3D Printing Saves Life: Turtle Gets Its Shell Back

Chuck Banner - May 31st, 2016

While many people would refer to the applications of 3D printing lying in the fields of manufacturing, product testing, and others, the fact a group of people who fancy calling them the ‘Animal Avengers’ managed to save the life of a tortoise named Freddie.

To state the obvious: the shell of a tortoise is one of the most prominent and important parts of it’s anatomy. Not only does it provide a place to sleep, it’s also useful to duck under and sustain damage which tortoises usually do as they are not predominantly the hunting ones nor can they travel very fast. But, when a bush fire burned this very shell of Freddie, the chances of her survival were starting to fade as there was no possible way to treat the injury.

Then, the animal avengers decided to come to the rescue, a group consisting of a dental surgeon, four veterinarians and a 3D designer. Being aware of the merits of 3D printing, the animal avengers decided to try and replicate Freddie’s shell with a 3D printer by taking details photos of freddy and examining the shape and size of the shell that she had.

3ders.org
3ders.org

After that, it was just a matter of waiting and hoping that it works. Fortunately, not only did it work, but there were no complications or tradeoffs when putting the replacement shell as it was a perfect fit. There was still but one teeny tiny problem: since 3D printers usually print the end product as white, it wouldn’t do justice to freddie.

And this is where the animal avengers needed some help: they called for someone volunteering to paint the shell of Freddie, and they found one. Not only did he manage to paint freddie’s shell, he did it with such accuracy and perfection that it’s hard to distinguish between them and the real shell.

And as expected, freddie the tortoise really liked her new shell, and while we gaze at her new shell, we can’t help but wonder if there are more applications of 3D printing than we’ve thought of?

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