3D Shell Shocked


Meet Fred! Fred is a red-footed tortoise that was found in Brazil last year after surviving a horrific forest fire that left her shell burnt and nearly destroyed. Luckily, Fred, who was later discovered to be a female ((the name had already stuck) was taken to Rodrigo Rabello, a seasoned veterinarian who has helped several other animals with similar issues, including replacing a bird’s beak and the leg of a flamingo.


Fred was sent to Mato Grosso, where graphic designer Cicerero Moreas photographed her shell and compared it with the healthy shell of another tortoise before scanning the information with a computer program which was then used to digitally re-construct the shell. That information was then sent to a dentist, where Freds new shell would be 3D printed into four separate parts, the entire printing process took nearly 50 hours to print.tortoise-first-printed-shell4tortoise-first-printed-shell5tortoise-first-printed-shell7

Now, Fred would be sent from Brazil to Santos, where Rabello would be performing her surgery. The surgery was tense, complicated and took several hours, but in the end the 3D printed shell fit so perfectly that they didn’t need to use screws or any other device to attach it back onto Fred. While she wasn’t the first tortoise to have a shell 3D printed for her, Fred was the first one to have the 3D printed shell fully replace the old one. She is now recovering healthily in captivity to ensure that the replacement shell won’t need to be replaced any time soon.




Kira. “Fred the Tortoise in Brazil Receives a 3D Printed Replacement Shell after Original Is Destroyed in Fire.” 3ders.org. 3ders.org, 27 July 2015. Web. 27 July 2015.

Posted in 3D Printing, 3D Technology Blog.

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