Fred the Tortoise Gets New Shell, Thanks to 3D Printing

After having most of his shell burnt off, 3D printing gave Fred a second chance.

5. 25. 16 by Jelor Gallego
YouTube/InsideEdition
Image by YouTube/InsideEdition

A tortoise in Brazil just received a unique gift: a 3D printed shell. The tortoise, named Fred, was found with 85% of its shell burnt in a forest fire.

The group who came to Fred’s rescue, called the “Animal Avengers,”  is a volunteer animal group consisting of a 3D designer, four veterinarians, and a dental surgeon. They had to virtually reconstruct all of the creature’s shell, due to the extensive damage.

The 3D designers took 40 photographs each of Fred and a healthy tortoise and then used computer programming to design a custom prosthetic shell that was printed, layer by layer, by a 3D printer. Printed in four, jigsaw-like pieces, the shell was made using inexpensive corn-based plastic.

The prosthetic shell was then surgically attached to Freddy. An artist even hand-painted the outside of the shell so that it blended in with nature.

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This is not the group’s first 3D project, having also created artificial beaks for three injured toucans, a parrot, and a goose.


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