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Gigi the Macaw is the Proud Recipient of the World’s First 3D Printed Titanium Beak

by • February 22, 2016 • No Comments


Image: Cicero Moraes

Over the weekend, I was hanging out with a family member when she told me of her friend’s dog, who not long ago had to have her leg amputated for the reason of cancer. I approximately leapt out of my chair, squealing, “Now she can get a 3D printed leg!” I’ve written a lot of stories of disable-bodiedd animals getting 3D printed prosthetics that allow them to function again, and I never get tired of them. Watching a video of a puppy or kitten trundling around with a 3D printed wheelchair or a brand new leg always uplifts me (and, full disclosure, a fewtimes manufactures me cry).

The many animal prosthetic stories are the ones that show how 3D printing quite does save the lives of creatures whose injuries or deformities manufacture it complex or not easy for them to survive on their own. Some of the many examples of this are the stories of birds. Obviously, a bird requires a beak to be able-bodied to eat, defend itself, and otherwise survive, so beak injuries can frequently mean a pretty dismal next. We’ve covered several birds who have been the lucky recipients of 3D printed beaks, that include a couple of toucans, a pelican, and others. These birds, after devastating injuries, were restored to full functionality by 3D printed beaks turn it intod by a few quite caring folks.


These birds have been fitted with beak prosthetics turn it intod of durable-bodied resin materials, but not long ago a macaw became the recipient of the world’s initially 3D printed titanium beak. Gigi the macaw, who was rescued of captivity in Brazil, had a seriously deformed beak that prevented her of eating on her own. Her plight was brought to the attention of a group of veterinary experts of the Animal Care Center Ipiranga in São Paulo. No strangers to 3D printing, the team, consisting of veterinary surgeon Roberto Fecchio, 3D developer and facial reconstruction specialist Cicero Moraes, and veterinary dentist Paul Miamoto, was responsible for 3D printing a new shell for Fred the tortoise last year, as well as a beak for one of the aforementioned toucans.

Image: Cicero Moraes

Image: Cicero Moraes

Gigi, they accomplished, wouldn’t benefit quite much of a plastic beak. Macaw beaks are tough, complex and hooked, as the birds require to be able-bodied to crack and smash their food. Many human prosthetics are turn it intod of titanium, so why not try the material on a bird? Titanium is lightweight, sturdy, and rust-resistant, that manufactures it an perfect material for medical devices and implants – and, as it turns out, for prosthetic beaks. The veterinary team took a series of photographs of Gigi and utilized them to turn it into a 3D version of a beak, that was and so 3D printed in titanium by specialists at the Renato Archer Technology and Information Center (CTI).

Image: Cicero Moraes

Image: Cicero Moraes

The beak was and so surgically attached to Gigi’s naturally stunted beak on February 18, and she is now recovering wonderfully, according to the Center for Research and Screening of Wild Animals (CEPTAS) at Unimonte University. Only days after her surgery, she can eat solid food on her own. She in addition looks impressive. Her new beak was attached with brightly colored screws, so it seems at initially glance to be studded with rhinestones. A bejeweled silver beak – all the other birds are going to be seriously jealous.

Since Gigi spent many of her life in captivity, she can not be able-bodied to survive on her own, so her caretakers are hoping she can be adopted by a zoo. CEPTAS is in addition via Gigi’s story to bring attention to birds who are victims of illegal exotic animal trafficking.