3D printing has been used to produce a wide variety of objects, from instruments to fashion garments, bikes, bones, even a human kidney. All these things are beneficial to human culture, but what about the animal kingdom? Why have they yet to reap the benefits of this manufacturing technology? Current MakerBot artist-in-resident Miles Lightwood (TeamTeamUSA) is looking to change all that with his ecologically-minded Project Shellter, which is aiming to help the hermit crab community by providing them with 3D printed shells.
Yes, it seems that there’s a housing crisis going on in the world of the hermit crab, there’s not enough shells to go around, meaning they have to make do with all sorts of other junk they find in the sea, like discarded food and drink containers and other inappropriate pseudo-shells. Well, Miles Lightwood’s not going to sit there and let an entire generation of hermit crabs grow up thinking an empty beer can is a suitable abode. His solution is 3D printed shells. And not only does he want to 3D print a solution but he’s crowdsourcing it too, asking the design community to come up with an adequate design, and material, for these blighted creatures. The aim he says is to “create a printable hermit crab shell for domestic use thus reducing harvesting of natural shells.”
Prototype shell modelled on the Cittarium pica sea snail
If you think you can help, then start designing a home that would appeal to the hermit crab (what that is, is anyone’s guess, but that’s what they aim to find out) and upload it to Thingiverse. The hermit crab population is depending on you. Don’t let them down.
Images via MakerBot/Thingiverse