full size printed elephant on Ultimaker Original

Interactive 3D print petition to help save elephants

  • Written by Matthijs de Deugd
    Aug 14, 2014

World Animal Protection (previously known as WSPA) urges people not to ride elephants (again). Demand from tourists has led to venues where elephants are forced to do unnatural performances that cause pain, stress and suffering, and the tourism industry has added to the number of elephants poached from the wild.

3D designer Joris van Tubergen created a special 3D printing installation for this project using 5 Ultimaker 3D printers. The Ultimaker's are flipped upside down and the print heads as well. This way they can print revolutionary high columns of more than 2.5 meters in height.

The 3D print petition is being held at Schiphol Airport. Everyone who pledges has their name printed on the elephant with a special font called Elephont which makes it look like elephant skin. Although only Dutch people can pledge, everyone who visits Schiphol Airport can check out the 3D printing installation and everyone can follow the progress of the printing 24/7 through an live stream.

"This project shows that 3D printing is not just for hobbyists or commercial purposes - it can emphasize benefaction and the importance of a cause like World Elephant Day. We are very pleased that World Animal Protection chose Ultimaker as their 3D printing partner. The very versatile Ultimaker Original is a great fit for this project." says Ultimaker CEO Siert Wijnia.

The 3D printing installation will be in a pop-up pavilion in front of the main entrance of Schiphol Airport until August 30, 2014. The project is a collaboration between World Animal Protection, Ultimaker, FHV BBDO, Minivegas and Joris van Tubergen.

UPDATE: It's finished! More than 30.000 Dutch people pledged never to ride elephants again. A great result which we are proud to be a part of!

UPDATE 2: Joris and his innovations have been highlighted in our first Community Story.