New Shells on the Beach?

Andy Kinsman’s family are owners at Oceans Reach and Andy is one of our favorite guest bloggers that has enlightened us with his blogs on kite flying. Below, he has some interesting information on some “new” Junonias! Enjoy, and once again our thanks to Andy!

Upon returning from my last visit to Sanibel it became clear that I needed a large spinning nylon Junonia shell on my kite lines to say to the world that this is where the best shells can be found. Scouring the Internet produced no plans for such a display. Canvassing my friends who were employed entering CAD designs into computers returned messages of how difficult such a shape was to produce with CAD systems. Repetitive attempts by each produced degenerated results. This got me very determined. So I wrote a little computer program in an obscure language, and 10 lines of code later it produced a very nice shell in 3D. This program actually grows the creature in 3D space. Enhancing this program slightly with variables for growth rates, final sizes, axis expansion rates, various surface textures, and with optional creature profiles- produces a general purpose shell generation program. It will make everything from a lower Jurassic ammonite shell to a modern conk. I chose a few of my 3D models and quickly started learning how to send 3D object files to a company in Eindhoven, Netherlands, called Shapeways which is in the business of ‘printing’ 3D objects for their customers. It has taken me two weeks to get to the point where they will accept my models and print them. Shapeways can ‘print’ 3D objects in over 10 different materials including rubber, plastic, ceramic, glass, and even stainless steel. They arrive in nice little box, delivered by UPS. I get so excited when a box arrives… like Christmas morning. Anybody can purchase these, since I made them and others publicly available on the website.

So… now what to do with this technology? I have the tremendous desire to make a dozen extremely rare left handed Junonia shells and scatter them on the beach at Ocean’s reach. I can envision the ladies at the local shell museum becoming very confused with visitors who arrive with shells never seen before on the beaches of Sanibel or anywhere in the world. My story is going to be that the mollusks have mutated after the gulf oil spill and exploited the new source of polymers to produce plastic shells in bizarre new shapes. I do plan to approach Shapeways to see if they will print me a couple dozen to spread as an advertising scheme for their company. This might be useful since they are opening a new production facility in New York City this year. This might hit the press. Perhaps there will be a bounty for the first captured alive of a new species of stainless steel auger? Perhaps visitors will hunt our beaches for one of these new elusive variants. Surely there will be a few on the beach after my next visit!

Now on to the original project of building that Junonia kite. -Andy Kinsman, Victor, NY