We’re 3D Printing the Sea’s Brightest (But Most Endangered) Stars!

National Marine Week is taking place again this year from 26th July – 10th of August. This year’s underwater theme will focus on the protection of starfish as The Wildlife Trusts ask children to make the starfish pledge and write to the Prime Minister about getting more places protected through Marine Conservation Zones.

So we decided to have a go at 3d printing starfish and searched thingiverse to see what was available. The stl files for three of the main starfish being celebrated this year were available and we set to work 3d printing them on the Makerbot. After they were 3D printed we proceeded to paint them in the appropriate colours!

We thought we’d tell you a little bit about each starfish. Can you match each of the 3D printed starfish in the picture to the descriptions below?

Bloody Henry – Take one look at its deep burgundy appearance and you can very quickly see how this starfish got its name. This one has chalky skin and enjoys invertebrates such as the sponge as its snack of choice.

Cushion – Even though this starfish is quite bulbous in shape, the cushion is the smallest starfish in Britain. The colour of these starfish can range from orangey-pink to green depending on their habitat. Incredibly these starfish spend the first three years of their lives as males and as females for the next three!

Common starfish – The most easily recognisable to most of us. Five arms and usually an orangey-pink complexion. What’s amazing about these starfish? If they lose an arm or even half of their body, they have the ability to regrow their body parts!

Although it may seem as though these starfish simply lie around the beach looking pretty all day, it’s not the case! The common starfish is, in fact, a predator that busily feeds on cockles, barnacles and mussels.

You can also find out about a really interesting project that looked at 3D printing coral reefs that had been destroyed due to overfishing here.

Over the past few weeks we’ve explored the advancements 3D printing is having in medical, food, sporting and now within the natural world too.

What could be next?