A Bespoke Shell Extends the Life of an Unwell Tortoise

By: Laura McQuarrie - Apr 1, 2015
References: denverpost & 3ders.org
Cleopatra is a leopard tortoise that no longer has to suffer from malnutrition and a tortoise shell deformity thanks to 3D printing. Before being saved by Colorado's Canyon Critters Rescue, for many years, Cleopatra was fed a diet that was too heavy in protein. Her imbalanced diet became evident as her shell showed signs of weakening and collapsing in a condition known as pyramiding. In order to help this pet live to a healthy age beyond 80, her diet was quickly balanced and a new prosthetic was created by student Roger Henry from the Colorado Technical University in order smooth out her shell. Over 600 hours went into the creation of the shell, resulting in a lightweight biodegradable prosthetic that perfectly fits over the tortoise's misshapen shell.

Beyond applications like these in the veterinary industry, 3D-printing continues to provide flexibility and customization for human prosthetics as well.