Have you ever wondered what shark skin feels like? If you could get close enough to run your hand along the side of a shark (we don’t recommend this if the shark is alive!), it’d feel smooth in one direction and rough in the other. That’s because a shark’s skin is covered in ornate, barbed scales called dermal denticles.
Shark skin at medium magnification (CC BY-NC-SA 3D Anatomy Studios)
These denticles decrease drag and turbulence by affecting the flow of water over the skin, allowing a shark to swim faster and more quietly. But these denticles are so small that if you weren’t able to feel the skin, you wouldn’t even know they were there.
Shark skin at high magnification (CC BY-NC-SA 3D Anatomy Studios)
With this 3D printed denticle, 100x larger than life size and based on actual dermal denticles from a spiny dogfish shark (Squalus acanthias), you’ll be able to see a hydrodynamic marvel of nature’s engineering otherwise invisible to the naked eye. You’ll be able to feel the intricate grooves, ridges and points that give denticles a shape unlike anything else in nature. These 3D printed denticles are a perfect learning resource for vertebrate anatomy and biology classes or collection item for shark lovers and natural history buffs.
Each denticle comes with an illustrated Collection Card explaining the position and orientation of denticles on a shark’s skin, scientific information about the structure, and data about the specimen and species from which the 3D print was created.
Illustrated Collection Card included with your 3D print (CC BY-NC-SA 3D Anatomy Studios)
Scientific data side of the Collection Card included with your 3D print (CC BY-NC-SA 3D Anatomy Studios)
To ensure exceptional quality, we print all our 3D printed anatomy products in our workshop in Pawtucket, Rhode Island (USA) and ship them directly to you. For 3D printing, we use only renewable PLA bioplastic filament using FDM (fused deposition modeling) printers. For the "Finished" surface option (recommended), we hand grind and sand the print to remove the layer lines, giving the print a natural texture and feel, similar to terracotta or smooth unglazed clay. If you choose the "Unfinished" surface option, your print will have visible layer lines (between 0.07 and 0.10 mm in height), seams, stray filament "strings," and small surface imperfections; this option is best for those who are less concerned with surface quality or who prefer to finish the surface themselves.
Product Use and Care
- Cleaning your 3D print: Due to their porous surface, 3D prints made from PLA can easily pick up dirt and oils from the skin. This is the case for both finished and unfinished 3D prints, though the exposed layer lines of unfinished 3D prints make the latter even more susceptible to this. To clean your 3D print, simply wipe the print with a dish sponge and soap and water or with a towel and alcohol; soap, water, and alcohol are all safe to use on your 3D print.
- Keep your 3D print from melting: Although PLA has a melting temperature of 338°F (170°C), it starts entering its "glass transition" phase at temperatures as low as 122°F (50°C). At this lower temperature, the surface of your 3D print may become gummy and your 3D print may start to deform. To prevent this from occurring, never leave your 3D print in an unattended car, in direct sun, or any other place where the air around the 3D print could reach temperatures in excess of 122°F (50°C).
- Keep your 3D print from breaking: PLA is generally resistant to fracture. However, it is not indestructible. To keep your 3D print from breaking, do not bend it excessively, particularly in thin regions. We carefully design our 3D prints to make fractures unlikely.
- Choking hazard: This is a small part and thus a choking hazard for children 3 years old or younger and for pets. Keep away from children and pets.
- Sharp points: This part has sharp points. Also, if this part breaks, the broken edges of the part may be sharp. Contact may result in injury. Always keep points and sharp edges away from eyes and handle with care. Use with adult supervision.
The model for this 3D print was created by Dr. Aaron Olsen based on dermal denticles dissected from the skin (trunk section) of a spiny dogfish shark (Squalus acanthias) and photographed through a dissecting microscope at the highest magnification. The illustration on the accompanying Collection Card was created by Michael Fath and edited by Aaron Olsen. Product photography and product description by Aaron Olsen.