Italian packaging company SIPA has employed 3-D digital printing to create an elephant-shaped PET bottle. It used an entry level printer and a polylactic acid (PLA) polymer filament to produce the bottle.

A division of Zoppas Industries, SIPA said it chose an elephant design to display 3-D printing design capabilities and be aesthetically pleasing.

SIPA designed and created the bottle in two months. The project began with several sketches. After the company transformed three of these drawings into technical designs, it decided to use 3-D digital printing to create the bottle. SIPA then printed small scales of these designs—which each took six hours print—to test the stability, shape and label area of the bottles. It settled on a design and added texture to some of the smooth areas to simulate an elephant hide.

SIPA presented the bottle at the Brau Beviale 2014 exhibition in Nürnberg, Germany. According to the company, many people at the fair showed interested in the elephant bottle.

SIPA said the entry-level printer taught its team about 3-D printing fundamentals, and it plans to follow the evolution of 3D-printing technology.


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