3D Printed Hermit Crab Shells Depict Famous Landmarks

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Lisa Winter

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1844 3D Printed Hermit Crab Shells Depict Famous Landmarks
Aki Inomata

3D printing technology is completely amazing. The technology can be used to create prosthetic limbs for people or ducks, potential concrete infrastructure on Mars, tools for the ISS, replacement skulls or bones for facial reconstruction, replacement blood vessels, and much more

All of those uses are extremely worthwhile and noble, but 3D printers can also be used to make things that are just awesome and fun, like decked out shells for hermit crabs (the most adorable of crustaceans). Hermit crabs have soft, vulnerable bodies. Rather than make their own shells for protection, they will forage for shells left by other animals, and will switch homes quite often. If shells aren’t available, they’ll lug around bits of wood or even plastic bottle caps to protect themselves.


Artist Aki Inomata from Japan has created a collection of 3D printed shells out of clear plastic for her project, “Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs?”. While clear hermit crab shells have been done before, Inomata has given them a new twist by putting famous architecture from around the globe on the top of each one. She claims she was inspired by a piece of land that had held the French Embassy in Japan. Ownership of the land, she says, was peacefully transferred back and forth between France and Japan without causing a fuss. People also often move between countries, and even hermit crabs are able to seamlessly transfer from one home to the next.

Check out her project here:


Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs? digest ver. from Aki Inomata on Vimeo.




Here are the other skylines in her collection:

Renaissance architecture in Honfleur, France:


Earthen hillside buildings in the Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou, Morocco:

Skyscrapers of New York City, USA:

Cubical homes on the sides of the Cyclades in Santorini, Greece:

Buddhist temple in Thailand:


Windmills of Zaanse Schans, Netherlands:

All images are the property of Aki Inomata. Head over to to see more of her amazing 3D printed artwork.


  • tag
  • 3d printing,

  • art,

  • hermit crabs,

  • shells,

  • Aki Inomata