Our own innovation engine, Maker North, continues to make international headlines by solving problems using cutting-edge technology at their disposal.
Jack, an 8-year-old mixed-breed dog, lost his right front leg when he was hit by a car when he was almost a year old. Since then, he has made his life happy by acclimating himself to a three-legged approach to all things canine. However, as age has started to show its presence, its owners have recently noticed that it is falling and stumbling, more than usual.
As loving as they were, they wanted to improve his quality of life and, through their research, ended up contacting the Hanger Clinic, a leader in the creation of prosthetics, albeit primarily prosthetics for humans. While they were able to create and complete the upper part of the leg, including the fitting to attach to Jack’s body, they were unable to sufficiently replicate the “leg” part of the limb.
Enter the Canadian contribution – Manufacturer North Inc. Widely known for their expertise in 3D printing and laser cutting, among a myriad of other educational tools and collaborations, their team was approached by a Canadian residing on the US side of the border to see if this was something they could help.
Joseph Bertrand, Founder/Director, was quick in his response.
“Can we help you?” Absolutely.” he told this reporter with his affable smile.
Although the typical source material for their 3D printing efforts is PLA (polylactic acid), a versatile and environmentally friendly product, this project required something that would react differently to the pressure it would face to support the effective mobilization of a happy dog. They turned to TPU (Thermal Plastic Polyurethane). This material would allow the rebound effect necessary to simulate the door and the activities of the dog.
“The TPU was selected because it would allow movement forward and then compress and expand.” Bertrand said.
Maker North has been manufacturing basic dentures for human use for several years. When asked if he could see this new application of their technology expanding their work in creating their prosthetics, he was affirmative.
“Absolutely. The prostheses we’ve been making so far have been very basic. It definitely opens new doors,” he said.
This collaboration, already recounted in a UP publication, has already made a lot of noise. Attention that highlights our own Maker, locally.
It has been reported that, despite the obvious learning curve, Jack is getting used to his new leg. A few stops and starts, but according to its owners, all it takes is a squirrel and it’s on.
“The story was posted about 20 hours ago and we have already received 7 requests from various pet owners.” Bertrand shared.
Always a mover, a shaker and an innovator, the two-man Maker North Inc. team of Joseph Bertrand and Riley Drover, remains the ultimate “can do” duo. If you have a problem to solve, look no further.