A miniature donkey named Saler recently received a pair of 3D printed shoes at Wychmere Farms in Ontario, NY. RIT biomedical engineering students, a general manager from Harbec, and members of a Penfield robotics team cane together to help Saler. The tendons in Saler’s front limbs did not develop at the same rate at his back ones. Because of this, the front hooves curved downward, restricting his movement. Upon heating of Saler’s challenges, it was recommended that a 3D scan and design was used to manufacture fitted shoes. Will Bryon and Sean Bellefeuille from RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering were experienced in designing and producing prosthetics for animals. They have 3D printed paws for several dogs and provided a flexible hand brace that helped a local golfer. For their first meeting, they brought a 3D scanned, some basic measurement tools, and a 3D printed test piece. Their design was almost the perfect size, it just needed to be modified to better contour the front of the hoof.
The design includes several different sized shoes that can be fitted to help Saler fully heal. The different sizes were manufactured at Harbec using the models and displayed at the fitting. The shoe was CNC milled out of aluminum to allow light, yet durable attachment point to the foot. A secondary piece was designed to progressively lower the angle the hoof creates with the ground. At the fitting many people gathered to watch as Byron and Bellefeuille to adhere the shoes. After several attempts, some messy application of protective adhesive, Saler took his first steps in the new shoes. At 3DShoes.com, we never imagined we’d see 3D printed shoes made for animals.
Original Article: https://www.rit.edu/news/salers-new-3d-printed-shoes