A Nashville company is helping a handicapped duck waddle again, thanks to new 3D technology.
Born in a high school biology lab, Buttercup the duck was born with a backwards foot and couldn't walk.
A veterinarian recommended amputating the bad foot, telling Mike Garey “he would be better with a peg leg than a deformed foot.”
Garey runs Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary in Arlington, Tennessee.
“The two goals I had was making Buttercup able to be outside, swim, do all the other things our other ducks can do, and just have a normal life,” he said.
Garey did some research on how to give Buttercup a prosthetic foot and contacted Nashville printing company Nova Copy for its 3D printer.
“The technology has been around for a very, very long time,” said Nova Copy's Melissa Ragsdale. “The technology, however, has not been readily available for the average, everyday man.”
A 3D printer takes a three dimensional image and prints the image as an exact copy.
“It can be napkin rings for your dining room table, it could be shower curtain rings where you've broken a ring, it could be a set of coffee cups,” Ragsdale explained.
The 13 hour process ended with a prototype for Buttercup's prosthetic foot.
Garey took the prototype and a mold to create Buttercups foot made of industrial urethane.
“Now that his foot is protected and comfortable, he can go anywhere,” said Garey.
Garey runs The Feathered Angel Waterfowl Sanctuary out of his own pocket to help other domesticated ducks and geese that have been turned out into the wild.
On Tuesday, AFLAC presented Garey with a $3,000 check to help other waterfowl.