Project Shellter, devised by Miles Lightwood, artist-in-residence at the Makerbot Botcave in Brooklyn, NY, plans to work with the hobbyist 3D printing community to crowd-source ideas and designs for hermit crab shells. His manifesto:
Hermit crabs don’t make their own shells. They scavenge their homes. And now, hermit crabs are facing a housing shortage as the worldwide shell supply is decreasing. With a shell shortage, hermit crabs around the world are being forced to stick their butts into bottles, shotgun shells, and anything else they can find. This is not acceptable. As a community, we can reach out to this vulnerable species and offer our digital design skills and 3D printing capabilities and give hermit crabs another option: 3D printed shells. (source)
These shells will initially be printed using such plastics as ABS and PLA but other materials could be used down the road assuming that he has success with the project. So far they’ve had a number of interesting submissions by the community with more certainly coming in the future weeks.
I am watching this project with some interest as I recently purchased a Makerbot Cupcake 3D printer and I’m curious to see what the community comes up with for ideas.
For those interested, a dropcam has been installed on the Project Shellter hermit crab habitat for your viewing pleasure:
(via Makerbot Industries Blog)