Over the past few years, 3D printing technology has made its way into different walks of life. It has improved the lives of millions of people in one way or the other. A few months ago, TurbooRoo, a dog, had a fantastic wheelchair 3D printed for him. Now 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) has helped Derby the dog outrun his new parents. Is 3D Systems interested in manufacturing the veterinary prosthetics at a commercial scale? Only time will tell.
3D Systems employees help Derby
3D Systems said in a statement that Derby was born with underdeveloped front legs and paws. The condition made it very difficult for him to get around on hard surfaces. The company employees and a few others 3D printed front legs for Derby, a husky mix, that helped him run with joy. It all started in October when Tara Anderson, 3D Systems’ Director for CJP Product Management, adopted Derby from Peace and Paws Dog Rescue as a foster mom.
Anderson initially got Derby a cart, which he could use very well. But she felt that the cart prohibited him from playing with other dogs. Neither could it provide him the ability to run. So, Anderson sought the help of Kevin Atkins, the Freeform Product Manager at 3D Systems, and Derrick Campana of Animal Ortho Care. They created many different iterations of prosthetic legs before picking two of them.
They used 3D Systems’ ProJet 5500 MultiJet printer
Using 3D scanners, modeling software and other 3D printing technologies, they were able to make unique prostheses for Derby. The team created the design and printed it using 3D Systems’ ProJet 5500 MultiJet 3D printer, which enables printing of dual materials, creating flexible as well as rigid parts on the same object. Fitted with new front legs, Derby can run along with his new parents, Sherry and Dom Portanova.
Derby started running immediately when Anderson fitted the prosthetic legs the very first time. Buddy Byrum, 3D Systems’ VP for product and channel management, said that 3D printing allows you to adjust the design almost immediately. You don’t have to wait for expensive and time-consuming traditional manufacturing processes.
3D Systems shares inched up 0.17% to $30.05 in pre-market trading Wednesday.