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3D printer gives Buttercup the Duck a new prosthetic foot

3:06 PM, Jul 2, 2013   |    comments
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(The Tennessean) -- For the first time in his life, Buttercup can walk like any other duck.

At 9 p.m. Sunday, Buttercup's owner, Mike Garey, placed a prosthetic on his "peg" after a long process to help him walk normally.

"I was pretty much overcome with emotion, it was so thrilling," Garey said. "I was happy it worked, but I was so much more happy for Buttercup. You could tell he was so comfortable."

Last week, Garey received the 3-D printed prototype for the prosthetic and the materials to make it.

Buttercup can be seen on the Feathered Angels Sanctuary's YouTube channel walking like any other duck, but with a bright orange contraption on his left leg.

Garey said he was afraid Buttercup would be scared at first and wouldn't react well to the new prosthetic. He was amazed when Buttercup took off running after only a few minutes.

"His leg is taller than it used to be when he just had the peg," Garey said. "His muscles will have to adjust, but I'm amazed at how well he's doing right off the bat."

Buttercup was born in a high school biology lab and was given to Garey at the Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary in Arlington, Tenn. His left foot was backward, and he could hardly walk.

In February, a veterinarian amputated Buttercup's foot while Garey began looking into prosthetic options.

He developed a design and sent the files to Joel Graves, a 3-D printing engineer at NovaCopy in Nashville.

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