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Fish Cleaning Tool

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MOST Delta filament as guide.JPG This page was part of an MTU course MSE4777 OA and MSE4777 OB/MSE5777/EE4777/EE5777: Open-source 3-D printing

Please leave comments using the discussion tab. The course runs in the Fall semester. It is not open edit.

Fish Cleaning Tool[edit]

Project developed by Tim Billman
This OSAT has been designed but not yet tested - use at own risk.
This OSAT has been prototyped.

You can help Appropedia by contributing to the next step in this OSAT's status.


Tool Background:

When considering something useful for the developing world, an easy to use, cost effective, and helpful tool. Anyone with access to a 3D printer can create (and customize) this tool to help with cleaning fish. It is a handle that serves three functions: a razor blade to cut open the belly, a scoop to clean out the guts, and a scaler to scrape off the scales. This multi-functional tool is all that would be needed to quickly and effectively clean fish in order to increase the storage life..

Fishing Background:

"Fish and seafood are amongst the most traded food products in the world. Over 800 million people are dependent on the catch, processing, production and sale of fish and seafood. In recent years, the number of jobs in this branch has increased more, even, than the world’s population has.

People in developing countries are particularly reliant on fish as a basic livelihood as they deliver the largest volume of catch and production worldwide and employ 97% of the world’s fishing workforce. The overwhelming majority, 90%, are small-scale fishermen, not employed by large fishing fleets. For them, fish makes up the basis of their income as well as an important part of their daily nutrition." 1

Cleaning Background:

"It is a common experience that the quality and storage life of many fish decrease if they have not been gutted. During feeding periods the fish contain many bacteria in the digestive system and strong digestive enzymes are produced. The latter will be able to cause a violent autolysis post mortem, which may give rise to strong off-flavour especially in the belly area, or even cause belly-burst." 2

FCT Final A.jpg

Bill of Materials[edit]

Part Quantity Source Comments
PLA ~70 grams Filament supplier of choice Red or darker color recommended to reduce staining
Blade Side 1 Youmagine Using PLA
Non Blade Side 1 Youmagine Using PLA
Large Pin 2 Youmagine Using PLA
Small Pin 1 Youmagine Using PLA
Hook Razor Blade 1 Amazon Any standard utility blade will work. The higher quantity purchase, the cheaper the item will be.

Tools needed for fabrication of the OSAT[edit]

  1. MOST Delta RepRap or similar RepRap 3-D printer
  2. Hammer or similar to press pins

Skills and Knowledge Necessary to Make the OSAT[edit]

  • Fishing knowledge recommended

Technical Specifications and Assembly Instructions[edit]

Printable Stl files[edit]

STL Files available at Youmagine

Print Instructions[edit]

For all printed components

Material: PLA

Layer Height: 0.2mm

Shell Thickness: 0.8mm

Fill Density: 20%

Print Speed: 70 mm/s

Printing Temperature: 220 C

No printed supports necessary.

Printing prototype with blade in place

IMPORTANT NOTE: Blade side MUST have blade in place during printing. Place the blade in the cavity during the print once the layer height matches the blade thickness. This will ensure a tight fit and keeps much tighter tolerances than can be printed in a flipped orientation.

Total Printing Time: ~5 hours

  • Blade Side: 2hr 11min (32g)
  • Non Blade Side: 2hr 11min (32g)
  • Small Pin: 10 min (1g)
  • Large Pin: 11min (2g)

Assembly time: ~ 5min

Assembly Instructions[edit]

Once the following parts are collected, assembly can be completed.

Components and Tools
  1. 1 x Blade Side
  2. 1 x Non Blade Side
  3. 1 x Small Pin
  4. 2 x Large Pin
  5. 1 x Blade
  6. Hammer
Commercially Available Product

Common Problems and Solutions[edit]

Cost savings[edit]

Break Down of Costs Estimate[edit]

(Assuming $20/kg of PLA)

  1. Blade side (1x):$0.64
  2. Non Blade Side (1x):$0.64
  3. Small Pin (1x):$0.02
  4. Large Pin (2x):$0.04

-Total Print cost: $1.32

-Blade (1x):<$1 (Bulk packs cost ~$0.15 per blade)

Total estimated cost to Manufacture: $1.47

Comparable Costs[edit]

Commercially Available Option: $24.99 [1]

Savings: $23.52 (%94 reduction in cost)

Benefited Internet Communities[edit]

Fish for Good


  2. 6.4 The Effect of Gutting
  3. Developing World Fisheries
  4. Commercially Available Product