Dec 31, 2015 | By Kira

According to shocking new research, 70 million sharks are killed every year due to illegal and unethical hunting practices, with the population of certain species having dropped as much as 99% in the past four decades alone. However, hoping to use its own massive numbers—that is, the size of its 3D printer’s print bed and high 3D printing speeds— to combat these tragic ones, Israeli 3D printing startup MASSIVit has teamed up with anti-shark hunting campaign Silence of the Sharks to 3D print a two-meter long shark replica to be used in a series of high-profile underwater protests taking place across the globe.

The goal of the 1-year campaign, led by prominent underwater photographer and diver David Pilosof in collaboration with shark conservation organizations worldwide, is to raise awareness about the worldwide disappearance of sharks, and thanks to MASSIVit’s remarkable 3D printed behemoth, the hundreds of global divers taking part now have a powerful visual aid on their side that will surely raise public consciousness and hopefully translate into anti-shark hunting action.

The campaign consists of a series of ‘mass dives’ in which dozens to hundreds of experienced divers in countries around the world head underwater, holding up waterproof signs. Local and international media outlets will follow, as will the massive 3D printed shark, which works double duty by visually representing the animal being saved, and providing a solid anchor for the divers to hold onto.

The shark’s impressive size was made possible thanks to MASSIVit’s large-format 1800 3D printer, which boasts a build size of 1.5m x 1.2m x 1.8m, as well as the company’s proprietary Gel Dispensed Printing (GDP) 3D printing technology, a ‘super-fast 3D industrial solution’ that can 3D print up to 35 cm per hour—that means a human-sized sculpture could be finished within 5 hours, and we’re assuming it wasn’t too much longer for this colossal carnivorous fish. Illustrator Shlomo Cohen was credited for designing the hammerhead shark logo, which features outstretched human hands on its head, as if it is itself asking for help.

The first Silence of the Sharks demonstration took place on December 18th in Eilat, Israel. After detailed briefings and a live dry rehearsal, 87 divers from Israel, Germany, Great Britain, France and Monaco were divided into groups of 10, and then plunged to a 20-meter depth to take photographs with the 3D printed model. Another dive is already scheduled for South Africa in June, followed by others across Europe. The final “D-Dive”—planned to be the largest underwater protest of all—will be held on October 23, 2016, when more than 500 divers from around the world will be broadcast diving into the Mediterranean Sea.

Producer David Pilosof, who has previously worked on popular international underwater photography and diving events, is clearly passionate about the cause, and believes that no action is too big or too small when it comes to saving sharks from extinction.

“I found the findings of this research horrifying”, said Pilosof. “Since 1972, the population of blacktip sharks has dropped by 93%, tiger sharks by 97% and bull sharks by 99%. It became clear to me that if I plan for my grandchildren to meet sharks in real rather than just at the cinema, extreme measures have to be taken.”

“From the dawn of history the human kind has shared both fear and respect to sharks,” he continued in a statement. “These predators inspired many authors and directors, who based numerous creations on their powerful image. Who dared to imagine that in such a short time, these impressive animals will completely extinct. Shark hunting is brutal and its consequences on the underwater environment are severe. Approximately 70 million sharks are hunted every year just for the sake of selling their fins to restaurants in East Asia. In many of these cases, once the fin is cut off, the shark is thrown back to the sea alive and struggles for several weeks until it finally dies. This abuse must be stopped at once. I hereby call out to all divers worldwide to join us on this campaign. 70 million sharks are hunted every year all over the world…they cannot speak. But we can.”

The Silence of the Sharks campaign hopes to send a silent yet powerful message that will spread across the world. As a professional photographer, Pilosof is well aware of the impact visual communication can have on members of society, and MASSIVit’s life-size 3D printed shark replica might just be the vivid, memorable image needed to get people’s attention and keep more sharks alive.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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