The shells arrived. The scanning process can commence.

Whilst I wait for the ‘Okay’ from dentistry, I have decided to play around with the open source file that I came across whilst researching into the ergonomics of a shell. The image below shows the shell STL that I have not edited nor distorted in any way.

Open Source Shell File
The Open Source Shell STL.

Now, the problem with this shell is the shape, as I have shown with my concept sketches the shells I hope to design are longer and thinner in size. I had no issue with manipulating the file on Mesh Mixer, a free software from Auto desk which allows for the user to distort and edit files with relative ease.

Below you are able to see the first prototype I created from this open source file, it is longer in shape with additional bumps on the surface which will be shown as geometric triangles once 3D Printed on the Ultimaker printer.

Rough Geometric Shell
The Geometric Shell File on Mesh Mixer

This manipulation took a good few hours as I found it quite difficult adjusting to the software, following a lot of errors I was able to grasp the tools available to me. I am quite pleased with the outcome of this first prototype, below you can see the model following its printing, you can also see the issues that I am facing head on.

A Shell Prototype – Added Geometry – 85mm in Length
The Aftermath of 3D printing with Supports – Awful Finishing

I have spoken with the tech demonstrators about using their new dual extrusion 3D Printer which has water-soluble supports, this would eradicate any worry of there being any ‘leftover’ from the support structures following its printing, positive news as they have said it is a possibility. Another alternative could be using the FabLab to produce the final models as they have a UV curing 3D Printer, although an expensive alternative if I need to do this for my final model, it will certainly be worth it.

Below shows other select variations of the crab shell, some rough textures which could be uncomfortable to hold, others very literal, an example being the tumor shell which is very similar to the Jackson McConnnell  series which showcased a set of lighters with bulging tumors growing on the surface, shown below.

Rough Texture Shell
The Rough Textured Shell
Spiked 2.0 Shell
The Spiked Shell
Spiked Shell
The Spiked Shell 2.0
Tumour Shell
The Tumour Shell
Jackson McConnell – Critical Design
WhatsApp Image 2017-11-14 at 14.18.17
The 3D Print in Progress

The beginning of this week has been quite productive when speaking about model making and physical prototypes. The process for cutting the shells in half was rather difficult, this occurring during the weekend just gone. I was able to record myself during the process, a negative coming from this process is the 2mm of shell lost due to the cutting process. I was only able to use a 2mm thick sanding disk as it was readily available. A quick fix once scanned and imported into software.

Below is a series of images showing the shells cut in half showcasing its complex interior:

This particular shell measuring 29mm in length
This shell measuring exactly 50mm in length.

I dont think I can stress how tense the cutting process was for the smallest of the two shells, it felt like the shell was about to crumble into a thousand pieces at any second.

Below is a short GIF showing a few seconds of footage from the cutting process:


Currently, the 14th of November, I have four shells printing which should be ready to show on the Wednesday group meeting. I also have an idea that could make my project stand out during the exhibition, through research I found that a large percentage of plastics entering our seas come from Asia, I also found that a percentage of the Hermit Crab population live around Asia.

The idea: Market conceptual products that would be packaged in my shells towards the countries that have a significant Hermit Crab population. Both facts highlighted feeding themselves in effect.

Now, I must discuss the idea with Theo on Wednesday just to confirm this is okay to do but I am sure that this would ensure my project would stand out. If I am to move forward with this idea I must ensure I collect the correct translations for phrases I choose to use. This is extremely important.

I feel like progression into this project is currently at a very healthy stage. Prototypes are being made whilst my research document is also looking very healthy at ninety-two pages of solid information to ground my outcome. One thing that I will have to focus on next is making prototypes of the sacks, this will happen after the shell prints have completed as I believe the best way to start is by making blue foam models and then leading into other materials.

Until next time,



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