We first were introduced to Derby the dog in 2014. He was born with no front paws and small, deformed front legs. His had limited mobility until he came into the foster care of Tara Anderson, an employee at 3D design and printing company 3D Systems. He got a set of 3D-printed prosthetic legs. He now has a brand new pair of front legs featuring a more advanced design.
The first prosthetics had problems, they were very close to the ground. The new design raises Derby higher off the ground which straightens his back, so instead of flopping over, he’s able to walk tall and proud. The new legs have more flexibility and bounce, like a real knee. Derby’s owner, Sherry Portanova said “It raised him up to his proper height. Now he’s walking in a straight line and he’s sitting like a real dog sits, which he’s never been able to do.” Now Derby can run for miles.
Instead of using multi-jet 3D printing like before, the company turned to selective laser sintering to bring his new legs to life. SLS is a manufacturing process that uses heat to fuse tiny particles of material to create a 3D object. With this wonderful new technology, Derby moves and runs like any other dog and like he’s had front legs all his life.