Injured toucan gets beak repair courtesy of 3D printing
A custom prosthetic beak-piece helps a toucan rescued from animal smugglers eat and groom normally once again.
3D printing isn’t just for people to make tchotchkes, buildings and Kraken dice. There’s a whole realm of the 3D-printing world involved with helping out animals who need a leg (Derby the dog), face (Akut-3 the turtle) or foot (Ozzie the goose). We can now welcome Tieta the toucan to their ranks.
Tieta was rescued in Brazil from an illegal animal seller. Half of her upper beak was missing. If you’ve ever seen a toucan, you know how magnificent their beaks are. Those bills are also practical in the wild, helping the birds reach for food and regulate their body temperature.
Tieta got a 3D-printed plastic prosthesis in late July to repair her bill. The process of creating the prosthesis was intensive. Designers used a taxidermy toucan as a model and several prototypes were printed. The lightweight final design received a coat of nontoxic varnish and a castor-oil-based polymer for durability. Collaborators on the project included wildlife preservation group Instituto Vida Livre and the Federal University of Rio de Janiero.
It took Tieta three days to adjust to the repaired appendage, but she is now able to eat normally. “We were feeding her fruit and she was ignoring the new beak. But when we gave her live animals, like maggots and cockroaches, she ate normally immediately,” Instituto Vida Livre director Roched Seba told BBC News.
It’s not known how Tieta lost part of her bill. It could have been an accident in the wild or through mistreatment by wildlife smugglers. The bird will spend the rest of her life in the safety of an animal sanctuary.
by Amanda Kooser | August 25, 20153:32 PM PDT
Turns out 3D printing with Easy Cheese isn’t so easy
Delve into the complicated and messy world of spray-cheese 3D printing as a maker attempts to produce gooey cheese forts and cracker toppings. No, it’s not an April Fools’ joke.
Innovations in 3D printing are coming fast and furious these days. There seems to be particular interest in food-related printers capable of making anything from pizza to pancakes. But the world has really been crying out for a spray-cheese printer, and now we have one in the form of the Easy Cheese 3D Printer.
The printer uses a special mechanism to trigger the cheese can while the print head moves around to position the cheese in the correct location. At least that’s the idea. It doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes the trigger puller slips off, resulting in no cheese being dispensed. Sometimes the cheese bubbles up around the print head, creating a gooey mess.
There are a couple of minor moments of triumph. The printer does a decent job of squeezing a mound of cheese out onto a cracker, though it fails to cleanly disconnect the cheese stream. It also creates a passable spray-cheese fort in the form of a square with layers of cheese. Let’s face it, this innovation isn’t likely to attract NASA’s attention.
The experiment comes from the creative mind of Andrew Maxwell-Parish, manager of the Hybrid Lab at the California College of the Arts. Previously, he designed an interactive tip jar called the Wu-Tang Can and a High Five Camera for capturing high fives with strangers. Suddenly, the Easy Cheese 3D printer concept doesn’t seem so out there anymore.
by Amanda Kooser | April 1, 2015 11:18 AM PDT