Connecticut Students Use 3D Printing to Help Endangered Penguin Walk

We're often asked for exceptional use cases of 3d printing by our customers in the education space.  They want to know how they can bring their new 3d printers in the classroom in a meaningful and impactful way for their students.

We can now add a collaborative effort between a local school and aquarium to help an endangered penguin walk again.

After an "encounter" with another penguin at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, Purps the Penguin (an endangered African penguin) was left disabled and she needed help.  So the aquarium got in touch with Mystic Middle School to work on a project that involved 3d scanning, 3d design and 3d printing.

“The students truly amazed us in how their creative thinking, imagination and intuitiveness led this process,” said Nick Gondek, Director of Additive Manufacturing and Applications Engineer, ACT Group.

ACT Group - a 3D System partner -  provided the 3d printer to Mystic Middle School and helped guide the students through the project.

“It was rewarding to provide them with a technology that could keep up with their ingenuity, and to watch them pick up the software so quickly, Gondek said. "It further demonstrates the need to have students learning to digitally design and manufacture at a younger age.”

The students used a 3d scanner to scan the penguins foot, imported the data into design software in order to customize the design to their desired specifications and then used their 3d printer to produce the boot.

“This project not only helped a member of an endangered species, but it gave our students a hands-on understanding of the 3D printing process and how to carry an idea through from a concept to a design to a usable object,” said Sue Prince, Library Media Specialist at Mystic Middle School.

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