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Ultimaker 3D Prints Life-Size Elephant in Elephant Saving Campaign
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Ultimaker 3D Prints Life-Size Elephant in Elephant Saving Campaign

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on Aug 18 2014 , 06:00:05
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@ShaniePhillips1

3D printing is being used in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport in a bid to save the elephants.

Non-profit animal welfare organization World Animal Protection and Ultimaker have teamed up to launch a campaign that urges Dutch citizens to pledge never to ride an elephant. As a key part of the campaign, five Ultimaker 3D printers are being used to print a life-size elephant. Each person who pledges never to ride an elephant again will have his/her name printed onto the giant elephant model in a font called ‘Elephont’ that simulates elephant skin.

Why?

According to World Animal Protection, demand from tourists to see and ride elephants has led to venues such as circuses and elephant-riding areas where elephants are forced to do things that cause them pain, stress and suffering. Simultaneously, the tourism industry has led to an increased number of elephants poached from the wild on a yearly basis.

In a bid to raise awareness of and prevent elephant suffering, World Animal Protection partnered with Ultimaker and 3D designer Joris van Tubergen to create a life-size 3D printed model airport in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, which is the fourth busiest airport in Europe in terms of passengers.

The project pavilion at Schiphol Airport. Source: Ultimaker

The project pavilion at Schiphol Airport. Source: Ultimaker

How?

For every person that pledges never to ride an elephant again, a piece of the life-size model is printed with that person’s name. 3D designer Joris van Tubergen built a unique 3D printing contraption for the project using five Ultimaker 3D printers. The printers and print heads are flipped upside down so as to remove space/height limitations of the models printed and enable printing of individual pieces up to 2.5 meters high, which is considered revolutionary for a desktop 3D printer.

The Ultimaker 3D printers printing upside down. Source: Ultimaker

The Ultimaker 3D printers printing upside down. Source: Ultimaker

“This project shows that 3D printing is not just for hobbyists or commercial purposes – it can emphasize benefaction and the importance of a cause like World Elephant Day,” says Ultimaker CEO Siert Wijnia. “We are very pleased that World Animal Protection chose Ultimaker as their 3D printing partner. The very versatile Ultimaker Original is a great fit for this project.”

The project is currently underway as a pop-up pavilion in front of Schiphol’s main entrance. Although only Dutch citizens can make the pledge and have their names printed, anyone can follow the progress of the life-size print 24/7 through a livestream here. Passengers at Schiphol Airport can see the printing in action until the project’s end on August 30, 2014.



Shanie Phillips is a originally from the UK, but has spent many years in Singapore, the US and now Israel. In addition to writing for Inside3DP she writes for several news and innovation sites.

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