fifth graders 3D print prosthetic limb for stumpy the box turtle
images courtesy of savannah morning news
six fifth graders at may howard elementary, savannah, 3D print prosthetic limb for stumpy the box turtle, who had her badly injured and infected front leg amputated in september. the animal was taken care of by oatland island wildlife center’s veterinarian, lesley mailler, who contacted the school to propose the project after seeing an image of a similar shelled creature with a lego wheel prosthetic. the children who one of which was mailler’s daughter, initially learned about box turtles and then began brainstorming designs for a custom-made 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 fake limb was attached using gorilla glue and after 10 minutes, was able to walk on it
the ball design wasn’t able to find any grip on the tiled surface but was able to on carpet