3D PRINTING : Fifth Graders Design and Print Prosthetic Limb for Stumpy the Box Turtle
Fifth graders from May Howard Elementary School, in Savannah, GA, 3D printed a prosthetic limb for “Stumpy” the box turtle, who had her front leg amputated in September due to an injury and subsequent infection. The animal was originally taken care of by Lesley Mailler, Oatland Island Widlife Center’s veterinarian, who proposed the project to the elementary school after seeing an image of a similar animal with a prosthetic made out of legos. The children then came together to study box turtles and begin brainstorming designs for a custom-made, prosthetic leg.
after their teacher, raegam dillon asked, ‘what about the wheels on luggage? or what about the wheels on this rolling chair?‘ and held an example of one in the classroom for the kids, they decided on a ball caster design. the proposed construction included a free-moving marble inside a four pronged cage, that would be permanently affixed to stumpy by a base holster. using the school’s 3D printer and the software program, 3Dtin, they fabricated 15 different iterations which were modified each time. with the final model created, vet mailler curved the plastic top to fit stumpy’s angled chest using a dremel rotary tool, and fixed the object to her shell’s underside with the help of gorilla glue. the 3D printed prosthetic limb was a success but the students were not satisfied and plan to create a new version after the school holidays finish.
The prosthetic was attached using glue, and within a short period of time “Stumpy” was able to walk on it.