High school student creates prosthetic leg with 3D printer for three-legged puppy

U.S. & World

KAUKAUNA, WI (WCMH) — A high school senior in Wisconsin is using a 3D printer to get a three-legged golden retriever back on all fours.

Born with only three legs, ‘Grey’ the golden retriever quickly wooed his family with calm and charm, WBAY reported.

“When we were there to look at him, while all the other puppies were flying around, he just gently sat at our legs and just enjoyed being petted so we knew he was a very mellow dog, which would fit very well with our family,” said owner Stephen Cove.

Grey does fine with three legs, but Cove wanted to give him the feeling of being complete.

Kaukana High School engineering teacher Nels Lawrence heard about Grey through a puppy training class.

“We got a new puppy at our house, the trainer was telling us about Grey, and I just kind of casually said, we have a 3D printer, we could do something with that dog and that’s how we got going,” said Lawrence.

Senior Ben Brochtrup accepted the challenge.

“Mr. Lawrence’s CAP engineering group was tasked with the idea of making a device that would help someone with a disability, so this project kind of just came along and fit in that category, not necessarily a person but an animal,” said Brochtrup.

Brochtrup designed and built the leg with a 3D printer.

“It’s actually a little string of plastic, the 3D printer melts the plastic and it works like a CNC machine, it lays down a layer, then it moves up a layer,” said Brochtrup.

The project started five months ago. With a few more tweaks, Grey will be able to use his new 3D printed leg, which can adjust to his height as he grows.

“The comfort isn’t quite there yet, so we’re still working on that, but we’re definitely getting closer to the end and we have to get it approved by a small animal vet first just to make sure that it’s safe and it’s not going to affect his limbs and stuff but I think it’s going to work pretty well,” said Brochtrup.

Brochtrup says he plans to study aerospace engineering after graduation.

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