Here at 3D Rapid Print, one of the fastest growing 3D Printing companies in the Thames Valley, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.

On August 7th 2021, the South China Morning Post newspaper spoke of a whale skeleton on display at Hong Kong’s Cape D’Aguilar that was soon to be replaced by a 3D printed replica, due to the original being repeatedly damage by typhoons. Erected in 1991, the 6.4-metre-long (21ft) skeleton of a juvenile male fin whale has seen better days.

SWIMS research assistant Philip Thompson proclaimed unto the paper that during September 2018’s Typhoon Mangkhut, some of the skeleton’s ribs were cracked, part of its jawbone was dislodged, and its left hip bone was blown away. (SWIMS is short for the University of Hong Kong’s (HKU) Swire Institute of Marine Science.) The remnants of the original skeleton would be preserved at SWIMS. Designed to endure typhoons, salt spray and Hong Kong’s hot summers, the 3D printed replica would be built by Addify, unsurprisingly also of Hong Kong.

Thompson also claimed that he found little information online surrounding the skeleton’s history until finding a story in HKU magazine Spectrum. This spoke of a starving baby whale spotted floating among debris in Victoria Harbour in April 1955, where the calf had probably fallen ill and become separated from its mother. Thompson argued that the whale was euthanised by police as this was the most humane thing to do.

As marine police were moving the dead whale’s body out to sea, they were met by an HKU research boat, which took the carcass to Aberdeen, southwest Hong Kong Island. Witnessed by as many as 1,000 people, the dead whale’s remains were cut up the next day, resulting in 2¼ metric tonnes of meat being put into cold storage to feed Chinese refugees. (Hong Kong was a haven for people fleeing the aftermath of the Chinese civil war, the famine triggered by Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution.)

Finally, some superstitious fisherman collected money and made an 8-metre-long paper whale, which was burned and released in Hong Kong’s Junk Bay to avoid any angry spirits bringing people bad luck due to the whale’s fate. Today, SWIMS director Gray Williams argues that it is time to lay another ghost to rest in the form of Miss Willy; she was an orca whale who performed at Hong Kong’s Ocean Park and sadly died in 1997, with a lot of people mistakenly believing that the skeleton at Cape D’Aguilar belongs to her instead. (She is also referred to as Hoi Wai and Suzie Wong and it is unknown why Williams referred to her as Miss Willy.)

3D printing is an amazing tool. It can grow your small business or start a mini revolution in an industry. Explore what it can do for you when you contact us today.

Disclaimer: Featured image of “The-whale-beached-1617” is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or fewer.