In this article, we will tell you how, where and what can be created on a 3D printer for your pet and give some examples of successful applications of this technology.
How to make 3d printed animal correctly?
First, do not forget that you are responsible for those you have tamed. Pets and animals are small children.
They don’t always see the danger and can get into a bad situation.
Therefore, it is very important to approach this issue thoughtfully and carefully, as well as to observe hygiene rules.
Low-quality printers and low-quality material
Cheap printers are needed more like a toy for simple crafts. But if you decide to print something serious, it’s better to find a more expensive printer.
Poor-quality process of 3d printing can lead to rapid breakage of the part or leave rough places of gluing. Small gaps between the layers of the created thing can collect pieces of food or wool, which will lead to an unpleasant smell.
The choice of material should be approached very seriously. Some materials can not only smell unpleasant but also cause harm for your pet. For example, if you print a bowl made of cheap plastic, then your pet may get poisoned when it licks everything clean.
It is especially dangerous for “rodent pets” who so want to gnaw at your furniture and toys. Do not use materials containing styrene (ABS, ASA). As an alternative, PLA, PETG, and other food-safe materials are suitable
We understand how much you want to please your pet, but try not to print any toys or other things that are assembled from many small parts.
As it was written above, your “rodent pet” can swallow the part or choke on it.
Strengthening 3D printed items
If you have created a bowl, then water can leak through the gaps. Use epoxy resin to avoid such defects.
What can be done on a 3D printer?
So, if all the conditions and precautions are met, you can start 3D printing. If you have already had experience in modeling and design before, then your imagination can work to the fullest and you can print everything in the world.
There are a big collection of feeders, bowls, hamster and (captive) birdhouses, various food dispensers, poop bag boxes, fish feeder, dog whistle, hamster house, litter scoops, etc.
In addition to all sorts of toys, tools and other 3d printed gadgets you can even print an animal. If you do not know how or do not want to spend time developing your invention, then you can go to many different sites that offer ready-made models for printing.
To do this, you need to find STL files on the Internet. Of course, there are animals such as dogs, cats, or birds suitable for 3D printing. You will also find STL files of animals such as lions, tigers, turtles
3D printed wild animals
Please note that wild animals are very different from domestic ones. They live in their world, no one trains them or plays with them. Therefore, they treat humans with caution and suspicion.
Firstly, to simplify your task and not worry about any difficulties, you can consult with professionals and animal lovers who have already created projects and know all the nuances.
If you want to create a birdhouse for birds, then look at the ready-made models and analyze all the features of this model. For example, pay attention to the size of the house, the width of the entrance, the position of the roof, and so on.
Remember that birds do not look at the design and style of the house, but rather, on the contrary, analyze possible threats and habitat.
You can make a huge multi-room birdhouse of bright red color in the form of a skyscraper, but this does not mean that birds will like such a birdhouse. They will be afraid to fly up to this huge incomprehensible thing for them. Try to come up with a design suitable for the forest theme.
If you want to do something simpler, then you can start with simple feeders. Again, the bird feeder should not look like an ordinary plastic mold.
Don’t forget to choose the right size of the feeder, model a small roof so that the rain does not fall on the feed, and add a threshold so that the bird can eat standing up, and not on the fly. Try to choose the colors of the feeder so that it does not scare away, but at the same time, it is noticeable to birds.
As another example, you can print Insect Hotels. But such a thing requires special care. Add natural materials to the 3D printed house: wood, tree bark, cones, and leaves. This decor will give more naturalness, will not stand out in your garden, and will be able to attract insects.
Finally, let’s say that not only houses can be 3D printed on the printer to attract guests, but also to catch them.
For example, if you have a mouse at home, you can print a special Multi catch mouse live trap. This trap works very effectively and will help you if you suddenly start to lose cheese. Do not mock wild animals and insects in no case!
You may also be interested: Food printing reality: Is PLA food safe?
How 3D Printed Prosthetics & Orthotics Are Helping Animals?
We have told you about how you can and should use the printer for decorative purposes. Now we would like to tell you about examples when the printer not only performs the role of entertainment for pets but also saves their fragile lives.
Paris Shelton, a hermit crab
One day, a hermit crab named Paris Shelton lost his shell house, and the only thing left for him was to find a new shelter. Paris Shelton was building a house out of marine debris: glass bottles and plastic boxes.
Paris Shelton was lucky because by lucky chance he was noticed in Makerbot. Paris Shelton was not the only affected crab, so a team of specialists contacted TeamUSA and decided to launch their project “Project Shelter”, whose task is to give homeless little crustaceans a new home using modern 3D printing technologies.
Makerbot and TeamUSA designers were tasked with helping animals and developing beautiful and comfortable shells to give crabs a new and happy marine life
You may also be interested: How to paint PLA on one’s own
Unfortunately, sometimes problems arise without any conditions. Waddles Duck was born with a deformed leg, which is why he was nicknamed.
Who knows how long his suffering would have lasted, but at one point the duckling’s leg was noticed by Derrick Campana. Derrick Campana is an animal prosthetist.
To help the poor duckling, animal prosthetist Derrick analyzed his condition, studied the deformed limb, scanned and modeled a cast, and later developed and printed an artificial prosthesis for the duckling on a 3d printer.
Both humans and animals need time to get used to something new.
The duckling needed a little practice to get used to new life and now he walks merrily on the ground without a limp. It turned out like in a fairy tale: “Waddles Duck” turned into a “beautiful swan”!
You should watch the video from the Nat Geo WILD channel. A smile and joy after watching are guaranteed! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP3Kizf-Zqg (LINK)
Turbo the chihuahua
Another sweet and kind story was shared on Instagram by Ashley Cooper. Her cute chihuahua, whose name is Turbo, is forced to live without front paws. A video with a puppy on social networks attracted the attention of an engineer from San Diego, who decided to help the poor guy.
Weeks of calculations and workpieces gave Turbo a “super-fast” device, thanks to which he was able to run like all other dogs. We also advise you to watch the video in which Turbo received his cherished prosthesis! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sX8GgDgjq00 (LINK)
These are just a couple of cute stories about how people help animals with 3D printed prostheses. Prosthetic beak, prosthetic tail, and other 3d printed parts make animal life better.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I 3D print my dog?
Yes, you can print anything. The main thing is to comply with the conditions and tips that we have told you in this article. If you are 3d printing a toy for your pet, then choose a high-quality material that does not cause harm. If you are 3d printing a bowl or a form for food, it is best to fill the product with epoxy resin.
Can you 3D print an animal?
You can print not only animals but also houses for them to enliven your garden or vegetable garden. It is important to understand those wild animals are different from our pets. They are afraid of people, so try to create a favorable environment for birds, bats, flies, etc.
Is 3D printing PET toxic?
Things printed on a 3d printer can be dangerous for your pets if you use low-quality materials that are not designed for 3d printing feeders, animal houses, etc. Do not use materials containing styrene (ABS, ASA). PLA, PETG, and other food-safe materials are suitable for alternatives.
3d printing is a unique process. It is used for any sphere in the world: in construction, the creation of mechanisms, and parts, and even in medicine, for example, the printing of prostheses. So why not use this technology to help our cute pets who need it? Or why not print out a couple of toys for your puppy, hamster, cat, or other animals to have fun with? So, let’s do it.