African Elephants, 3D Printing, and Our Future

Snapshots, Featured


I had such a wonderful first-ever photographic Safari experience in the fall.  I edited some of the photographs I shot right away like these zebras playing in Kenya. And then to my delight, many of my readers put their name on a list to buy prints.  I’ve been going through the thousands (not kidding) of images I’ve taken and tried to remain calm.  It helps to have friends in town like professional photographer and photography teacher Katie Settel who offered to guide me on the nuances of Lightroom, the editing software I use. So here we are, Katie and me, in the east coast snow, reliving my African memories and preparing to open my photo store online. So stay tuned for that.


My elephants in Lightroom.

My elephants being edited in Lightroom at Katie’s studio.


My giraffe family via Lightroom.

My giraffe family photo in Lightroom.


One of the reasons I went to Africa is because I have a life-long love of elephants. In fact, I spent half my time in Amboseli to photograph the elephants on my own before joining up with my photographic safari. My friend and colleague, Jenifer Howard at MakerBot welcomed me home with these little critters made on a 3D printer. They sit on my desk.

For those who don’t know about 3D printing and MakerBot (among the first companies to make 3D printing accessible), here are a few tidbits to whet your appetite to learn more.

  • MakerBot is supporting the users who want to blaze a trail into digital manufacturing. You really owe it to yourself to read more on their website
  • Simply put, a 3D printer resembles a printer you have at home, but instead of ink…filament is used to create three dimensional objects and prototypes.
  • Fun fact, at the 2015 International Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, ChefJet announced their 3D printer will make cakes. Printable materials include all the ingredients you need: vanilla, chocolate and more! Not sure I’ll be trying this anytime soon, but just take note.
  • Soon you can print objects in wood, metal and stone!
  • Some brought awareness to World Elephant Day in August with 3D products. Check out 3D printed bookends in elephant shapes.
  • Take a class at a MakerBot store so you can see for yourself!

I can’t mention elephants without having you take special note of the Wildlife Conservation Society and their 96 Elephants initiative. They WOW me and I support their work wholeheartedly!


The making of the elephant.

The making of the elephant. Martha Stewart design studio is partners with MakerBot. This is Martha’s new favorite color to use, Jadeite. In the 1940s jadeite glassware was commonly sold in five-and-tens. And that’s me on the bottom right at a press conference at MakerBot. Waterlogue iPhone app that I like so much.


Jenifer Howard with MakerBot created this herd of Elephants for me upon my return from Africa.

J Howard with MakerBot created this herd of elephants for me upon my return from Africa.

Medical advances using 3D printers


You can’t open up a newspaper these days without seeing some fabulous advancement being made using 3D printers. A big movement is underway to make prosthetic hands for young people. Kids grow out of them so fast, imagine making a hand for someone in need.

This particular story from a year ago always gets me smiling. Leon was present at a press conference I worked on. Take a look at Leon’s story here. There are many many more.

MakerBot makes medical devices like the Robohand .....

Leon, a 12-years old without fingers on his left hand, with his prosthetic hand. It allows him to pick up items and even play football. Cost to make on a 3D printer=$5. At the MakerBot press conference in Boston that I worked on. (2013) Photo by me.


A Dog Running on 3D Printed Prosthetics





Most images are taken with the iPhone 5s. Some are taken with the Canon EOS 5D MarkIII.

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17 responses to “African Elephants, 3D Printing, and Our Future”

  1. Leonaura Rhodes says:

    Wow amazing article! Love the dog story! 3D printing is the future and let’s hope it remains a force for good!

    • Nancy Moon says:

      Hi Leonaura, thanks for following my blog and reading this particular one! I’m keeping my eye on the 3D world and often do some PR for the projects. Thank you. Thank you!

  2. Nancy says:

    Your personal passion and professional life have merged in a most unexpected way. Inspirational!

  3. Mara McEwin says:

    You inspire me Nancy. Your images are fantastic, and what you feature is always so interesting. Love knowing you love elephants.

  4. Karen Nedler Quinn says:

    Nancy, this is incredible! I’m so glad that you were able to fulfill your dream of going to Africa this fall. May it be the first of many trips to come. I love the way 3D printers are being used to create prosthetics for animals and humans! What a fantastic use of technology.

    • Nancy Moon says:

      Thanks so much, it was a dream for years. I can’t wait to go again! Yes, happy to went to the video about how animals and humans are being helped with 3D printing! Such a meaningful story for so many. @karennedlerquinn:disqus

  5. Laura says:

    always look forward to seeing what you have to share! Beautiful images and I loved Leon’s story. $5 to make! Wowsahhh! 🙂 xo.

    • Nancy Moon says:

      Yes, $5 and quite a story about 3D printing and medicine. Thanks for taking a look at my blog, it means a lot to me. @disqus_nFZeIndYSn:disqus

  6. Mara McEwin says:

    Love your blog Nancy, you inspire me in so many ways. The images are gorgeous, and as always what you feature is so interesting. Love that you LOVE elephants!!

    • Nancy Moon says:

      Thanks for reading, Mara! Makes me smile. And yes, don’t we all love elephants/ Stay tuned, I’ll be posting more over next few months. @maramcewin:disqus

  7. Penny Hornwood says:

    Great blog, Nancy Moon……looking forward to your seeing your photos. Hearing so much about 3D printing…Ganesh must have removed a lot of obstacles to get so close to the elephants!

    • Nancy Moon says:

      Hi Penny, thanks for much for commenting, I’m so happy you follow my blog. And really happy you figured out DISQUS for commenting. Just read about Ganesha, patron of arts and sciences….

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