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Movable Figure

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3D model description

This is a movable figure, with eight joints that swivel 360 degrees. The model comprises nine pieces that snap together in about a minute.

This model arose from a basic experiment with snap-fit connectors. I found a tutorial of a cantilever snap-fit, experimented with it a bit as a one-dimensional axis, and then extrapolated it radially so that the connection can pivot.

I printed a single pivot connection, and was so pleased with the result that I made this little figure... which turned out a lot better than I expected!

The model in the picture was printed with a FlashForge Creator Pro, using (generic, packed-in) ABS filament extruded at 220C onto a 110C bed. I designed it with TinkerCad, sliced it with Simplify3D, and printed it via OctoPrint. I included a raft (totally not necessary) and some very small supports (probably not necessary, and kind of a pain to dig out of the connection points). Mild post-processing - just removing supports and trimming away excess bits of filament.

Feel free to use the snap-fit connector in your own projects. A few notes about the model, and the snap-fit connection in particular:

1) Many types of snap-fit connectors are designed to be reversible, with a release mechanism. This kind isn't. If you try to pull the shaft out of the housing after it connects, the shaft is almost guaranteed to break.

2) A normal snap-fit connection works by allowing the outer portion to flex outward during insertion. With a radial connection like this, the outer portion can't flex if it is a solid disc. Instead, I split the outer portion with a longitudinal seam that can flex outward during insertion, and then snap back together when it's fully inserted.

3) When the connector is fully inserted, the end of the shaft protrudes a bit through the bottom of the connection. As a result, the figure doesn't actually lay flat in this case; it rests on eight nubs protruding through the bottom. It's not a problem for this model (actually, the eight points balance the mass of the figure well, and add to the freedom of movement) - but if you adapt this connector type for another project, you might want or need to extrude the bottom portion of the connector housing by a millimeter or two, so that the bottom of the housing is coplanar with the end of the shaft.

3D printing settings


3D printer file information

  • 3D design format: STL Folder details Close
    • movable_man.stl
  • 3D model size: X 57 × Y 75 × Z 12 mm
  • Publication date: 2021/07/28 at 01:08





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