3D Printed Crabs

By on October 28th, 2011 in Event, Ideas

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No, we’re not talking about pretty little crab toys you can print and hand out to your 8 year old nephew. Instead we’re talking about an innovative project undertaken by one of MakerBot’s artists in residence, Miles Lightwood. 
 
The project is concerned with the fate of the lowly Hermit Crab, a crustacean currently facing difficulty. The problem is the crab’s shell: it doesn’t actually have one. The hermit crab, you see, simply co-opts other leftover shells to make its own. However, in these days of increasing pollution, disappearing wild habitats and acidic water due to climate change, leftover shells are becoming harder to come by. 
 
Lightwood’s project is to ask the 3D design community to produce designs for shells that can be used by hermit crabs. You might think designing a shell for a specific crab wouldn’t be particularly interesting, but in fact it is because the hermit crab uses any old shell it comes across. But what is the best shell? What size of opening is best? Depth of chamber? Curve of shell? Weight? Shape? 
 
We don’t know the answers, and you’d have a hard time asking a hermit crab, too. But the answer will be found by trying a great many designs, and that’s where the crowd approach will work best. What design factors do you think the crabs will prefer? 
 

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

2 comments

  1. We've seen some hermit crabs when we went to the beach just last month. They're not very big but we just left them where we saw them, so they can do what they have to do. That's sad news because I saw from one television show, I'm not sure if it's Nat Geo or Discovery, about the increasing number of dead seas where the oxygen level drops and so the organisms that live there dies.

  2. We've seen some hermit crabs when we went to the beach just last month. They're not very big but we just left them where we saw them, so they can do what they have to do. That's sad news because I saw from one television show, I'm not sure if it's Nat Geo or Discovery, about the increasing number of dead seas where the oxygen level drops and so the organisms that live there dies.

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