3D printing shells for hermit crabs

Homes for the homeless . . . crabs

Miles Lightwood, AKA TeamTeamUSA, is trying to use 3D printing to make “shells” for hermit crabs. The worldwide availability of shells is decreasing, forcing many hermit crabs to take up residence in discarded objects such as bottle tops and shotgun shells.

As part of his artist-in-residency with MakerBot, Lightwood is working on Project Shellter, a project to provide better homes for these homeless crabs. Lightwood and Makerbot have set up crab habitats in Brooklyn and Los Angeles to test the viability of various designs, and they are asking for help.

If you want to participate, upload a design for a shell you think hermit crabs will like to Thingiverse tagged “SHELLTER” (note the two “L”s).

Via MakerBot Industries

Eric Lenhard

This is a great idea, I support this guy!


Shells are created layer by layer similarly to how 3D printed shells would be created.

Material choice will be important, what effects does the material have on the crab while it’s living in it & on the environment when it’s discarded. If it were strong enough 3D printed ceramic would seem like a possible choice…

So is the plan to sail out into the sea and drop these in at random points where he thinks the crabs may be living?

And what sizes will these be in?

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