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Project Shellter - Turritella

3D model description

Back in the day when the Beastie Boys dropped their groundbreaking "Paul's Boutique," researcher M. B. Cortie dropped another masterpiece - "Models for Mollusc Shell Shape." In it was described a 16 parameter mathematical model for synthetic seashells, and parameters for many species of molluscs were thoughtfully provided in the appendix. This is one of them.

Modeled on the shell of the Turritella communis sea snail,, will Purple Pincher hermit crabs like this? Only experimentation will tell!

It was created using Maya's shellNode plugin, which is based upon Cortie's model, and thickened using Blender's Solidify modifier

The goal is a workflow using open source tools, but this shell surface required a commercial tool.

Cortie's model and many of its resultant shells have been written in Maple Porting them to Sage is the last step in creating a complete open source workflow.

Any takers?

Follow Project Shellter progress here:

3D printing settings

Some notes:

  • For printing, you only need the turritella.stl file; the other file is just a surface and is provided for thickening experiments
  • Printing with the aperture facing up yields the best quality hollow print so far
  • Once printed, the minimal support material is easily removed and the entire shell is hollow
  • Sanding or tumbling to smooth the surfaces is optional but recommended (more on this later...)

You can print it, I know you can!


  • 3D model format: STL



Trouble/makers have the opportunity and responsibility to re-think making and sharing in an abundant, generous and global context. Two teams are better than one!



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