Bald Eagle Benefits from 3D Printing

A story of Beauty and the beak

Beauty is the name an American Bald Eagle that was injured when a poacher’s bullet destroyed much of her top beak, leaving her unable to eat solid food. Beauty was rescued in Alaska after being found nearly dead from starvation and was returned to health by way of feedings administered by Jane Cantwell and Birds of Prey Northwest, located near Coeur d’Alene, ID.

Not long after, Cantwell met Nate Calvin, a mechanical engineer, at a public presentation in Boise, ID. During her presentation, she told the tale of Beauty’s plight and her efforts to garner the required support to save the eagle. Calvin offered to help. He’s the founder of Kinetic Engineering Group, a Boise-based engineering company primarily involved in new product development and design services of various products and industries.

The company had no experience with animals or prosthetics, but working with CAD software and specialists facilitated the design of a prosthetic beak for Beauty and, ultimately, the use of 3D printing to fabricate the upper beak. The attachment of the prosthetic beak enables Beauty to feed and preen again.

According to Birds of Prey Northwest, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has authorized special permits that will allow Beauty to be a teaching aid of sorts as Cantwell continues to educate the public about conservation and stewardship of birds of prey.

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