3D printed moving sculptures

STL file Kinetic Sculpture・3D printable model to download・Cults

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3D Printed Mobiles

These 3D printed mobiles are the result of a collaboration between Marco Mahler, a kinetic sculptor specializing in mobiles, and Henry Segerman, assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at Oklahoma State University.

Available now through our Shapeways Mobiles Shop

[Click on images for high-resolution photos]

These mobiles come out of the 3D-printer completely assembled as shown in the photos and video. They are made of separate loose pieces connected to each other. The balance points for these mobiles were calculated to 1/1000th of a millimeter (1/25360th of an inch). The models for some of these mobiles were drawn up “by hand”, others were created utilizing scripts that we wrote. Some of the mobiles, like Mobile 4.2, are designed with a very small increase or decrease in thickness from one part to the next, something that is not possible to do with conventional handmade mobiles. Utilizing scripts also allows for designs that would be very time consuming to make by hand, such as the Quaternary Tree (Level 6), which has 1365 pieces.

We met via Twitter (Marco lived in Portland, Oregon, at the time, Henry in Melbourne, Australia) in early February 2013 when Henry was looking for suggestions for a motor for one of his 3D printed kinetic sculptures. A conversation ensued about the possibilities for making 3D printed mobiles. After about 300 emails, several conversations over Skype, hundreds of lines of code, and a number of test prints and trial-and-error experiments, the result is the collection of mobiles that is now available through our shop at Shapeways (a 3D printing service company). After an extensive Google search in 2013, it appeared that these are the first fully 3D printed mobiles in the world, and they still appear to be the only fully 3D printed mobiles in the world over 8 years later in 2021.

A video montage:


All models are available in “White Strong & Flexible”, a laser sintered nylon plastic, one of the most popular materials for 3D-printing. Some of the smaller models are also available in “Black Strong & Flexible” and a variety of polished colors. This material is heatproof to 80C/176F degrees. Higher temperatures may significantly change material properties. It is also dishwasher safe (“Yay, finally a mobile we can put in the dishwasher!”).

If you’re not sure what 3D printing is, the Wikipedia page for it explains it rather well. If you’re not sure what a mobile is, see my definition, short history and photos of my handmade mobiles.

These mobiles ship directly from Shapeways, so lines and hooks to install the mobiles are not included, but these mobiles are very light, so most types of string or line will do. Fishing line has the benefit of being transparent.

These mobiles are printed to order. When you place your order with Shapeways, they will give you an estimated shipping date and send the model to their 3D printers for processing. Most orders ship before the estimated shipping date which is usually within 1 to 2 weeks from the time you place your order.

These 3D printed mobiles are not intended to be installed within the reach of small children. Some of them might be too fragile and some of them have small parts that may present a choking hazard. They are suited for decorative purposes only.

If for any reason you’re not happy with a mobile when you receive it, simply mail it to us within 30 days, and we’ll give you a full refund. Alternately, if it appears to be a 3D printing related issue, you can also contact Shapeways. They will look into cause of the issue, and depending on what they find, they may offer you a reprint. You can find Shapeways’ Terms and Conditions over here.

They’re also available for wholesale. Please contact us for more info.

We have more ideas for 3D printed mobiles that we’re planning on getting around to. If you’d like to stay updated on any new models that will become available, please enter your email address here:

Your E-Mail:

Please let us know if you have questions or comments.

Thanks for stopping by,
Marco & Henry


These mobiles are also featured in Printing Things – Visions and Essentials for 3D Printing, a new book by publisher and creative agency Gestalten. It’s an inspirational and understandable exploration of the creative potential of 3D printing that introduces outstanding projects, key experts, and the newest technologies.


Also see the Smithsonian’s article and the Wired article about Henry’s work, the Guardian’s article about Henry’s collaboration with Saul Schleimer, and The New Yorker’s article about the Dice Lab project with Robert Fathauer.

Sculptures printed on a 3D printer - a fusion of science and art

Perhaps the craft of the sculptor will soon sink into oblivion, and 3D devices will work in plaster workshops, allowing you to print any creation - from David and Venus de Milo to the avant-garde. A service has already been launched that allows you to download about 8,000 three-dimensional models of famous sculptures, ready for printing on a 3D printer.

Among them are Michelangelo's Pieta, Rodin's The Thinker, and smaller copies of architectural masterpieces such as Big Ben. So far, such devices cannot work with gypsum, since it quickly hardens, but this is a matter of time. In the meantime, the gypsum mixture is being replaced with plastic, various composite materials, and even ... sugar. There are already sculptures made in this technique and worthy of attention.

Nesurak - an alien from outer space

This colorful 3D printed sculpture was made using the 3D printing technique by Belgian artist Nick Erwink. Inspired by aliens, robots and fantasy creations, he created a heroic statue of a god from the future - a cross between Maya and Star Wars characters. The sculpture is on display at the AXIOM Art & Science Gallery in Tokyo, Japan.

Futuristic sculpture measures 102 x 19,3 x 50 cm, consists of 200 3D printed plastic parts. All of them were painted and assembled to make a cyborg figure.

Futuristic sneakers

These unusual sneakers are a collaboration between Adidas, musician Kanye West and artist Shane Griffin. The prototype was an ordinary pair of sports shoes, which were scanned and processed using computer technology.

The finished image was twisted and distorted using computer technology to create an optical illusion. The model was 3D printed in white resin and assembled into a 15 x 16 x 25 cm sculpture.

The world's tallest 3D printed sculpture

James Bruton's creation has been included in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest 3D sculpture. The work reaches a height of 3.6 meters, weighs almost 50 kilograms and is an enlarged sculptural image of its author.

The record-breaking statue was created at the University of Portsmouth, where a digital photo of James Bruton himself was taken using a 3D scanner. Then the three-dimensional image was divided into separate parts, which were printed on two Lulzbot 3D printers. The printing went on for 500 hours, and then the figure was assembled together for another two months.

Photo: source

Bronze statue at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta

It was created by Julian Foss-Andrea, an artist, scientist, physician and mathematician who claims science is his source of inspiration. Therefore, it is not surprising that he used 3D printing for his bronze sculpture "Poly". This is a three-dimensional image of a female figure woven from a metal mesh.

Within 10,000 hours, he 3D-printed 100 synthetic filament molds and then molded them into a bronze statue. The sculpture can be seen at the Atlanta Institute of Technology. It is located on the lawn and fits perfectly into the surrounding landscape.

King Square Sculpture in London

This piece of art by British artist Matthew Plummer Fernandez is a subtle nod to London's housing crisis. It is not surprising that the work was created by an artist who could not find his place in the British capital for a long time.

The three-meter sculpture consists of 400 miniature houses connected in a three-dimensional figure consisting of loops. The houses are small, uncomfortable, it is immediately clear that they were built not for people, but for profit. So the author criticizes the tightness of the apartments in the British capital, which does not correspond to the cost of housing. The sculpture is installed on one of the London streets.

Printed flowers

John Edmark, the creator of this miracle flower, showed what can be created by combining art and science. A teacher and designer at Stanford University has used 3D printing to create floral masterpieces. And this is one of them.

Printed flowers immediately became a popular item in online stores. Therefore, everyone can buy digital beauty.

No watering required

This is the ironic name given to their work by well-known artists Rob and Nick Carter, who use innovative technologies to create their works. Indeed, why water dried flowers and thorns made of silicon bronze and standing in a bronze vase.

This is not the first time these authors have created 3D bronzes using a 3D printer. Thus, they have already translated the painting "Sunflowers" by Van Gogh into a digital 3D model. The method is unique in the subtlety of its work. The printer was able to print even the smallest details as small as 16 microns.

Caged Angel

The artist Eric van Straaten is a digital sculptor who works exclusively in full color 3D printing. He believes that hypersurrealism best conveys precisely such works.

The 20 cm sculpture is part of the Girls in Cages series and symbolizes young girls trapped in modern reality. Unfortunately, full-color 3D printing is not yet perfect, so the number of shades is limited. But with the development of technology, everything should change for the better.

Photo: source

Mycelium chair

This root-shaped chair with mushroom caps is, of course, uncomfortable to sit on. But on the other hand, you can look at a sculpture for a long time, the style of which is even difficult to determine.

The author of the work, Eric Clarenbeck, thus wanted to show the connection between the world of people and nature, but the result was a demonstration of the amazing ability of a 3D printer to produce even the smallest details like mushroom caps, and to do it very high quality. Even eminent sculptors will envy the subtleties of the work. It's amazing what miracles can be created with the help of modern science.

There is a real boom in 3D technologies in the art world. At first, sculptors and art historians did not favor the new technology, but later they became more supportive of it. Any works have the right to life, especially such unusual and interesting ones.

cover source

My print is light

We regularly write in the news (and you read) the adjective “printed”, which has become familiar, and it seems like everyone understands that we are talking about 3D printers. But the whole picture is not obtained; no, no, and the question will slip: “What can be printed on a 3D printer?” To use an exhaustive answer "a lot of things" with such a question is at least indecent. Therefore, together with Yota, we have selected several illustrative examples of 3D printing: from a coronary artery and a rocket engine to gadgets with meteorite chips. But first things first.

Organs, tissues and other medicine

3D printing allows even a relatively cheap printer to create objects with a high level of detail, which has proven useful in medical research. Vessels, cartilage, ovaries, and even an analogue of the cerebral cortex have already been printed on 3D printers. Despite the encouraging results, it is too early to say that humanity can print complex functional organs. Researchers have recently learned how to print shape-retaining prostheses with living cells, and 3D-printed blood vessels, although they are overgrown with capillaries, do it completely chaotically. But the current level of technology development is quite enough to print training ears for plastic surgeons.

Biogel miniature human ear

Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine


At least there are no problems with pills - here 3D printing helps to experiment with dosage and shape of pills, which directly affects the rate of drug release. In addition, at a quite applied level, 3D printing can be used in dentistry - one brave and confident student even corrected an overbite with the help of self-made aligners.

Separately, it is worth highlighting the topic of making prostheses. 3D scanners and printers help to quickly produce fairly complex prostheses tailored to the size and needs of the patient. Moreover, if we are talking about a lost limb, then for hands, for example, there are already a sufficient number of ready-made models that only need to be adjusted in size - thus, the patient receives a complex and comfortable prosthesis almost at the price of plastic. There are even volunteer organizations that are engaged in the manufacture of free 3D printed prostheses of various levels of complexity.

Turtle with titanium prosthetic jaws

Pamukkale Universitesi


Do not think that people help only their own kind - 3D printing is also actively used to create artificial limbs for animals. Of course, our favorite character is a turtle with titanium jaws, but we were just as worried about a husky named Derby, who got prosthetic forepaws printed, and Cassidy, a kitten with a 3D printed wheelchair. By the way, Cassidy is doing well - judging by the latest video, the kitten has grown up, cheerfully slides her back on the tiles and even plays with other cats. And on our list of good stories, there is a whole collection of birds: a toucan, a pelican and a macaw, which had prosthetic beaks printed, as well as a duck with printed prosthetic legs.

Derby on old prostheses

3D Systems


Cassidy takes her first steps

Tiny Kittens/YouTube


Associated Press / YouTube

Artwork and Zootropes

Without a doubt, the most striking example of the use of 3D printing in the art world is the creation of a portrait called "The Next Rembrandt". The algorithm that controlled the operation of the 3D printer printed with special ink in 13 layers of paint - in this way it was possible to convey the relief of a real portrait in oil.

Of course, 3D printers can do more than just paint pictures. Designers use them with might and main in their projects, including when creating clothes - there is a “live” cape that looks like a porcupine skin. She is covered in 3D printed needles and changes shape in response to the gaze of a person of the opposite sex.

Or you can make the 3D printer itself the main element of an art project. So, for example, did Dutch designers who recorded sound on clay. To the table of a clay 3D printer, the designers attached a speaker that rhythmically emits low-frequency sounds. It turned out a kind of system for translating speaker vibrations into the texture of the printed product.

If you want something monumental, then 3D printing can help here too. The Swiss adapted an impromptu 3D printer to create a real sculpture from rubble and rope. The extruder lays the rope, and a layer of crushed stone is poured on top - a real layer-by-layer synthesis.

It is worth mentioning the little-known art of creating zootropes - moving sculptures. Working with a single 3D model in a 3D editor should be much easier than making dozens of figures by hand. Or a few hundred, as in the All Things Fall zootrope, which was inspired by Rubens' painting The Massacre of the Innocents and consists of more than 350 figures.

Sebastian Burdon / Vimeo

Jet engine and gear hydraulic machine

Of course, the ability to quickly prototype a complex part has delighted engineers and designers working with machines of all levels. The prospects for the manufacture of metal parts look especially interesting, because when metal powder is sintered by a laser, there is practically no waste, and the nodes are often strong enough for practical use.

NASA, for example, began testing 3D printed rocket engine parts three years ago, gradually increasing the number of printed parts in the experimental engine. In December 2015, the agency successfully tested a rocket engine with about 75 percent of its parts made using 3D printing. ESA is also trying to keep up - last summer, Europeans tested a jet engine with 3D printed platinum parts.

The cost-effectiveness of 3D printing in the production of metal parts has convinced some companies to use additive technologies not only in prototypes but also in series production. Airbus, for example, recently received two production turbojet bypass engines that have printed fuel injectors. The military does not lag behind civilian aircraft manufacturers - we even had detailed material on this topic. In short, the military is going to print not only spare parts for bombers, but also drones in the field.

How about ready-to-use hydraulics? Specialists from the Laboratory of Information Technology and Artificial Intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have already mastered the method of producing ready-made hydraulic units that do not need to be pumped or refueled - they work directly from the printer. Multiple nozzles allow you to simultaneously print rigid and elastic parts of the body, as well as immediately pour liquid. The result was a gear hydraulic machine and a completely working hexapod, on which an electric motor was attached and it started to move.

And more recently, 3D printers have learned how to print phased antenna arrays, so cheap radars for military and civilian equipment are also just around the corner. I would like to believe that this will accelerate the development of active security systems in cars and the radar will no longer be installed only in front for reasons of economy.


Clothing and motorcycles

3D printing doesn't have to be rigorous or scientific medical, additive technologies have quite domestic applications as well. A house, clothes, and a motorcycle have already been printed on a 3D printer. Why is there this motorcycle, in 2017 we were promised a serial 3D printed electric car! However, if the production model does not please the eye and the soul asks for an exclusive, then you can always print a supercar.

Rear light

Photo: TE Connectivity / 3dprint.com


Front wheel

Photo: TE Connectivity / 3dprint.com


Engine cover

Photo: TE Connectivity / 3dprint.com


Rear wheel

Photo: TE Connectivity / 3dprint.com


If you are not a fan of the concept of personal transport at all and want to print something smaller, then a gummies sorter, a tea set made of tea or the world's smallest circular saw will always come in handy on the farm.

What about meteorites and 3D printing? Yota suggests printing a cover for it when ordering a modem - and this is where the meteorite, which we talked about at the beginning of the material, comes in handy.

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