Several bivalve species burrow into sandy sediments to reach their living position. There are many hypotheses concerning the functional morphology of the bivalve shell for burrowing. Observational studies are limited and often qualitative and should be complemented by a synthetic approach mimicking the burrowing process using a robotic emulation. In this paper we present a simple mechatronic set-up to mimic the burrowing behaviour of bivalves. As environment we used water and quartz sand contained in a glass tank. Bivalve shells were mathematically modelled on the computer and then materialized using a 3D printer. The burrowing motion of the shells was induced by two external linear motors. Preliminary experiments did not expose any artefacts introduced to the burrowing process by the set-up. We tested effects of shell size, shape and surface sculpturing on the burrowing performance. Neither the typical bivalve shape nor surface sculpture did have a clear positive effect on burrowing depth in the performed experiments. We argue that the presented method is a valid and promising approach to investigate the functional morphology of bivalve shells and should be improved and extended in future studies. In contrast to the observation of living bivalves, our approach offers complete control over the parameters defining shell morphology and motion pattern. The technical set-up allows the systematic variation of all parameters to quantify their effects. The major drawback of the built set-up was that the reliability and significance of the results was limited by the lack of an optimal technique to standardize the sediment state before experiments.