Turtle Gets Shell Thanks To 3D Laser Scanning Services

Turtle's Spine Was Deformed & Shell Had Eroded

The Birch Aquarium in San Diego turned to 3D laser scanning services to create a new shell for a turtle with an eroded shell and deformed spine.

When the Birch Aquarium in San Diego rescued a loggerhead turtle five years ago, they knew she needed some help. The poor creature’s shell had been damaged, and without it, she would be susceptible to predators and the elements. So the aquarium turned to 3D laser scanning services to create her a new shell.

Using technology to help

3D scanning services are used in 3D printing to take measurements of real-world objects and create 3D data that can be used to reproduce an object. 3D scanning services are widely available at reasonable prices, so the aquarium was able to scan their injured turtle and print her a new shell using 3D printing services.

Their turtle’s spine was deformed, and her shell had been eroded, so 3D scanning services were used to create a 3D model of the turtle and predict how the new shell would fit. 3D printing services then created her a 3D printed replica of the 3D model sent to 3D printing services that would use it to 3D print the new shell in durable plastic.

Turtles are reptiles that live in water but breathe air using their lungs. They have shells because they evolved from animals with hard outer coverings called “skeletons” made of bone or cartilage-like human arms and legs. The hard part is where the shell protects its organs. This shell is incredibly important to a turtle’s survival, so the team knew they had to get this right.

How do 3D laser scanning services work?

The laser scanning used to 3D print this turtle’s shell use a 3D scanner and software that captures 3D images and records 3D data points. 3D scanners can be bulky because they need high-tech cameras and lighting equipment. But modern 3D scanners range from handheld devices to ones built into large mobile robots. 3D scanning services use 3D scanners to scan an object and create a 3D model.

Once the 3D scanner has captured all the data, the software converts the 3D images into a 3D model. The 3D model is then cleaned up and repaired, if necessary, before it is ready for 3D printing services. 3D scanning software simplifies 3D data to make it easier for 3D printers to print.

Happy progress to report

The new 3D printed shell was fitted to the turtle and attached with surgical glue. The spine was also straightened using metal braces, and the team at the Birch Aquarium monitored her progress.

Leave a Comment