3D printing for Daisy: Goat gets customized orthosis
Our mission is to keep improving the Mecuris Solution Platform so that traditional, orthopedic technology processes can be digitized step by step. Thanks to additive manufacturing, the design possibilities for individual orthotics are almost unlimited.
Recently, it became apparent: goats are also happy about customized, 3D printed orthotics!
Daisy is one of more than 70 dairy goats living at Sky’s Edge Farm in the state of Colorado. As a result of a fracture in her left front leg, Daisy's leg turns inward when she walks - and an orthosis was needed to help regain stability in her leg. To reunite Daisy with the rest of her herd outside, her orthosis needs to be strong enough to hold up despite high levels of outside elements such as rocks and dirt, or inclement weather. Several attempts to build orthoses failed, because none of the orthoses were able to conform to Daisy's leg.
Adrienne Grolbert, Quality Review Coordinator at the Colorado Department of Human Services, found out about Mecuris online and reached out on behalf of Sky's Edge Farm. Adrienne described Daisy's case to us and asked for a solution that would enable Daisy to be supported while walking and to rejoin the herd.
Pure excitement: the 3D scan
No sooner said than done. The first step in the digital process chain was to take a 3D scan of Daisy's leg. An Artec Leo scanner by Reality 3D was used for this.
A scan worked quite well for Daisy, since a plaster cast would have been difficult to make in this case. Most likely the plaster would have been broken or deformed if Daisy had pulled out her leg too quickly due to the time it takes for a cast to set. While Diasy managed to stay calm throughout the scanning process, her veterinarian and owner Cassandra Bennett could barely contain their excitement: "It was so quick and easy and the scan was available within a day and could easily be sent to Mecuris."
💡 What does a scan result of a hoof actually look like?
Here you can see it for yourself.
By mouse click from Colorado to Munich
A big timesaver for Daisy’s orthosis was uploading the scan directly to the Mecuris Solution Platform. Only minutes later our CPO Ylli had already digitally processed the scan and was using the Mecuris3D Modeling and Mecuris3D Creator tool to create Daisy’s orthosis. An offset was applied, different wall thicknesses were inserted and perforation holes as well as recesses/holes for the later closure of the orthosis were added.
After some consultation with the Sky's Edge Farm team and a few initial sketches of what the later orthosis should look like, our animal orthosis was complete. All in all, we had to work very creatively here, since the Mecuris Solution Platform does not have an animal orthosis tool. But that didn’t stop us - after all, #YouCreate is our motto.
💡 Take a closer look at Daisy's finished .stl file: Download here.
3D printing and fitting of the orthosis
After about 2 hours on the computer including three iterations, we were able to email the finished stl. file with the "orthotic blank" to Extol Inc. where the printing took place. Within five days, the orthosis had been printed and sent to the farm by mail.
We knew from Cassandra that the old orthosis needed to be replaced every couple of weeks in order to maintain both cleanliness and support as the old materials degraded quickly with Daisy’s activity and picked up a lot of debris in the form of dirt and hay.
With the 3D printed orthosis, cardboard, wooden sticks and tape will no longer be needed. You can see Daisy’s old orthosis in the photo below. The picture clearly shows how much material is saved and how much easier the new solution is to keep clean.
To allow Daisy more (movement) freedom, the choice of material for the circular-enclosing orthosis fell on TPU, which is known for a pleasant feel and, above all, strong abrasion resistance and flexibility. As a result, owner Cassandra was able to easily handle the fitting herself by simply placing the orthosis on Daisy's leg and positioning it at the correct height. The orthosis could then be fastened to the leg with the help of a couple Velcro strap, which were lined with fleece on the inside.
Durable, airy and light
...these were the requirements for Daisy's new orthosis. The custom TPU orthosis met these requirements. The 3D printed orthosis is now a lot more robust, dirt-repellent, but still lightweight - and has already proven itself in the field: "She has been running about with it on and seems to like it. It's less than a ⅓ the size of the old splint and I think she enjoys the extra freedom!" owner Cassandra says happily.
Unlike Daisy's old orthosis, the new one is only 3 mm thick and fits much more snugly. And the holes for the closure also allow an easy replacement of the Velcro strap in case it become dirty and no longer hold - something that can happen quickly with farm animals who like to run around in hay or mud.
Comparison: Daisy with the old orthosis (top), new orthosis (bottom), and without an orthosis (middle)
After the successful fitting of Daisy, the question now arises: What will happen next? Will there be a workflow for animals in the future or will the body areas in our three tools be expanded to include animal limbs? The answer is: not for the time being. Before we turn our attention to the animal world, we would like to further optimize the Mecuris Solution Platform for humans - there is no question that exciting new possibilities will be added here in the near future!
Nevertheless, we are of course very happy that we could help Daisy and especially that Daisy felt so comfortable in front of the camera and that we can share her special case with you here!
You want a personal demo of the tools on the Mecuris Solution Platform? You can see availabilities for a personal call right here.