A red-footed tortoise whose shell was destroyed in a forest fire in Brazil last year got a new one thanks to 3D printing technology and some help from a Brazilian artist.
Freddy the tortoise’s hull was so badly damaged in a forest fire in Brazil’s Altiplano East sector that veterinarian Rodrigo Rabello was going to put the reptile down when she was brought to him. She had lost 85 percent of her shell in the fire, and her forelegs were badly burned, according to GC Noticias.
She had endured two bouts of pneumonia and had not eaten for nearly 45 days. But after the tortoise survived pneumonia, Rabello went to work to build a shell for her.
He teamed up 3D designer Cicero Moraes, who used a free software program he downloaded off the Internet to create the shell. First he created a puzzle of four pieces that replicated a shell from a tortoise that was used as a reference. That model file was then sent to a 3D printer, which reproduced the shell with a plastic-like substance sourced from corn.
The pieces fit perfectly on Freddy, but there was one problem — the prosthetic shell was white as snow and looked unnatural on Freddy. So, Brazilian artist Yuri Caldera went to work on the shell, faithfully reproducing the coloration of Freddy, giving her the look of a real tortoise.
Because the shell might have to be modified in the future, Freddy (who was named after Freddy Krueger of “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies because her burned hull looked like Freddy Krueger’s burned face) will live out the rest of her life with Rabello.