Buttercup the duck was born in a high school biology lab, with a backwards left foot. When Mike Garey of Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary adopted Buttercup, he knew the duck needed help.

"When he would walk outside, his leg would start bleeding," he said. "I knew Buttercup would be better off as a peg-leg duck than a duck with a disabled foot."

A local veterinarian amputated Buttercup's foot in February and Gary began exploring prosthetic options. He wanted to give Buttercup the same opportunities humans have after an amputation but there just isn't a huge market for prosthetic duck feet. In the end, Gary contacted NovaCopy Inc, the only 3D printer reseller in Tennessee.

Melissa Ragsdale, the president of 3D printing solutions for NovaCopy, agreed to donate a 3D printed duck foot that could be used as a mold for Buttercup's new prosthetic foot. Garey wanted Buttercup's prosthetic to be as authentic as possible, so he used Buttercup's sister Minnie as a foot model. He took pictures of Minnie's left foot and worked them up in an AutoDesk program. Then he sent those plans to NovaCopy where they have printed out several prototypes for testing. The printing process for each model takes over thirteen hours.


3d Model of Buttercup's Foot

Buttercup's 3D printed foot

Buttercup will be trying out his new prosthetics in the coming months. If you'd like to keep track of his progress you can check out Feathered Angel's Facebook page for updates.