3DP Applications

Stratasys 3D prints a Crab World

Stratasys and Artem Ltd have used 3D printing to create highly realistic miniature houses and shells for its ‘Crab World’ TV campaign.

The advert for UK property website, Zoopla, was shot on a beach in Costa Rica and features numerous hermit crabs ‘moving into’ shells topped with miniature houses. All the shells and houses were 3D printed using Stratasys’ multi-color, multi-material 3D printing capabilities.

Simon Tayler, Owner, Creative Director and Designer at Artem Ltd., was tasked with creating small, highly detailed, realistic models. “From the beginning, I knew this was a job for 3D printing. It would have been impossible to achieve the level of realism required with conventional, hand model-making,” he explains. With Stratasys’ ecosystem of 3D printing solutions and expertise, Simon and his team were freed from the traditional design constraints associated with this type of model making.

Intricate and Realistic 3D Printed Models

Accuracy was essential; the production team had large ambitions to convince real-life hermit crabs to inhabit the 3D printed shells for the duration of filming.

“We were keen to do all we could to ensure that these shells weren’t rejected and would not harm the crabs,” continues Tayler. “With Stratasys’ multi-color, multi-material 3D printing, we were able to mirror every curve, bump and nook of a shell’s natural shape, including the interior.” Using scans of shells obtained on-site in Costa Rica, Tayler and his team produced the high-quality 3D shell models using Stratasys’ tough Digital ABS material.

Complete customization

In total, the team produced over 20 model houses for the top of the shells, comprising of numerous different shapes and sizes. Each model mirrors an architectural style currently popular in the UK.

Stratasys’ 3D printing technology enabled Simon and his team to purposefully customize all 20 designs. From townhouses to country cottages, the models were no bigger than a match box.

“With 3D printing, we could work with minute details like individual tiles or roof or brick texture that was only 30mm across without losing any element of realism,” says Tayler. “Thanks to the capabilities of the Stratasys Connex3 3D Printer and respective materials, each house was 3D printed in an impressive 16-micron resolution for incredible accuracy.”

Accelerated Time to Market

Tayler and his team had one month to design and produce the models for the shoot. According to the team, the elaborate production needed technology that could deliver a realistic product in a strict time frame. The 3D printed models were produced within an extremely short-lead time thanks to Stratasys’ color, multi-material professional 3D printing solutions. Perfectly mimicking the intended product, the models were 3D printed in just under a week, with the machines running around-the-clock to meet the deadline.

In collaboration with Riff Raff Films and creative agency 101, the advert is currently being broadcast on TV in the UK where it will form part of a long-running, multi-series campaign.

See the full advertisement here, along with the ‘making of’ video here.

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