ROCK HILL, SC – Chasing sticks and sprinting in the yard is all part of a dog’s life. But it wasn’t for Derby. That is, until 3D Systems successfully outfitted Derby the dog with 3D-printed prosthetics, allowing him to run down the street for the first time ever.
Derby was born with a congenital deformity characterized by small forearms and no front paws. While always cheerful, Derby was, until now, only able to get around on soft surfaces. Hard surfaces, like sidewalks, cause severe abrasions on his front extremities.
Having fostered Derby through the dog rescue group Peace and Paws in Hillsborough, NH, Tara Anderson decided to help. Tara, as a 3D Systems employee, knew that 3D printing afforded an unmatched level of design freedom, functionality and speed. Using 3D technology, she knew it would be possible to rapidly design and manufacture prosthetics customized to Derby's morphology.
Marshaling help from Derrick Campana, a certified orthotist at Animal Ortho Care in Chantilly, VA, and 3DS designers Kevin Atkins and Dave DiPinto, data of Derby's forearms and 3D scan data of a cup design, created by Campana, were used to create the 3D design. The team utilized Geomagic Freeform, 3DS's digital sculpting platform, which allowed them to create perfect organic shapes and smooth curves for Derby's shape.
The ProJet 5500X delivers multi-material 3D printing in a single build, so Tara and the designers could build complete prosthetics with comfortable cups in rubber and rigid spokes and base. Ready in a few hours, the prosthetics were shipped to Derby for testing.
"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, vice president 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."
Through the power of 3D, Derby is now able to run alongside, and sometimes past, his newly adoptive owners, Sherri and Dom Portanova. "He runs with Sherri and I every day, at least two to three miles," said Dom Portanova. "When I saw him sprinting like that on his new legs, it was just amazing."