What happens when you take an adorable dog, 3D printing and the kindness of strangers throughout the Maker community? As 3D printing continues its rise in popularity, the technology has already found its way into nearly every facet of life. From 3D-printed ice cream and houses to bionic hands and splints, the next-gen printers are proving their mainstream value by saving lives of both humans and our furry friends.
TurboRoo is a chihuahua that was born with a birth defects that caused his two front legs never to grow. While a baby, TurboRoo’s owners created a makeshift set of wheels from an assortment of children’s toys together. Knowing that their pet required a permanent solution, they began seeking $600 in funds online to get this friendly canine into a wheelchair.
Mark Deadrick came across TurboRoo’s touching story online. Given the distance between the two (Deadrick lives in San Diego while TurboRoo in Indianapolis), the President of 3dyn decided to print a wheelchair merely based on online photos using an AVR powered MakerBot Replicator 2. He added rolllerblade wheels and sent the live-altering contraption off to the handicapped pet’s family.
Given its simplicity and the fact that it was 3D-printed, the apparatus can now easily be modified and rebuilt at very low costs. Though the price is no longer a major concern for TurboRoo, his online fundraising campaign immediately surpassed its original $600 goal and is now sitting just shy of $3,600.
This isn’t the first time 3D printing has been used to assist living beings outside of the human race. Last year, a duck named Buttercup who was born with a backwards flipper received a 3D-printed foot. Though we’ve seen 3D printing throughout a number of niches in recent months, this puppy’s wheelchair may be the cutest implementation of the technology yet. Look at that smile!
UPDATE: So, how is the little chihuahua doing these days? TurboRoo recently attended the Better With Pets Summit in New York City, where he finally got to meet the Maker who went out of his way to improve his life.
“It was great to meet Turbo and his humans in New York last week,” Deadrick shared. “I found it more interesting to see how much this project made others feel inspired, and I hope that inspiration can lead to others wanting to do similar projects, whether it’s for pets or humans.”
The Maker also says that his work with helping the dog, who has arguably become most popular and fan-favorite chihuahua since Taco Bell, isn’t over just yet. “Turbo seems to be doing quite well with his karts, but he is still growing, and we have a next evolution of karts for him in the works,” Deadrick concludes.