企鹅虽然从外表上看像是穿着燕尾服,但并不总是很友好。在美国康涅狄格州的 Mystic 水族馆,一只企鹅与频临灭绝的非洲企鹅发生扭打,导致 Yellow/Purple(昵称“Purps”)的脚踝部位造成一处屈肌腱功能性损伤。这好比一个人的致命弱点受到损伤,企鹅的屈肌腱受伤会导致疼痛和运动困难。

发现 Purps 受伤后,Mystic 水族馆的兽医工作人员立即开始手工制作一只靴子,用来固定、保护和支撑受伤的足部。然而,动物护理团队了解更多可用的现代解决方案,不仅对于小型鸟类而言更加耐用、轻便,而且比手工制作靴子用时更少。Mystic 水族馆的首席临床兽医 Jen Flower 博士提议使用 3D 打印。

The aquarium took this idea to Mystic Middle School, which had recently acquired a 3D printer through ACT Group, a local 3D Systems partner, and the rest is history. Working as a team, Mystic Aquarium, ACT Group and the middle school students came together to design and 3D print a new boot for Purps. With anatomical guidance from Mystic Aquarium’s veterinary staff and technical training from the professionals at ACT Group, the students led the design and manufacturing process using 3D Systems’ end-to-end solutions.

在 ACT 集团协调的车间中,学生开始使用 3D Systems 的 Geomagic Capture® 3D 扫描仪扫描 Purps 足部的当前铸件,然后将数据导入到 Geomagic® Sculpt™ 软件,在软件中他们通过打磨轮距、铰链和闭合等细节来定制文件。

“学生学习软件的速度之快令我们惊讶。”ACT 集团增材制造负责人和应用工程师 Nick Gondek 这样表示,“为他们提供与独创性相配合的技术支持,看到他们凭借创造性思维、想象力和直觉引领整个过程,这是非常有意义的。”

Once satisfied with the design, it was 3D printed on 3D Systems’ multi-material ProJet® MJP 5500X 3D printer. This printer enables both flexible and rigid materials to be printed and blended simultaneously at the voxel level for custom strength and elasticity. The resulting boot achieved the intended effect in durability, weight and fit, enabling Purps to walk and swim like the rest of her peers.

Watch the video below to learn more about the process and discover how these middle school students used 21st century technologies to help an endangered penguin: