3D printing is being used for some seriously innovative and unusual purposes these days, testing the abilities of the technology in the real world. Here we bring you the tragic but ultimately uplifting story of Beauty, a Bald Eagle who was found in an Alaskan dump with her beak shot almost completely off. Eagles use their beak for many purposes, not the least of which is preening their feathers to stay clean, feeding themselves and drinking. Without the vital point to her beak, Beauty would quickly starve, and that is what appeared would happen until Jane Fink Cantwell of Birds of Prey Northwest entered the picture.[see_also]
Using 3D modeling and printing to create the hollow form needed, Cantwell enlisted the help of Nate Calvin of Kinetic Engineering Group to create a new beak for Beauty. The new prosthetic was modeled using Solidworks after x-ray images were used to get an exact fit of Beauty’s injured face. While this first attempt is not secure enough to release her back into the wild, it has given her the ability to care for herself, preening, eating and drinking again as before her tragic shooting. Check out the touching, if somewhat cheesy video at the bottom of this post for more.