3D prints with moving parts

How to 3D Print Moving Components in One Print Job

3D printing fully assembled, multi-component parts in a single job allows you to see dynamic components working in their prototyping stages. Rather than 3D printing smaller parts and assembling them together, you can reduce the workload by printing the full part in a single print. Once the supports are washed, you have a seamless, perfectly dynamic and mobile part. 3D Print Moving Components eliminates having to print very small, weak parts that could be damaged (or lost) in, say, a wash tank.

The key to 3D print moving components is to have air gaps in between the components (otherwise known as negative space), and it starts with the initial design.

Let’s use the hinge design below as an example:

Screenshot of a custom hinge design comprised of only two moving parts

Hinges are usually comprised of the knuckles (the hollow portion of the hinge in which the pin is set), the leaves (the parts of the hinge that extend laterally from the knuckles and come in contact with the external surface), and the pin (the rod that holds the leaves together by being set inside the knuckles), but we’ll design and print the hinge as only two components.

The methods shown for this hinge design can be applied to almost any mobile or dynamic component that you design.

Negative Space Based on Layer Thickness and Part Resolution

I designed this hinge in SOLIDWORKS as one part file, separated into two bodies. Using a series of repeating reference planes, I cut out and extruded the interlocking knuckles, making sure to add an equal amount of negative space between both knuckles. The holes on the ends of the leaves are just placeholders, as the main focus of this project is the pivot mechanism.

Ideally, the air gaps need to be small enough to go unnoticed, yet large enough to fully clear the extrusion paths as the printer lays down layers. This allows the final part to maintain its structural integrity while its components are fully mobile.

Layer thickness doesn’t just represent the height of the layer, it also represents the width of each path.

A design rule that I’ve stuck with is to set the air gaps to at least double the layer thickness of your choice. For instance, if I’m printing the hinge shown above in 0.007″ thickness, I want to make sure my air gaps are at least 0.014″. This way, there’s no chance that the extruded paths will intersect and melt together during the printing process. This same principle applies for all layer heights. Now, we could go into liquid thermoplastic retention properties and argue that the air gaps can change based on what material you use (e.g. Nylon12 instead of ABS-M30), but the safest option that works with almost any material is the one I just described.

Hinge Without the Pin

Now for the design. As stated before, the hinge can be designed with only two moving parts.

NOTE: This model is intended to demonstrate some unique design principles regarding fully assembled, multi-component print jobs.

Pictured below is the design in question. If you look closely, you can see there’s no pin in the centre of the knuckles. Instead, the knuckles are interlinked with an air gap of 0. 3mm (or 0.012″). For the purpose of this blog, I’m printing the hinge in 0.005″ layers, so my air gaps are slightly larger than what they need to be (which is fine). If I made the gaps smaller than 0.010″, there would be a good chance that the paths would melt in on themselves during the printing process, rendering the hinge immobile after cleaning.

Making one of the leaves transparent allows a clear view at the connecting knuckle, which fills up the gaps.

The final hinge print.

Here you can see the air gaps up close.

Post-Printing Steps

One of the major drawbacks of this method of printing/prototyping is that you will need to use more support material for these parts to print properly. During the printing process, the negative space (air gaps) are filled with support material, which is then dissolved in a wash bath.

The model material you are using must be compatible with soluble support material. The supports need to be dissolved in order for your parts to freely move after they’ve been cured.

On the topic of support structures dissolving, the wash bath times do slightly increase for prints like these. It takes a little longer for the solution to reach the inner support material buried within the part. Once the part is fully washed, gently try to move the parts back and fourth to pry them apart. If you apply too much force the parts might snap.

Some Things to Consider

If you’re designing parts to 3D print moving components that are fully assembled out of the printer, its a good idea to use the smallest layer thickness your 3D printer is capable of extruding. In my case, it’s 0.005″. Thinner layers give the part a smoother finish, which means that there’s less friction between components when they move.

Another thing to note is the support material your 3D printer will use. Make sure the supports are water soluble. These types of prints won’t work on standard consumer printers, as they only extrude model material.

How To 3D Print Assemblies With Moving Parts

By Laura Russart, Jul 20th, 2021

As 3D printing becomes increasingly present in the everyday vocabulary of engineers and designers, a new set of necessary skills emerges as well. With so many questions that need answering, the Fathom team is dedicated to sharing interesting information with you as we navigate the frontier of additive manufacturing. One of the many ways that 3D printing shines is in its ability to produce assemblies with moving parts, all in a single build. To investigate this, Mechanical Engineer Alexei Samimi took on the challenge of designing a single assembly of interlocking moving parts for two different 3D printers.


Using 3D printing in the design process has many benefits. For this blog post, I wanted to do a quick project demonstrating how 3D printing allows you to quickly prototype complex and intricate assembled parts by printing multiple components pre-assembled in a single build.

I modeled a bracelet in Solidworks—a six-part 3D printed assembly with paraboloid joints and a fold-over clasp sliding mechanism. I printed the assembly on both a uPrint SE Plus (Fused Deposition Modeling Technology) and an Objet500 Connex3 (PolyJet Technology) and compared the results.

Design Considerations
Clasp Design

To explore how the two machines handle 3D printing intricate assemblies of moving parts, I looked to an everyday mechanism that would be time-consuming and difficult to prototype using traditional methods: the fold-over watch clasp [Figure 1].

A pair of 0.05-inch hemispherical snaps holds the clasp closed. The snap depends on flexure of small snap arms to operate and I was curious how well the uPrint’s ASBplus would compare to the Connex3’s Digital ABS. Both exhibit flexural moduli of 300 ksi.

Joint Type

For this design, I wanted to avoid long through-pins like those found in metallic watch bands. Not only would the tiny 3D printed pins be prone to breakage and wear, but removing support material from the narrow pin holes would be difficult.

Instead, I employed paraboloid joint pairs: on either side of the band, a paraboloid pin, like the one shown in Figure 2, is mated to a shallow depression, slightly deeper than the pin. Not only would the short pin be more robust, but support material placed between it and the surrounding depression could be more easily removed.

Build Orientation

The orientation of the assembly on the build platform affects the surface finish, tolerances and the strength of walls and extrusions.

Consider the pins in each of the bracelet’s joints: On the uPrint (0.01-inch layer thickness in fine-resolution mode), a 0.07-inch long pin with a base diameter of 0.01-inches, its axis oriented perpendicular to the build platform (Fig. 3), will be composed of seven circular layers. This topography may be prone to shearing, but will turn smoothly in its socket. If the same pin axis is oriented parallel to the build platform (Fig. 4), it will have greater shear strength but lower radial smoothness.

Figure 2 – Wireframe view of a paraboloid joint in its socket.

Figure 3 (left) – Pin axis oriented perpendicular to build platform. Figure 4 (right) – Pin axis oriented perpendicular to build platform.

Comparatively, the Connex3 (16-micron layer thickness in fine-resolution mode) will produce a smooth pin in either orientation, allowing more emphasis to be put on surface finish and material efficiency. 

Both models were oriented side-down to improve surface finish, maximize support material efficiency and improve radial smoothness of pins in the joints and clasp.

3D printed sliding and interlocking parts will be surrounded by support material and it’s important to consider how difficult and time consuming the support material will be to remove. Providing adequate clearance between parts, as well as minimizing the depth of small holes and channels, will aid in the removal of support material. I kept all mating clearances above 0.02-inches to ensure no fusing would occur between parts [Figure 5].

Figure 5- This image of two clasp components shows the minimum clearance in the model: 0.02-inches.

FDM / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

uPrint SE Plus FDM 3D printer… Nine color options available in ABSplus – an engineering-grade thermoplastic. Operates at either 0.010 inch or 0.013 inch layer thickness for finer resolution or higher speed, respectively.

PROS / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

Flexible, high-strength thermoplastic is great for snap-fits (flexural modulus: 300 ksi; tensile strength: 4,700 psi). Superior hardness (109.5 HR) is ideal for repeated clasp operation and wearability.

CONS / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

At 0.01-inches, layer topography is visible and if surface smoothness is a high priority, additional finishing may be necessary.  A single pin between the band and the bracelet face became dislocated after rough handling. This was due to a combination of the high clearance creating too much play in the joint and the pins short length relative to the layer thickness. This error could be eliminated with slightly longer pins.

POLYJET / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

Objet500 Connex3 PolyJet 3D printer… Choose from hundreds digital materials, 14 base materials and up to 82 material properties in a single build.

PROS / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

High speed, high resolution and smooth matte finish. Joints function smoothly and without fail. The fold-over clasp has been operated many times and still snaps securely into place. Option to 3D print in multiple materials during a single build cycle—an ideal functionality for single-build assemblies.

CONS / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

While digital ABS matches ABSplus in terms of high tensile and flexure strength, its lower hardness (68 RHM) may be less suited to heavy use.


The uPrint created a bracelet I could try on and share with others. The joints moved smoothly and the fold-over clasp snapped in and out of place reliably. Support material was easily removed in an ultrasonic bath in less than 20 minutes. However, due to the machine’s lower resolutions, one of the joints failed due to a pin that printed too short. Aside from the joint failure, the uPrint produced a solid, durable model.

The Connex3 did an excellent job of creating a bracelet that looks and functions exactly as designed. Joints and clasp operated smoothly and the higher resolution of the Connex3 machine could allow for tighter clearances and thus tighter, smoother joints, where the assembly was designed specifically for it. However, the softer material showed light signs of wear after repeated use and I’m concerned that the fold-over clasp mechanism won’t last as long as the FDM version. Support material removal was more labor intensive, requiring careful cleaning in and around tight clearances.

The ability to 3D print assemblies with moving interlocking parts is an exciting addition to the world of manufacturing and we at Fathom can’t wait to see how you explore these new possibilities! Share your creations with us on our Facebook page.

Have a bracelet of your very own to print? Upload your file to our online quoting and ordering system for 3D printing. SmartQuote offers PolyJet, FDM and SLS technologies — just click to print!








3D printing for the newest ones. From A to Z. Kinematics.

In this article, we will understand what 3D printing is and what the kinematics of 3D printers are.

1. 3D printing. What does she taste like?

There are a lot of printing technologies, from FDM (FFF), which is used by more than 90% of printers on this portal, to SLA / DLP / LCD (with photopolymers) and SLS / SLM (powder sintering using powerful lasers)

At the initial stage, we are interested in FDM - layer-by-layer deposition of a molten rod. The picture below shows the hot end (Hot end) - that part of the 3D printer extruder where the rod is melted.

The plastic rod is fed through the Teflon tube and radiator into the thermal barrier, and through it into the heating block. It melts there and exits through the nozzle. The nozzle has a certain diameter, which is marked on it.

It is often made of brass, as the material is inexpensive and easy to process. The accuracy of printing depends on the nozzle. The smaller the nozzle, the more threads fit into one mm.

Heater and thermistor provide feedback for temperature control and regulation. That is, the voltage supply to the heater depends on what temperature the thermistor shows, and the processor compares it with the set one.

Next we see the heating block. A nozzle is screwed into it on one side, and a thermal barrier on the other.

The thermal barrier is used to minimize the heating of the plastic above the thermoblock.


Most often made of stainless steel. It has a lower thermal conductivity than conventional, unalloyed steel. To prevent the rod from melting above the thermal block, a radiator is screwed on top of the thermal barrier and blown by a cooler. Everything is quite simple.

It is very common for melted plastic to leak through threads.

This means that the nozzle has not pressed the thermal barrier in the heater block. Therefore, when disassembling and assembling the hot end, we first screw the thermal barrier into the heating block, and then press it with a nozzle. If, when you twist the nozzle, there is a gap between the end of the nozzle and the heating block, then this is normal, the gap in order to press the thermal barrier with the nozzle.

In order to feed the bar at the right time and in the right place, a feeder is needed, that is, a bar feeder.

Sometimes it is performed combined with a hot end, and then this type of extruder (this is all together a hot end + feeder) is called a direct (direct), that is, a direct feed, without tubes.

The same feeder is made separately, and the bar is fed through a fluoroplastic tube. Such a system is called bowden.

This is to lighten the moving part. As for the positive aspects and disadvantages - each design undoubtedly has them.

Direct extruder:

1. Advantages:

a) More reliable due to fewer plastic feed connections;

b) Less picky about the materials it prints on, in particular rubber-based rubber is problematic to print on bowden extruders;

2. Disadvantages:

a) Large weight, due to this, during acceleration / deceleration, small ripples can be observed on the surface of the part;

b) Dimensions. They greatly affect the plot area. Let's say, like in the picture above, a direct with 4 colors would be very huge. And for Bowden, this is just right.

Bowden extruder:

1. Advantages:

b) The coil does not twitch after the model, otherwise, when the coil turns with the direct are entangled, we will get a skip of steps, since the carriage will pull the coil along with it.

2. Disadvantages:

a) Retract settings (pulling the rod back during idle movements so that the molten plastic does not ooze out of the nozzle while expanding) is more difficult, since the rod is smaller than the inner diameter of the tube, it tends to stretch;

b) It is more difficult than on direct to select all gaps in order to print with various flexible plastics. Everyone who says that printing on Bowden is impossible with flexible plastics is blatantly lying. I am typing. And quite successfully.

Now we go directly to the mechanics and its calibration.

Part 2. Mechanics. What, how and what pulls?

There is a very limited number of kinematic schemes for which the firmware is written, and which work out movements quite tolerably.

Consider everything, from the most common:

1. Design and kinematics from Joseph Pryusha (no need to read Prus, Prasha and so on, this is the name of a person, after all).

Movement along each of the axes is provided by its own independent motor. Movement along the Z axis (up and down) is provided with the help of 2 motors and with the help of a kinematic screw-nut pair. M5 studs are often used; recently, screws with trapezoidal threads have been increasingly installed.

Here is a trapezoidal screw. How studs with metric threads look I will not apply.

The only thing I will explain about moving along the studs and trapeziums is that for the production of trapeziums they take a calibrated rod and roll it between rollers at an angle. Get helical grooves. This method, a priori, gives better quality and step accuracy than building studs of far from the highest quality.

To connect 2 motors to one axle (and 1 connector) at the same time, the following scheme is used.

Connection in series, 2 wires soldered and the rest crimped. You can ignore the colors, the main thing is that the windings ring. A and B are windings, and 1 and 2 are terminals.

Advantages of this kinematics:

1) Independent movement of each axis. It is easy to catch to understand which axis skips steps. Kinematics migrated to printers from CNC milling, so many manufacturers make desktop milling machines on it, instead of an extruder they offer to install a laser for engraving or cutting, a spindle for milling boards, an extruder for chocolate or even dough to bake pancakes.

Pictured above is a ZMorph printer. It can be used as a printer (with one or two extruders), as an engraver (Dremel machine), as an engraving laser, and so on. A small presentation video.

Milling machine with this kinematics. I note that for milling it is necessary to use a screw-nut pair to move, and not belts, they are not designed for such loads.

Chocolate and pancake printers according to your design. It is worth noting that it is not recommended to use chocolates like Alenka or Babaevsky, since they already contain cocoa butter and during processing (melting and hardening) the result is unpredictable. It is necessary to use chocolate in galettes, such as the Belgian Callebaut, as it does not contain cocoa butter, and must be added for the final filling. For this type of chocolate, each pack has a graph of its crystallization. It is desirable to take the oil in powder form. For more information, I recommend Google about tempering chocolate.

2) The kinematics are as easy as two fingers. Its very easy to assemble. Many even collect on old DVD drives.

3) Easily changed to suit your needs, the size of the extruder is also of little importance, as it protrudes forward and does not interfere with the movement of other parts. Many people put a second extruder, or make the nozzles swing so that the nozzles of one extruder do not remain on the part when printing with the second nozzle.

Therefore, for this kinematics, there are a huge number of extruder variations, for every taste, on a very famous site.

Disadvantages of this kinematics:

1) Complicated calibration. Yes, since the table 'jumps', it is difficult to print with high quality, because the part + table, with a sharp change in the direction of movement by inertia, tend to go further. Ugly print artifacts are obtained. And for high-quality printing, you need a small speed. In general, it all depends on the frame. My first printer was a Chinese pryusha. With acrylic frame.

Acrylic is not very hard. And as you know, the rigidity of the printer, like the CNC, is the most important thing. And it was possible to print more or less qualitatively at speeds of 40-50 mm / s. Then I transplanted it to a steel frame from MZTO.

And after that, without loss of print quality, I was able to print at speeds up to 100 mm / s.

2) Delamination. Due to the open case and the constantly moving platform, hot air, one might say, is constantly blown away, and by cooling the part excessively with drafts, we increase the already large shrinkage of nylons, abs and other capricious plastics. Someone sews a fur coat for a fabric printer, and someone is content with boxes.

But the goal, as always, is the same - to reduce the effect of drafts on the shrinkage of the part.

Key points for correct calibration of printers with this kinematics:

1) Place the printer on a level surface. Preferably horizontal. This requires a bubble level. Next, set the level of the position of the X axis.

2) Transfer to the home position. It is done either in the printer menu with the Home / Home command, if you are printing from a computer, then either with the G28 command in the command line, or with special buttons with the house icon.

Next, tighten the table screw so that the nozzle touches the glass. It did not press on the glass, but touched. We look at the light and twist. After that, move the extruder to another corner with the arrows in + X, + Y from the PC, or through menu

Turn the screw in the same way until it touches the nozzle. And repeat the operation for the remaining points.

I will try to save you from mistakes. In the photo of the printer above, the glass on the table is fastened with as many as 8 clamps. And it is quite possible that there will be a hump in the center. To avoid such problems, the glass should be fixed with 3 clamps. The plane is built, as is known from descriptive geometry, by 3 points. And calibration will be easier in this case. Just tighten the screw over the limit switch in Z.

For the nozzle to touch the glass in the middle of the side with 1 clamp. Then we distill the hot end into the corner where there is another clamp, tighten the table screw, and repeat the operation with another angle.

Regarding wobble.

All sorts of anti-wobble systems such as installing a bearing in the upper support do not work.

Just because putting 4 far from perfectly even cylinders in perfect parallel and in the same plane is an unrealistic task. Especially on a flimsy acrylic frame with printed details. Therefore, if we take the straightness of the shafts as a constant, and set them parallel on the frame (purely hypothetically), and release the screws (from below the coupling for attaching to the motor) and nuts for attaching the X axis. Due to their curvature, the screws will spin like a mixer, but on printing will not be affected.

Otherwise, the design will work on who will be stronger in terms of bending resistance. And it will turn out far from a flat wall. Do you need it?

2. Kinematic design of Felix printers.

There are many such printers, such ones are made by MZTO (mz3d.ru), already mentioned by Felix. In fact, the kinematics are the same as those of the Prusa. axes independent of each other. Only now the table does not travel along one axis, but along two at once. Along the Z axis, and along the Y axis.

The design of the table is something like this.

A platform rides on the Z shafts. The engine hangs at the back. The table moves along the rails with the help of a belt. The hotend moves only along one axis. The design is very funny, since the table weighs much more than the hotend, and they try to move it along 2 axes at once.

Advantages of this kinematics:

1) There is no second motor along the Z axis. There is no notorious wobble simply because there are 2 shafts and 1 propeller. The screw should also not be fixed from above. If it's not a ball screw.

Ball screw is a separate issue. If we take a high-quality ball screw, say, from the same Hiwin, then it is manufactured according to at least the 7th accuracy class (if rolled, and if polished, then the class is even higher) and must be installed in bearing supports. On the drive side there are 2 back-to-back angular contact bearings, and on the other end a radial bearing with a loose fit to compensate for thermal expansion.

The purpose of mounting a ball screw is to ensure movement accuracy. If it is installed incorrectly, money is wasted, and the accuracy will not be higher than a screw-nut pair with a trapezoidal thread. For FDM, trapezoidal accuracy is more than enough.

2) Plenty of space for a direct extruder. As in the previous kinematics, there is room for creativity, to select the one and only extruder that you like.

3) Rigid frame. It is possible to make a normal frame. Rigid, durable. Yes, even cast iron. The guys from Felix decided not to bother their heads and sculpt from an aluminum profile. MZTO went further, bent the steel sheet. And the shelf for the installation of the table was milled from a sheet of aluminum.

4) If we take the design of Felix on the profile, then by replacing a pair of pieces of the profile and the Z screw, you can increase the print area.

Just be sure to add stiffness. And it will turn out like a miracle of design thought. Big, meaningless and merciless.

Kinematic disadvantages:

1) Undoubtedly large twitching masses. The table back and forth, and if you turn on the movement along Z during idle movements (Z-hope), then there will be a disco.

2) There is no way to make him a normal heat chamber. The table moves back and forth and the temperature gradient simply blows away. Hence the problems when printing with nylons or ABS. Small drafts in the room will easily show you where the crayfish hibernate, how the material shrinks.

The calibration of the table of this printer is similar to the calibration of the Prusa table, only slightly simpler. It is easier due to the fact that you do not need to level the X-axis, it is automatically set when assembling the frame. We bring the nozzle to the table and twist the lambs.

3. Ultimaker kinematics.

One of the most common variations of Cartesian kinematics.

There are not very many such printers, but they do exist. Variation from Zortrax deserves attention. A variant of the same Raise is closer to the classics.

Zortrax has twin shafts, the reason is simple - they have a direct extruder with a full size Nema 17 motor. Raise Dual has a double direct extruder, so the classic 6 mm shafts are replaced by 8 mm. And the total weight of the 'head' is almost 900 grams.

Kinematics built entirely on shafts. They act both as guides and as pulleys. Kinematics also refers to Cartesian kinematics with independent movement along each axis by its own motor. Very picky about the straightness of the shafts. If you use curved shafts, you can get very funny artifacts on the walls of models. And they will be on all 3 coordinates. Most often it looks like a different thickness of the first layer and small waves along the walls. Therefore, all the salt and the high price of the original Ultimaker is only in high-quality components. Namely, in straight shafts. The belts are often used as ring belts, which simplifies their tensioning system, since it is important that all 4 belts are equally tensioned.

Advantages of this kinematics:

1) The table only moves along one axis. vertical. And the temperature gradient in no way suffers from this. The table is cantilever, so it is desirable to provide stiffeners or take this into account with the thickness of the table.

The metal fold on the table acts as a stiffener.

Many Chinese clones are equipped with such stiffening ribs for the table.

2) Despite the seeming complexity of the kinematic scheme, it is simple and each axis moves with its own motor.

3) The body is closed, which protects against drafts, and therefore delamination. Some put an acrylic door to heighten the effect.

Disadvantages of kinematics:

1) For good printing, it is not enough to buy a pack of even rollers. Collecting all these shafts correctly together is another task. At the same time and buy good bearings. Not that, Chinese junk, which is often sold on Ali, but normal bearings. If the bearings that are placed in the housing rotate poorly, the print will be jerky and with a shift in the layers. The consequences can be asked from Vanya (Plastmaska). Also, when buying leopard bushings, brass bearings with graphite inserts, be prepared for the fact that they will play. And if there is a backlash, the whole structure will knock.

And also, the Chinese like to push brass instead of bronze. And with even wear of brass and graphite, there will be an oily sticky black film on the shafts, which will make the movements harder. Ilya (tiger) offers good bushings. He also wrote about these difficulties.

2) All shaft parallels must be set correctly. I suggest using this device.

4 shafts that go along the walls of the body automatically stand up correctly, but it is important to set the crosspiece correctly in order to get angles 90 degrees in the XY plane.

3) The design does not provide for an increase in the printable area with a couple of profile pieces, so the size of the hotend matters. Direct is difficult to put, but you can if you want.

Calibrating the table couldn't be easier. The table is often on 3 attachment points. Move the hot end by 3 points and turn the thumbs.

4. Kinematics used by Makerbot.

Also very widespread. In particular, printers from Makerbot, BQ, BCN3D, Magnum, magnum clone Zenit and quite tolerable makerbot replicas Flashforge and Hori work on this kinematic scheme.

In this case we have independent movement of each of the axes, with a Z table and all the resulting sides.

The main drawback is that the engine hangs on one side of the rolling beam, creating a kind of imbalance. This shortcoming was compensated in a two-extruder version - BCN3D Sigma. There, each bowden head has its own engine to move along the beam. And they are installed at the edges of the beam and balance each other. For uniform movement of each of the edges of the beam, 2 shafts, pulleys and belts are used. Belts must be tensioned equally.

Advantages of kinematics:

1) Independent movement of each axis.

2) Z-moving table. The temperature gradient does not suffer from 'blowing'.

3) Enclosed housing. If not closed, then there is a quite normal chance from the point of view of aesthetics to close it.

4) Scalable kinematics possible. Various BigREPs and others with 1m print areas use exactly this kinematics, as various H-bot/CoreXYs will ring like hell due to the presence of 4-5m belts and their stretching during accelerations.

Disadvantages of kinematics:

1) Unbalanced masses on the moving beam, hence the maximum print speed, with acceptable quality no more than 60-80 mm/s. Some manage to balance them and it is not so noticeable.

2) Bulky structures on the shafts to avoid unbalance during movements.

3) Make sure that the belt tensions on the right and left are the same.

4. H-bot/CoreXY kinematics.

Next in distribution. Also Cartesian. Two motors are stationary, but move the carriage along the rails with one long piece of belt, or with two, but shorter. The math is more complicated than the previous ones, as it is necessary to synchronize the rotation of both motor rotors. That is, to move along each axis, you need to rotate both motors, and to move diagonally, only 1.


In fact, the mathematics for rotating motors is the same, but the implementation in mechanics is different. One of the biggest disadvantages of the H-bot over the CoreXY is that the belt tends to rotate the beam as it moves.

In the picture on the left, this is noticeable, the forces on the right and the forces on the left create a torque. Therefore, to implement this kinematics, the rigidity of the kinematic scheme is necessary. Most often it is implemented in rails.

With rigid beam. Some do, of course, on the shafts, but in the end - this is not a fountain.

And then they realize this and move to the rails.

For they are both easier to assemble and set up, and it is not necessary to invent carriages so that the shafts do not need to be fixed well.

CoreXY, unlike the H-bot, is driven by two belts.

And so, for ease of understanding, I will describe the positive and negative aspects of each variation of this kinematics.



1) Only one belt is needed, and the scheme provides for its operation without twisting.

2) It is more convenient to tension one belt than 2, so only one normal tensioner is needed in this scheme.

Even so.


1) The belt tends to stretch over time, and since the amount of stretching directly depends on the length, it is necessary to monitor its tension. Otherwise, you will get ugly waves on the surface before the stops.

With a loose belt tension, the carriage will have this play.

2) It is necessary to set the rollers strictly perpendicular to the XY plane, since if the roller is slightly skewed, the belt will be eaten against the roller shoulders. And we will get such a bullshit.

Tested in the skin and ZAV printer. Therefore, I always recommend that the rollers be fixed normally, and not cantilevered, in order to avoid bending the roller axis from belt tension.

3) Complicated mathematics, due to which at speeds above 100 mm/s there may be problems with the lack of resources of 8 bit boards.



1) Two short pieces of belt. They are easier to find than one long one.

2) The forces balance the beam, but do not tend to turn it, so these kinematics can also be assembled on shafts.


1) There are schemes with belt twisting and belt transition from one level to another - this is not very pleasant for a belt. Especially when one belt rubs against another. This moment is on video.


2) The difficulty of tightening the belts. They must be tensioned equally, otherwise the tension forces will tend to turn the carriage.

3) Complexity of assembly and development. It is necessary to maintain the verticality of the rollers, relative to the horizontality of the platform for installing motors and rails. A slight misalignment of the rollers will cause the belt to tend to slide down the roller, and if it rests against the shoulder of the roller, it will creak, if the shoulder is large, and if it is small, it will try to drive into it, as in the photo from the h-bot description .

The general disadvantage of kinematics is poor scalability. That is, it is very problematic to set such a kinematics for a print area larger than 300 * 300 simply because of the elongation of the belt during printing. For small printers with high print speeds - one of the best kinematics.

5. Delta kinematics.

The kinematics are based on the movements of the delta robot.

Only the hot end is installed instead of grips. It has its own set-up problems, but it can take a very long time to print. It is rare when direct extruders are installed, since the effector (a platform for installing a hot end) is often mounted on magnets and it is necessary to unload it as much as possible. But in order to reduce the length of the tube (more specifically, the effect of the length of the tube on the print quality due to the correct adjustment of the retracts (pulling the plastic rod back to reduce its leakage from the expansion)) on the print quality, the extruder is hung on the same carriages, but on separate hangers. This reduces the length of the bowden tube and increases print quality.


1) Easy to customize. To increase the height, it is enough to buy 3 pieces of a longer profile, and increase the maximum height in the settings.

2) Takes up little space. It is more often high than bulky in length and width, due to this compactness.

3) If you make a light effector (carriage on which the hot end is installed), then you can achieve high speeds without losing print quality.

4) Vertical movement is the same as XY movement. Thus, there is no sticking of linear bearings on the table crossings, as in Cartesian printers, no extra motors rolling on the beam...

5) The absence of protrusions makes it possible to close the housing and stiffen the frame.

6) The aesthetic part - it's more interesting to stick to the work of the delta.


1) Difficult mathematics of movements, it is recommended to install 32-bit boards at once.

2) Complicated setting. A common problem in tuning is to remove the so-called 'lens', because each rod rotates with a radius, and if the tuning is incorrect, your printed plane will be either a convex or concave lens.

3) It is difficult and expensive to make a rigid frame, so that it would not dangle from the constant jerking of the carriages.

4) Difficulty installing a direct extruder. It turns out to be heavy, and since many deltas are made on magnets, it will not be possible to accelerate. Although, there is one neat and easy solution - installing a ready-made direct extruder with a gearbox. Like E3D Titan Aero or Bondtech BMG.

5) Parts precision problems - any unevenness and misalignment will be visible even if they are on the same axis. And they add up along the axes.

To sum up , do you want a small printer (not larger than 300*300 mm) with nimble kinematics? Then you should go to Ultimaker or H-bot/CoreXY. Need a printer with a large printable area or 2 independent extruders? Then to Makerbot. If you print vases, hookahs and sufficiently high details - delta. For everything else, there is a classic - Prusa. Experiments with double carriages, chocolate, engravings? Yes, anything. And most importantly - cheap.

You can even screw on 4 colors.

Top 20 3D printed toys

Why 3D print toys? What toys can be 3D printed? 1. Mini monster truck 2. Surprise eggs 3. Gliders with elastic band 4. Folding sword 5. Micro catapult 6. Spinning top 7. Moving animals 8. Spirograph 9. Transformers 10. Toy tool set 11. Castle 12. Lego bricks 13 14. Edible toys 15. Anti-stress keychain 16. Chunky Trucks set 17. Sword rattles 18. Vikings Squigglepeeps 19. Math Spinner 20. Jumping Turtles Results

Today, 3D printing is developing and spreading very rapidly, gaining more and more popularity. And no wonder, because 3D printing is an invaluable tool for prototyping designs, creating mockups, fabricating parts, and more. At the same time, it is no longer difficult to buy a 3D printer at an affordable price even for home use. However, a 3D printer is not only a tool, it is also a kind of toy. A toy capable of creating other toys! Using a 3D printer to make toys gives you control over the material, color, size and other components, so the models you create with 3D printing will be unique!

But what if you don't have your own 3D printer and you need to print a toy or some part of it? It doesn't matter, in this case our 3D printing studio will help you! You only need to place an order by uploading the file of the desired finished model, after which our specialists will contact you to calculate the cost and resolve other possible issues.

Why 3D print toys?

This is probably the first question that comes to mind, and it is not surprising, because often 3D printing can cost you more than the cost of such a toy in the store. But there are also a number of advantages of 3D printing, as well as cases when it would be more profitable and appropriate to turn to creating models on a 3D printer.

  • As already mentioned, a toy printed on a 3D printer can be absolutely unique due to the ability to set exactly the shapes, sizes and colors that you and your child want.
  • Some toys can be difficult to find in the store, and their cost may exceed the cost of their printed copy.
  • Sometimes you only need to replace one or a few broken or missing parts of a toy, such as a building toy. In this case, it will be much more profitable and more expedient to use a 3d printer than to buy a whole set for a high price.
  • An important factor is, of course, the impressions of the 3d printing process itself, which will captivate both a child and an adult. And the positive emotions of your child from the toy you created will be the best reward!
  • And for those who are just getting acquainted with their printer and 3d printing in general, the process of creating toys will be an excellent, exciting simulator to improve their skills and gain experience.

Which toys can be 3D printed?

In the context of constant development and increase in the possibilities of 3D printing technology, you can create almost any toy on a 3D printer, but the result largely depends on the capabilities of your device, your abilities, as well as the time, resources and effort that you are willing to devote to this process. Therefore, more or less simple projects are most often created on a 3D printer. But the relative ease of manufacture does not mean boring finished products! Below we will give you a list of 20 interesting 3D printed toys that are not particularly difficult to create. Among these crafts you will find toys for children of all ages, including the smallest: mechanical products, motion figures, building blocks and even rattles! For each toy from the list, we leave a link to the finished model so that you can try them yourself. So let's get to know them better!

1. Mini monster truck

Two monster trucks. Source: Thingiverse

Not everyone can afford a monster truck, but if you have a 3D printer you can print yourself a mini copy of it... which is almost as cool. Thanks to the all-printed suspension and removable discs that attach easily and without the aid of glue to the body, this truck is perfect straight from the printed surface.

You can even choose from a variety of body styles and wheels. And for a two-tone tire, stop printing the wheel at 19.8 mm and replace the filament.

Model files for download can be found here.

2. Surprise eggs

Surprise! Source: Twitter

Bigger is not always better. And often the most interesting thing is just a small size, and these 3D printed eggs with a surprise are an example of this.

These tiny cars with moving wheels and other accessories are amazing! Plus, you have plenty to choose from, as you can print surprise eggs with just about anything inside, be it a fire truck or even a fighter plane!

No support required for these models. We advise you to use at least 40% infill to make sure that small elements are both beautiful and durable. Given the number of such tiny parts these machines have, be prepared that printing them can be a real challenge for you, but with good calibration and fine tuning of your machine, everything will work out in the best way!

3. Elastic Gliders

Get ready to take off! Source: Thingiverse

With 3D printed gliders, you can "pull" even more fun out of ordinary rubber band ! Just 3 simple steps, and your glider will take off: hook it with an elastic band, pull it towards you and release it.

With this model on Thingiverse, you and your friends can take to the skies a whole fleet of these rubber band gliders!

100% infill and a layer height of 0.1 mm are recommended for greater aircraft strength and longer life for thin wings.

4. Folding sword

Telescopic pirate sword. Source: Thingiverse

This toy may not be best given to a child when there are breakable items nearby. But in the right environment, telescopic swords will bring tons of fun and enjoyment to kids! From the designer of this folding pirate sword, you can also find models of telescopic katana, daggers and even lightsabers!

This Telescopic Pirate Sword is designed for printing at low speed using a 0.4mm nozzle. Also, successful printing requires a printer with a good retract and precise settings for Coast (turning off extrusion at the end of the layer print) and Wipe (“wiping” the nozzle at the end of the layer).

5. Micro Catapult

Hit all your enemies (or at least your deskmates). Source: Thingiverse

This little catapult is a great toy for kids and bored office workers alike. She can throw small crumpled pieces of paper and any other small things that will fit in her. Selected ammunition can fly about 2 meters, which is enough to hit unsuspecting victims at another table!

This model is an all-printed prefabricated assembly that does not require any supports or special adjustments. A minimum filling and layer height of 0.25 mm is sufficient.

Despite the fact that many catapults are made from PLA plastic, the author of the design still insists that this model is not designed for PLA, but for ABS plastic. We can also recommend PETG filament for this printing, which has the best qualities of PLA and ABS.

6. Top

The oldest toy for the whole family. Source: Thingiverse

As far as we know, the spinning top is one of the oldest toys in the world. In ancient times, tops were made from almost any material: from stone and wood to fruits and nuts. And now additive technologies allow you to make your own spinning top using a 3D printer! All you have to do is print this model, glue the pieces together and have fun with this simple yet fun toy!

Offered 0.2 mm layer height and 20% infill.

7. Moveable animals

Cute articulated octopuses. Source: Thingiverse

Making flexible prints on a 3D printer has become completely affordable and common practice thanks to special filaments such as TPU. But what if we said that you don't have to use flexible plastics to create flex parts?

Using excellent hinges that are printed in one piece with the whole model, you can create movable flexing toys even from plastics such as PLA, ABS and PETG, without any additional settings and adjustments.

The standard specifies a layer height of 0.2 mm and an infill of at least 15%.

Most popular models:

  • Octopus
  • T-Rex
  • Lizard

8. Spirograph

Convenient case for creativity at any time. Source: Thingiverse

Everyone knows the children's toy spirograph, which allows you to easily draw masterpieces with repeating geometric patterns. But this model has gone a little further and is a whole case containing a platform for drawing and a compartment for storing gears and paper. It fits easily into your pocket, backpack and bag, so you can take it with you and paint whenever you want!

The case has several levels. The lower level holds slips of paper for notes, drawing gears and, if desired, a small pencil or pen, if, of course, you can find one. The next level provides a secure, flat drawing surface so you can make art while walking! The top level has fixed gear teeth and holds the piece of paper in place.

A layer height of 0.2 mm and an infill of 20% or more is recommended. As a loop, a regular straightened 1.75 mm filament thread is used.

9. Transformers

Toys from the planet Cybertron. Source: Thingiverse

Transformers are still a hugely popular children's toy, so these Optimus Prime and Megatron are sure to please your kids.

This printed Optimus Prime transforms from a classic Optimus truck into a fully functional standing robot. And it's amazing, considering that you immediately get a ready-to-use all-printed model right from the printing platform, which does not even require supports!

But, of course, every Optimus needs an opponent to fight. Therefore, you can also print Megatron, but it should be noted that his model is more difficult to print and consists of two parts.

10. Set of toy tools

The first tools for little craftsmen. Source: Thingiverse

The Toy Tool Set is a great way to introduce kids to basic tools, their look, purpose, and how they work. Print your child's first hammer, screwdriver and pliers and he'll feel like a real craftsman!

The hammer is modeled to fit two pieces together with a screw, but some users simply glue them together, which is just as pretty. You can also use a hammer to assemble pliers: just lay the two pieces on a flat surface with the screw down and tap lightly a couple of times.

Model can be found here.

11. Castle

Build your own medieval world! Source: Thingiverse

This medieval castle playset is meticulously designed for 3D printing. Walls and towers are easily attached to each other with a simple connection. You can make as many details as you want to create a large or small original castle layout of your own! The set contains walls, towers, houses, characters, animals and a variety of props to add to the fun of this medieval set.

All parts are small enough to be printed comfortably even on 3D printers with a small print area: 140x140x140mm. For such purposes, the Flashforge Creator Pro 2 3D printer is perfect, equipped with two independent extruders and has excellent printing accuracy. This printer will cope with the study of small details, and two extruders will help you print several parts at once or one part in two colors!

12. Lego bricks

Favorite construction set is now more accessible! Source: Pinterest

LEGO is one of the most popular toys for children. At the same time, the cubes of this designer are made of ordinary ABS plastic. So, having your own 3D printer, you can print the missing/lost Lego bricks yourself or even some of your author's design of the details of this amazing designer! At the same time, you can use not only ABS, but also other 3D plastics: PLA and PETG are also great.

Thingiverse has a lot of Lego models, and we'll take a look at one of them. It's is a customizable model of with several different LEGO and LEGO DUPLO pieces. These bricks are not completely identical to real Lego, but they are compatible in every way.

13. Ballista

Fire! Source: Thingiverse

Introducing a fully printed ballista model, ready to use right out of the box. One has only to set the string and load the projectile, and this ballista will impress you with its simplicity and good range of the arrow. As a bowstring, you can use several layers of thread or ordinary stationery gum.

Recommended to print in PLA or PETG with 90% coverage and 0.2mm layer height.

14. Edible toys

The Open Toys project turns ordinary vegetables into toys. Source: Thingiverse

The project was originally envisioned as a way to turn commonly discarded residual materials such as wood and cork into toys: helicopters, planes, cars and so on. But soon, wood and cork were replaced by more accessible and easily pierced materials: fruits and vegetables. With this project, you can turn ordinary food items into fun personalized toys.

15. Anti-stress keychain

Entertaining keychain. Source: Thingiverse

Add some flair to your keychain with this cool little toy. She will entertain you wherever you are!

This model is not the easiest, but try it and you will definitely succeed! Important print quality settings are "Outer Walls Before Inner Walls" and being extra careful with temperature. It is printed with supports and requires a certain, sometimes lengthy, post-processing. Remove not only supports, but also make sure that the surface of the part is smooth, otherwise it will cling and stutter. A scalpel or a 1 mm drill will do. Periodically rotate the gears to see where it still sticks, which is especially true when using PLA.

16. Chunky Trucks set

Two models from the fun and cute Chunky Trucks set. Source: Thingiverse

The adorable Chunky Trucks collection includes various unique models of small trucks, fun builders and even a movable barrier. The cars are specially designed so that even the smallest children can play with them. Unlike builders, who are not recommended to be printed for toddlers so that they do not try to put them in their mouths, but which will greatly amuse older children.

All models can be printed without supports. And for long truck life, at least 25% infill and three-wall use are recommended.

17. Rattleswords

Arm your warrior! Source: Thingiverse

Rattles are an integral part of all babies. But what if we move away from banal and boring designs and build a rattle in the form of a sword for your little warrior? This fun design will not only amuse your baby, but also you, as this rattle will be a lot of fun to print!

All corners of the model are rounded for safety. There are also two versions of the tip. Initially, a gem was attached to the tip, but after some concern that the stone could slip off the tip and be swallowed by a child, a second version was created that did not include a gem.

Print two sets of dots first. Then, while printing the sword, throw them inside the blade. This will ensure that the peas stay inside the rattle forever. After printing all the elements, simply fasten them with superglue.

As with any printed toy, parental guidance is required. Be sure to throw away the toy if it breaks.

18. Viking Squigglepeeps

Three Viking Squigglepeeps set sail. Source: Thingiverse

Squigglepeeps is another kid-safe toy, this time with absolutely no glue required. These fun chubby Vikings and their boat are too big to choke on, making them suitable for kids of all ages. They look funny even in one color, but they will be even more beautiful if you paint them with child-safe paints! The model also absolutely does not require supports.

19. Math Spinner

A great way to have fun learning math! Source: 3Dtoday

This math spinner is the perfect companion for learning math. Moreover, it is suitable for all ages, because it is never too late to brush up on your arithmetic knowledge! You can print this finished model or modify it for yourself by removing or adding rings. This advanced design contains all the signs of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, equality and inequality, as well as a pointer to the string to be solved! On the central insert there are special grooves for fixing. For this version, you will need to print 2 caps and 8 rings of numbers, the rest of the details are printed in a single copy.

Recommended coverage 25% and layer height 0.2 mm.

20. Jumping turtles

The variety of these turtles is amazing! Source: Thingiverse

Last but not least, jumping turtles! Agree, even the name sounds fun! And a variety of shell designs will give each turtle its own uniqueness. This model uses the same flex concept as the Mini Monster Truck above, making the Turtles bounce when you tap on the body. Also in this turtle, the head can be drawn into the shell.

The model is assembled with printed H-clamps and requires no glue. All parts are printed without supports. Also note that using the raft (rafts) and brim (margins) options can have a negative effect on the results if you don't then take the time to sand and clean the edges at the base.

If you have problems with head slip, you can try to print 1 of 3 narrower shaft head files that the author uploaded specifically for this case.


We hope you enjoyed this selection of toys for 3D printing, and you will definitely choose some option for yourself, because 3D printing of toys is not only fun and interesting, it is also a new experience and knowledge for both you and and for the child. But we have considered only some entertaining options from the many existing ones. And, of course, you can create your own unique designs and implement them on your 3D printer or contact our 3D printing studio for this.

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