People 3D print objects for all sorts of things. They print for fun, for education, or even for prototyping. University of Illinois Ph.D. student Sasha Tetzlaff and his advisors, Brett DeGregorio and Jinelle Sperry are using 3D printing to preform research. Sasha originally came to the MakerLab looking to print about 100 turtles to help in their research. These 3D printed turtles were then placed in a field after being painted to mimic the Eastern Box Turtles. With video cameras mounted above the models, Sasha, Brett, and Jinelle were able to determine what animals are predators to the turtles. Eastern Box Turtles are very elusive but known to suffer high mortality from predators, so knowing who the predators are can aid in future management efforts. The first time they place the 3D printed turtles into the field it was almost immediately attacked by a raccoon! Now the team knows that raccoons are a major predator to the Eastern Box Turtles and can go about helping to protect the turtles in the future!
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