With the help of veterinarians, 3D designers, and local artists, Freddy the tortoise was able to receive a beautifully hand-painted, 3D-printed hull after losing most of her shell in a devastating forest fire.
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Freddy was found after the fire left him with burned forelegs and a damaged hull, Brazilian 3D designer Cicero Moraes said.
According to a translated press release, veterinarian Rodrigo Rabello had originally considered putting the animal down because she was in such poor shape: “A very critical situation, almost in death, barely moved.” Freddy suffered pneumonia twice, and had starved for 45 days before she was found.
Freddy had lost 85 percent of her shell, and over the next months, it continued falling off until she was left without a shell, Moraes said.
Cicero Moraes told InsideEdition.com that his team then decided to then embark on creating the world’s first 3D printed hull for the animal. While similar procedures have been done, Freddy is the first turtle to receive a hull replacement surgery, while others have had prosthetics created to correct the hull.
“To model the hull, I took several pictures of a healthy [tortoise],” Moraes said to IE.com. He then determined the dimensions of the hull Freddy needed, and created it in four different sections using a low-cost material made of corn.
“The hardest part was to match four different parts,” Moraes said. Each section took a full day to print.
Freddy underwent surgery for the new shell last summer. The surgery was a success and the new shell, created perfectly to Freddy’s dimensions, allowed the animal full mobility and protection.
However, the 3D printed shell was a stark white, causing Freddy to stand out.
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After a team researched the types of paints that would be safe for the tortoise, Brazilian artist Yuri Caldera stepped in and painted a new design on Freddy inspired by “the colors nature has given [her],” according to the press release.
Earlier this year, Cicero Moraes and his team of veterinarians and 3D designers built the world’s first 3-D printed titanium beak for a macaw, whose beak was damaged by disease.
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