Duck gets second chance with foot made on 3D printer

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BARTLETT, Tenn. - Talk about a lucky duck. This little guy is getting a second chance at waddling thanks to a Tennessee man and a 3D printer.

Dozens of rescued ducks and geese roam the Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary in Bartlett, Tennessee.

Owner Mike Garey knows just about all of them by name.

Each one of them has such a personality.

A particular duck he has taken under his wing is about to benefit from the latest technology.

Buttercup” was born with an inverted foot, a birth defect so painful his foot had to be amputated.

He gets around with a peg leg. Duck and teddy

He plays with his favorite stuffed teddy bear he's had since birth and flirts with just about anyone who enters the room.

In just a few weeks, this talkative 9-month-old duck will be back on two feet.

"I just kind of thought, ‘Let me think out of the box and come up with, why can't I just make him a real foot?’"

Buttercup's sister, Minnie, modeled her foot so Garey could create a 3D computer image. Novacopy in Nashville donated their 3D printing services to produce a plastic replica. Duck foot mold

With a 3D printer, you take a picture from a 360-degree angle and create a computer-generated 3D photo.

Then a robotic arm creates a plastic model.

"The printing of his foot that I needed to make, the mold took 13 and a half hours,” he said.

Buttercup's model is made of hard plastic.

Garey will use it to cast a mold and make him a more flexible version that will slip onto his leg just like a boot. Duck quack wide

"Buttercup's unique, he's unique, just like the rest of them and, you know, it's worth doing. It's worth doing to help him out,” Garey said.

Some high-tech help for a lucky duck from an animal lover whose compassion equals his creativity.

Buttercup is getting along swimmingly with his new foot.

You can follow his progress here on Facebook.

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