Scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) are using a new generation of hi-tech fish tags made in their own lab with a 3D printer.
The new tags are made of titanium because it is a strong, non-toxic metal capable of resisting the salty corrosiveness of the ocean. They are printed in Melbourne in a process that takes less than a night, and then shipped to Tasmania where CSIRO scientists are currently testing them. Without the 3D printing technology, new tags would have taken months to design, manufacture and receive. This way, changes can be made immediately.
“Using our Arcam 3D printing machine, we’ve been able to re-design and make a series of modified tags within a week,” says John Barnes, who leads CSIRO’s research in titanium technologies. “When our marine science colleagues asked us to help build a better fish tag, we were able to send them new prototypes before their next trip to sea.”
“Our early trials showed that the textured surface worked well in improving retention of the tag, but we need to fine-tune the design of the tag tip to make sure that it pierces the fish skin as easily as possible,” Barnes explained.
“A streamlined tag that easily penetrates the fish’s skin, but has improved longevity because it integrates with muscle and cartilage, would be of great interest to our colleagues conducting tagging programs across the world,” said CSIRO marine researcher, Russell Bradford.
To learn more:
- Read the whole article from CSIRO: Scientists use 3D printing to track big fish
Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.