Mini-Doc Gives the Back Story on Life-Size 3D Printed Elephant (VIDEO)

Last august, 3D printing designer and engineer Joris van Tubergen thought up a clever method for drawing attention to the plight of endangered elephants for World Elephant Day. Using five ingeniously-modified Ultimaker 3D printers, van Tubergen was able to 3D print a life-size elephant live at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

The campaign necessitated that a petition to end tourist elephant rides, which land these majestic creatures in abusive captivity, be signed in order to ensure the completion of the 3D printing process. With the 30,000 signatures required for the campaign, the faux elephant was printed in just two weeks and the entire process was captured by filmmaker Klaas Arie Westland.

The mini documentary, embedded below, follows van Tubergen as he develops the project, both from a technical and interpersonal perspective.  In it, you’ll see how, to extend the build volume of the Ultimaker printers, the Dutch designer constructed an inventive mechanism for stretching out the Z-axis of the machines and printing upside down.  Moreover, you’ll get an in-depth look at the real motivation behind the campaign to better understand the cruelty implemented to break an elephant for the tourism industry. … (read more)