Buttercup, a Mid-South duck born with a left foot turned backwards, has finally found his waddle thanks to advancements in 3D printing technology.
3D printing has been making headlines recently because of news that a working handgun can be made with this high-tech printing process and could cause real problems because it can not be detected by security systems.
Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary near Arlington, Tenn., is a place for domestic geese and ducks who have, for one reason or another, have ended up here.
Sanctuary founder Mike Garey said these birds have wings and look normal but have been bred over the past couple of hundred years for meat and eggs, so they don't fly. The waterfowl are heavy-bodied and the ability to fly has been bred out of them.
Most of these geese and ducks at the sanctuary at one time were pets given to children at Easter or even science projects. But once the fun is over, the assorted waterfowl are either dumped near a lake or pond, or if they are really lucky, brought the sanctuary in Arlington.
That is the case with Buttercup the duck. He was a school experiment but was born with a deformed left foot. Once the experiment was over, none of the kids wanted Buttercup, except for one little girl.
The handicapped duck proved to be too much for the little girl.
"She kept Buttercup for 2.5 months," Garey said. "She found us on the Internet. She looked for sanctuaries and just so happened we were in the same town. She sent us an e-mail and said, 'Would you give Buttercup a home? Here's his problems."
Garey said the sanctuary would be glad to take the duck in.
Now you might think that this was as good as this story was going to get, but here is where Buttercup turns out to be one of the luckiest ducks in the whole world. It turns out that Garey is not only a bird lover he is the owner of a computer consulting firm. He knows computers and the latest technology like 3D printing.
Garey though his 3D printing knowledge wanted to create a foot but he wanted to create a real duck foot. He took still pictures of one of his healthy ducks from every direction and took it to Novaprint, a big national copier company in Memphis, who helped finish the job.
A mold was made for Buttercup but the ultimate goal is to make a rubber foot with some type of attachment or some way of attaching it to the duck's foot so that it would flex and bend.
Like a duck to water, for the first time in his young duck life, Buttercup can even swim like a duck.
Garey said the ultimate goal is to get Buttercup integrated with the flock where he can hang out in the grass, catch bugs and crickets and swim; all the stuff that ducks are meant to do.
Feathers Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Feathered-Angels-Waterfowl-Sanctuary/204137506287712