Lucky duck gets new foot, thanks to 3D printing

Buttercup the duck received a new foot thanks to 3D printing. (Photo courtesy Facebook/Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary) (Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary)

Buttercup the duck was born with a backwards left foot.

At the Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary in Arlington, Tennessee, where Buttercup now lives, owner Mike Garey decided to amputate the duck's foot — it was at risk for infections and great pain — and design its replacement.

"With his deformed foot, he would have been in pain and had constant cuts and foot infections walking on the side of it even at our sanctuary here; and foot infections on these guys is always a serious matter," Garey told CNET.

Using 3D modelling software, Garey designed an artificial foot, based off photos of Buttercup's sister's foot, then sent the design to NovaCopy, a 3D-printing company, which then printed out and donated a mould of the new foot.

The mould will be used to cast a flexible silicone foot for the duck once the design is perfected. Yes, he'll be part "rubber duck."

"This version will have a stretchy silicone sock instead of the finger trap, which will roll up on his leg, be inserted into the foot and then have a fastener in the bottom," Garey said of the final design. "If you saw Dolphin Tail, this material is similar to the WintersGel that they used."

The lucky duck is due to get his new foot very soon, CNET reported. The final design should arrive within two weeks.