The story of TurboRoo, a disabled Indianapolis chihuahua puppy, has gone viral, and why not? It’s a heartwarming story about an impossibly cute pup, to be sure, but also illustrates the quick, relatively inexpensive ‘greater good’ possibilities inherent in 3-D printing technology.
Born without front legs, TurboRoo’s breeder had the foresight to take him to a veterinary hospital, where his charms got him immediately adopted by hospital technician Ashley Looper. Looper launched an online fundraising campaign to help find TurboRoo a mobile option, and fortune smiled in the guise of Mark Deadrick, a San Diego mechanical engineer and president of the 3D design company 3dyn, who saw the campaign.
With the aid of a 3D rendering program and 3D printer, Deadrick designed and fabricated a mobile cart for little TurboRoo. “I just did some thumbnail measurements from photos and spent about 20 minutes designing a cart, hit print on one of our 3D printers and let it run for 4 hours,” Deadrick says. “I figured some inline wheels would have the least amount of resistance and would be easily obtained, so a trip to the sporting goods store was probably the most time consuming part.” Skateboard wheels were attached, and both the contraption and TurboRoo were on their way. If that’s not a feel-good design solution, we can’t say what is.