Nothing beats seeing a happy dog, and Tazo is certainly one of them. But things weren't always so good for this Dachshund.
You see, Tazo was surrendered to nonprofit organisation Animal Haven in New York City earlier this year by his family who could no longer care for him. Tazo's entire lower body was left paralysed after a shock accident, and as a result, he only has control over his front legs. And despite the best efforts of veterinarians, it's unlikely he will ever walk again. And as any dog would tell you (if they could, of course), if there's no walkies, then there's really no life.
But thanks to 3D printing, Tazo now has a set of wheels to help him get around.
They see me rollin', they hatin'
Indiana-based doggy prosthetics company TurboRoo Designs heard of Tazo's plight and made contact with Animal Haven with a solution - they could design a cart for Tazo that would enable him to lead a more active and fuller life. They had already successfully created front-wheel carts for dogs, and this would be the first time they'd create a rear-wheel cart. But they were up for the challenge, especially for a delightful dog like Tazo.
The prototype they designed was a metal frame, with a number of centric bars and a lot of parts (you can see this imaged, above). This gave Tazo a better ability do things on an everyday basis, but it wasn't as good as it could be. So TurboRoo Designs reached out to the 3D Printing Store for help. It was decided that the best way to manufacture a cart that was light enough for Tazo to pull yet functional enough to provide a better life would be to use 3D printing.
Justin Finesilver, owner of the 3D Printing Store, relives the moment, "I was excited for the opportunity to design and create the world’s first 3D printed back wheel dog prosthetic cart. We were excited to bring this new idea to a deserving dog like Tazo.”
MarkForged + the 3D Printing Store + TurboRoo = one very happy dachshund!
The new cart was designed in SolidWorks, and it was decided that the best material would be a 10% nylon infill without composite reinforcement, because this was the best way to achieve both durability and flexibility.
For this, the team needed a special 3D printer, so they turned to MarkForged and the Mark One Composite 3D printer, which has the amazing ability to print the likes of carbon fiber and kevlar. But this wasn't the only reason they chose MarkForged - the key reason was that they could print the cart 100% virtually, which was essential, because Tazo was in NYC and TurbRoo were in Denver. So after supplying MarkForged with their design specifications, the doggy cart was finally made. And here's the result with Tazo driving it:
Now I think we'll all agree that that's one very happy dog!
But the fun didn't stop here for Tazo. As you can watch in the video we've embedded below, Tazo was treated to a fantastic day out on the day of his fitting and he got to make friends with lots of other dogs just like himself.