Buttercup with Mike Garey

Buttercup with Mike Garey. (Photos and videos courtesy of Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary)

Buttercup might just be the cutest duck around. He has been in love, cared for a teddy bear, and is able to run and swim with the aid of his specialized 3D printed foot.

Buttercup was born with a twisted left foot that was not able to fully rotate forward. In order to give him the best quality of life possible, he was transferred to Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary. At Feathered Angels, the veterinarian Dr. Shannon McGee suggested that his foot be amputated to decrease his hobbling. One of his daily caregivers, Mike Garey, took up the challenge to make Buttercup fully mobile.

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To help Buttercup, Garey came up with the idea to make a 3D printed prosthetic foot and came up with his first prototype in June of 2013. The initial test was a success, but Garey saw the need to adjustment for support and range of motion. To create the perfect foot for Buttercup, Garey spent well over 100 hours drafting the next prototype in CAD. The new design used Buttercup’s girlfriend’s foot as the base design, but was then modified to have a hinged ankle, support springs, and treads.

With Buttercup’s new mobility, Garey decided he would also need to create a specialized foot for swimming. Buttercup’s swim foot is also 3D printed and is a modification of his walking foot. The swim foot has a fixed straight ankle and vent flaps to let water flow through. To allow Buttercup to swim safely, Garey secures the swim foot to a liner with a pin before setting him into water.

To find more information about Buttercup’s television appearances and the great work of Feathered Angels you can visit their Facebook page for frequent updates.