3D Printing Helps Disabled Dogs
Prosthetic devices are expensive and often difficult to get, even for humans with health insurance. The situation is even worse for animals and our furry friends often live difficult lives when they become disabled.
Not only are prosthetics for animals expensive, they are also difficult to find because our pets come in so many shapes and sizes. 3D printing is the perfect technology for overcoming those challenges and Amy Jo Martin is proving it.
Martin is not a mechanical engineer or 3D printing expert. She is an attorney in the mountains of North Carolina who simply loves dogs. She started rescuing dogs more than 25 years ago and transitioned towards adopting dogs with special needs.
Some, like her three-legged German Shepherd Nick, were able to live normal lives with a bit of extra care. But others require substantial assistance. Jett weighs a mere 1.7 pounds and suffers from both neurological issues and rear leg deformities, which make locomotion very difficult.
When Martin received a 3D printer, an Anycubic Mega S, for Christmas, she put it to use for Jett's benefit. There are "wheelchairs" on the market for dogs, which resemble baby walkers. But Martin couldn't find a model that suitable for Jett's tiny body.
With her 3D printer, she was able to build a custom quad wheelchair for Jett. 3D printing is perfect for situations like this, because the design can scale to accommodate growing dogs.
Jett also has soft spots on his skull, which are dangerous if he bumps his head—a real risk given his coordination issues. To protect Jett's noggin, Martin printed a special helmet in flexible TPU material. By this point, Martin had upgraded to an Anycubic Vyper. The helmet has holes for Jett's ears and, like the wheelchair, can scale to fit a variety of head sizes.
Martin's story is an inspiration and we hope it gives you some ideas on how you can use 3D printing to help the animals in your life.