Aug 10, 2015 | By Alec

While the web is full of fantastic and fun 3D printable designs, the best are those that carry an important message with them or serve and important purpose. While this could refer to small 3D printable robots or something like that, what could be more important than saving endangered species? That’s exactly the purpose that two designs – one for the Formosan Black Bear and one of the Rhino – by Taiwanese artist Amao Chen serves. Both are simple to make and feature movable limbs, but both more importantly serve as a reminder that very few of these majestic animals are still around.

Taiwanese artist Amao Chen actually specializes in a very interesting way of animal art. Under the name of PaperCube, he makes and sells unique replicas of animals, all featuring cube-like designs with lots of smooth surfaces and straight lines. Panda’s, lions, bears, rhinos and elephants are all part of focus.

However, for these two particularly endangered animals – the Rhino and the Formosan Black Bear – he decided to branch out into 3D printing. The Formosan Black Bear, to explain, is a subspecies of the not very endangered Asian black bear, sharing the characteristic V-shaped white marking on its chest. While the Asian black bear can be found across South-East Asia, its Formosan cousin only lives (as its name suggests) in Taiwan. But on that crowded island that is growing in every direction, the suitable, mountainous environment for the Formosan Black Bear remains. While it’s not sure how many of the animals are still alive in the wild, it is currently listed as endangered.

In fact, the Taiwanese artist also had a very direct reason for making a 3D printed version of his cube cardboard replica of the bear. ‘Taipei Zoo had one called ‘Mini Three’, a female Formosan Black Bear. Upon being captured and brought to the zoo, the animal’s right front leg had to be removed – that why she’s named Mini Three. After this poor black bear was lent to Kaohsiung Shoushan Zoo, she was killed by another bear in December 2013,’ the artist explained. ‘To make matters worse, Kaohsiung Shoushan Zoo concealed this unfortunate news until a month later. When it finally came out, it made me very sad so I designed this bear to commemorate this unfortunate death.’

Fortunately, this 3D printed version also – just like that of the Rhino – serves an extra purpose of drawing attention to the deplorable chances of survival. Of the five extant rhino species (found in Africa and South-East Asia), four are highly critically endangered, after all.

If you would like to 3D print one of these two majestic animals as a tribute, you can find the designs for the Formosan black bear here and those for the rhino (species undetermined) here. Both feature the fun cube-like design Amao Chen specializes in, but have movable limbs as well. 3D printing both is also remarkably easily. The examples shown here are all 3D printed in ABS, with a support angle of 40 degrees, a z resolution of 0.15 mm and a 100% scale. Both obviously consist of quite a few parts, but assembly should be fairly straightforward with the included connectors. 3D print them and show them off online! Because if something doesn’t change, many of these animals only exist as 3D printed toys.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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