December 30, 2014
I’m not a cat person. As long as they have food and water, they seem mainly indifferent to whether you are around or not. Call a cat and the best response you’re likely to get is a yawn. Dogs, now, dogs are different. They always seem happy to see you, even if you just closed the bathroom door for five minutes. A happy dog will come running to greet you at the door or when you call his name.
Derby the dog was an exception to the running rule. Born with a congenital defect characterized by small forearms and no paws, Derby wasn’t able to come running when called (I bet his tail still wagged). Because of his deformity, Derby was pretty much forced to stay indoors where his sliding movement wouldn’t result in cuts from sharp rocks or rough surfaces.
Fortunately for Derby, he was fostered by Tara Anderson, a 3D Systems employee. As an employee at 3DS, Anderson was aware of the number of different ways 3D printing has been used in the medical field to help both human and animal patients. The flexibility and freedom of design offered by 3D printing makes the technology uniquely suited to building form-meets-function prosthetics.
Anderson assembled a team to help Derby out, including fellow 3DS employees and Derrick Campana, a certified orthotist. The team built a prosthetic system to replace Derby’s missing forepaws and shortened forelegs using Geomagic Freeform. The digital sculpting program not only allowed the team to fit the prosthetic for Derby, but also to ensure the smoothest possible operation.
Printing was completed on the ProJet 5500X, which allowed the entire prosthetic to be printed as one piece in just a few hours.
“The beauty of 3D printing is that if the design needs to be adjusted, we don’t have to wait for time-consuming and expensive traditional manufacturing processes, we can simply print out a new set,” said Buddy Byrum, VP of product and channel management, 3DS. “The dovetailing of 3D scanning and design with the ProJet 5500X multi-material 3D printing allowed for the creation of complete prosthetics printed in a single build, custom-fit to Derby.”
New prosthetic in place, Derby is now able to keep pace with his new owners when they go outside for walks. Below you’ll find a video about Derby, and seeing him run is a joy to behold.