That’s another priority to 3D printing, “get this technology accessible to those who don’t get it.”

Veterinarian by profession, Turnera Croom is not only passionate about her job. She seeks and implements all possible means to develop it. 3D printing is literally the main strength that enables her to realize a part of her work: teach young women the value of animal life and veterans advocacy through Vets in 3D.

She takes the floor today to bring a new perspective on the use of 3D printing in animal care.

How did you come to 3D Printing?

3D Printing is being used nowadays for medical applications like prostheses. That’s not only for the humans, it’s also for the animals.

So, veterinarians can use 3D Printing for prostheses, but also to visualize traumas and other things.

Normally, a cat’s scanning might enable to see the tumor [if the cat suffers from it] but 3D Printing allows the doctor to actually print out the tumor to know the surrounding structure so that one can practice the surgery where the tumor exactly is.

Another big advance in 3DP is that now there is 3D Printing actual live audience. It’s a medical advance that can benefit all of us.

Could you introduce Vets in 3D?

Vets in 3D is called Vets because I am a veteran and a veterinarian. I worked in the army as a veterinarian and that’s a part of the army people do not know about.

I use 3D Printing to create fun, exciting, accessible ways for kids to learn about veterinary care. So, all those things, the organs, the tumor…I am taking the High-Tech, this 3D technology and bringing it to a level that kids will understand.

I might print out in 3D a turtle for instance, they can watch it being printed out and then we start talking about the turtle because the lecture is about amphibians that day. We will also talk about the veterinary application there.

What 3D Printing does is making things fun, simple and introducing this technology to the black use is very important to me as a person of color, a doctor of color. I particularly teach young black females, and as well we are opened to everyone.

Why especially “young black females”?

You know, every business has to have a focus and a vison. The focus can’t be on everybody. My business was created by a black female who was raised by another black female…therefore I feel very strongly about this mission. This is my way to give back (to my community). I had a live animals event, for instance two week-end ago. It was in the neighborhood in Kalamazoo where I know a lot of people (African-American community) with low incomes sometimes…And that’s another priority to 3D printing, “get this technology accessible to those who don’t get it.”

 What materials do you use to manufacture your models?

PLA plastic. It’s the most common material used in 3D Printing. Other materials such as carbon and graphene can be used. I am really excited about the graphene because it is stronger than steel and it’s an electrical conductor. That’s an amazing material that I started to work on.  But most of the things that I did are done with PLA which is a biodegradable material.

What 3D printer (s) do you use?

Makergear. When I first got that printer, it had one extruder. I upgraded the printer and now I have two extruders and I am able to print with two colors.

What do you think of 3D printing in general? in your industry?

It depends on which component of the market we are talking about. I think the market is so huge that it will be difficult to say that it’s mature.

What difficulties do you encounter?

The main one is that people do not know what 3D Printing is and that covers all ranges. It’s not just the young kid that maybe has never seen it, it’s also the parents and the grandparents who have never seen it and they can be a little bit “scared”.

But I do a lot of advertising on social media (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram) and live videos all the time to explain.

Do you plan to extend your services to another target? or another geographical area?

One thing I started lately is a mobile veterinary service.

I am also working on the use of bioprinting but my main focus now is to succeed a partnership with schools and introducing the 3D Printing technology to kids.

I would also like to have a partnership with a 3D Printers’ company which will be willing to sponsor and put their 3D printers into schools so that I present the information to schools. So, I am really looking forward to that.


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