lost a major part of his body in a tragic fire accident. This shell was a fusion of four pieces that were joined with each other with a Blender 3D designed by another brilliant Brazilian – Cicero Moraes. The earliest development in this respect was seen in 2008 when a team of scientists came up with artificial beaks for a pair of eagles. They used nylon for forming these beaks with a lot of modifications and dremel tool for removing excess part. However, the beak was practically glued with the face of the animal who must not have enjoyed it a bit.
These stories aren’t very technically sound or interesting but present fine examples and extent to which 3D printing can play a crucial role in life of humans as well as animals.