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Articulated Butterfly

by 8ran Mar 1, 2018
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Love the story, and well done, it's beautiful! I am printing one now. Give your daughter an extra big hug from all of us.

Hey man, I love your model as well my kids, but the little one wanted in multicolor and i don't have multicolor printer, could you please upload stl fil of the 2nd photo, so i can print it with support in different colors. Thanks

This was my first attempt at printing anything on the 3D printer. I thank you for the design, since I am learning I was curious to see how it would print and be able to move. It was a lot of fun sharing this with my daughter.

Excellent! I'm glad it was a good print. My favorites are prints that move, but don't require assembly ;)

Me too, thanks

Great work! Enjoyed printing this out on my Tevo Tarantula. Will post the finished version soon.

Thanks for the awesome model. very cool.

Had no problems printing it.


Articulated Butterfly
by chexone

Printed at 60% scale, works great, thanks a bunch!

I'm glad it worked at a smaller scale! :D

I'm glad it worked at a smaller scale! :D

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This looks awesome. Printing now. Already done the slug :O)

Awesome, how did it turn out?

Just made one for my daughter she loves it! Thanks and great job!

My coworker made one of these for my daughter from wood fill. She LOVES it. Thanks for the excellent and creative design!

That's so awesome to hear - you're very welcome :D I'm glad she likes it!

Damn... thanks for letting me know! Have to figure out how to make an intellectual property claim with eBay. Grr...

I think you should change the license to non commercial. Because as it is, he can sell your design as long as he attributes you.

Hey 8ran how can I go about private messaging you about a piece I would like your help making..


Thanks for sharing. Very creative.I printed several, even at different sizes. My daughter asked me to print a few more for the girls at work. The last batch I scaled down to about 60%. BTW, everything printed (at all sizes) perfectly. Took them off the bed after they cooled and every single one bent or flexed easily. I use a few CAD and modeling programs myself and enjoyed seeing 'how' it was constructed. I printed something similar about a year ago that someone else designed (a fish). What tolerance did you use for the pin and hole clearance?

Oh, BTW there's an open source program called Inkscape. It's a quality vector graphics program and runs on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows desktop computers. Just thought I'd mention that.

Also, were these drawn and saved in inch or mm units?


Wow, I'm amazed you got them to print so small! Very cool. So the pin is 2mm in diameter, going through a 3mm hole. This seemed like the smallest I wanted to go and still have it kid-resistant ;) Thanks for the tip on Inkscape!


... what were the 'units' you used, Imperial or mm?

Printer as per original setting.. Came out perfect

I want to share with you the image, but seems this +add file is not activated by my phone.

Kaviman2008@yahoo.com you drop me an email so I can share with you.

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I'm struggling to print this. I saw that it said no raft, but when I did that, I got a mangled hunk of plastic. What specific settings do I need to change or adjust? I have a Makerbot Replicator +.

I guess there's no harm in using a raft - it's the brim you definitely want to avoid. You'll be cutting off bits for ever ;) What are your first layer settings like? I print with PLA on a BuildTak-like bed (https://www.buildtak.com/) that came with my Qidi Tech printer. I print the first layer at around 0.300 layer height at 215C with a bed temp of 60C at a speed around 20mm/sec. That's pretty slow and hot. The remaining layers I print at 0.200 layer height, 205C, with a bed temp of 40C at a speed of 50mm/s. Not sure what your setup is like, but try slow and hot for that first layer. Or use a raft (I have no experience using rafts so I casually clicked "not required", but maybe it doesn't matter?).


Printed two so far and they printed perfect using S3D and my MK2.

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Love it, printed perfectly everyone wants one now

I'm going to try to print this. The butterfly looks stunning

this model is awesome. got the second one printing now. any possibility you might be able to do this with a dragonfly?

8ran. Thank you for sharing! Here is what I replied with to a printer on instagram

CommentseigelThank you for sharing. @code10100 Would I be able to get your permission to use some of your design to help raise money for the @braintumourfdn ? @rigid.ink has helped me out in the past with plastic and together we’ve raised quite a bit of money to help #endbraintumours Let me know. Thanks!

May I have you and you child’s blessing to help people with brain tumours?

Thanks !

Made one today, it was great! Thanks for sharing.

Kids, don't use rafts on this print XD I just spent 45 minutes getting rid of the excess plastic.

Oh no, bummer! XD

Awesome! Great colors too :)

I printed it at 60% scale the parts refused to move i guess it was an issue with scaling with reduced the gap need to try again

Hi, by daughter already "killed" two of them. Problem with the first to body hinge - it's two small and light for the full lever of the wing.
It will be excellent if someone could remix it with a bit less flexibility, but more durable hinges.

Thanks for sharing! I love this file :-) it's great because it demonstrated for my students the possibilities of what might be through additive manufacturing processes like 3D printing.

Excellent! Glad it can be useful!

I just made one on my CR10S using PLA. I am amazed on two counts, first a single print with interlocking pieces, never printed something out like that, just didn't realize that was possible and worked so well. My wife loves it because it is a butterfly and is pretty and I love it as an engineer for the CAD work.

Second count why I am amazed you did it in Tinkercad which I use. I didn't realize you could that in Tinker.

I would love to see an quick YouTube to see the steps you went through.


Giving it to my daughter-in-law on Saturday for a gift.


Hi Doug! Thank you very much for the compliments :) Here's a link to the model on TinkerCAD so you can see how it's made: https://www.tinkercad.com/things/28I51bE6Ilg

It's my first attempt at modeling something with so many pieces, so it's probably not optimized or made the way someone more savvy would do it. If you keep un-grouping the main body section, you can see the pieces that make up the hinges (mostly "holes" in the original shape).

To get your initial shape into TinkerCAD, you can draw what is essentially a silhouette (black and white) in a drawing app (I use Photoshop because we have it work), then upload it to a site like https://image.online-convert.com/convert-to-svg to convert it to a scalable vector graphic. You can then import this .svg file into TinkerCAD. Then just give your flat shape some height and start carving it up!

Happy printing,

Sorry if this has been asked, but I can't seem to figure out how to search comments when they only load a few at a time! Has anyone tried/can you wire it somehow to hold a shape/pose?

I love that idea! I could alter the model to have a small hole going through each piece so you could run a piece of wire through it. Like a gentle arc passing just under the hinges. Looks like most hobby wire is between 18 and 20 gauge (.8mm and 1mm) - about the thickness of a paper clip, or a little thicker. I'll try a hole that's 1.2mm or 1.4mm.

Thank you! I'm not very talented with the CAD software yet, and I've never been much of an artist, so I wasn't sure what would be a good way to do it.

So the smallest diameter tube that TinkerCAD would let me create at this size is about 2mm in diameter. Should comfortably accommodate a 14 gauge copper wire (which is 1.6 mm). I'll see about posting a remix in the next day or so, but for now here's an STL file to try :D

You should be able to use a cylinder, change it to a hole, and then you can resize it to smaller than 2mm if needed. Just have the cylinder stretch the width of the item.

Great design by the way!

I love this how you can move it instead of you getting bored with it and just let it sit somewhere but I also like how it keeps you thinking you could use this as a fidget toy you know like they have fidget spinners this is the new fidget spinner!

I think you're right, I keep a few flexi toys on my desk at work and end up fidgeting with them whenever I'm on the phone!

my daughter loved it .. thank you so much!!

I also printed this.. would love a "thinner" version, so that may be about half the actual height ... Anyone did that remix ?

Congratulations on being a GREAT DAD!! And for this beautiful design! Cheers mate!

Thanks! :D

This made the rounds at this Midwest RepRap Festival 2018 (MRRF2018). Everyone loved it. Very nice design and easy to print.

That's awesome to hear! I never realized there were 3D printing conferences/festivals. I bet it was a hoot ;)

MRRF is the biggest 3D printing festival in the world (claimed) and companies like E3D, Prusa, Matterhackers, OpenBuilds, Duet3D, Google Science and YouTube personalities like Joel Telling and Ben Heck attended this year along with thousands of enthusiasts with their own printers. We all just hang out, printing things and discussing ideas, etc. It's only about 3 hours away from you in Goshen, IN. Usually happens around the 3rd or 4th weekend in March.

That looks absolutely amazing. I suddenly have life goals ;)

This looks soooooo cool but I have not yet had the chance to print it but it is for sure the next thing that I will Print!
I have one quick question though: I am just beginning to learn how to design objects on Tinkercad, but I was wondering how did you design this print? Like how did you create the shape of the butterfly and make it able to move? Or what tools or things like that did you use.
Also I have the MonoPrice Mini 3D printer, so I can still print the Articulated Butterfly on my? Correct? Lately would it be ok to print this with a raft?
Thank you so much (sorry for the overload of questions), and once again this is one of the coolest prints I have ever seen!

Hi There! Here's a link to the model on TinkerCAD so you can see how it's made: https://www.tinkercad.com/things/28I51bE6Ilg If you keep un-grouping the main body section, you can see the pieces that make up the hinges (mostly "holes" in the original shape).

To get your initial shape into TinkerCAD, you can draw what is essentially a silhouette (black and white) in a drawing app (I use Photoshop because we have it work), then upload it to a site like https://image.online-convert.com/convert-to-svg to convert it to a scalable vector graphic. You can then import this .svg file into TinkerCAD. Then just give your flat shape some height and start carving it up!

I wouldn't bother with a raft (and definitely don't use a brim!), just print straight on your build surface. There's plenty of contact with the base so it should stick nicely all by itself. If the shape is too big to fit on your printer, rotate it 45 degrees in your slicer and it should fit. Good luck and happy printing/designing!

Thank you for sharing the tinker - my son and I are going to work on a new animal

Very good design like it a lot

This is great! Thanks for the design, printed out great!

That turned out great!

Thanks, the right side is a bit stiff, not as flexible as the left. I think that's from me not properly leveling the bed. The grandson loves it!

This is awesome. I made it for my daughter and she hasn't put it down. I wanna make a multicolor one if you could share the tinkercad file that would be awesome. Jjwsnider@gmail.com

No problem, here's a link: https://www.tinkercad.com/things/28I51bE6Ilg

It's my first attempt at modelling something with so many pieces, so it's probably not optimized or made the way someone more savvy would do it. Just keep un-grouping the main body and all the solids and holes will come apart. Have fun ;)

I'll make sure to post a pic of it here as well.

Tell your daughter I am going to print several, and have people paint them!

Too fun! I will!

Printed three already for my daughter and her friends. Excellent design.

This has been an awesome share. So happy for you and your daughter!
I printed one and it was nearly flawless. Thanks for uploading your file

You're welcome - thanks for the encouragement!

Amazing! What design tool did you use?

Thanks! I used Tinkercad: https://www.tinkercad.com/things/28I51bE6Ilg

It’s so tedious, I might as well learn a real 3D program ;)

Great design. Relatively easy print to do.

Just what my daughter wanted! Thanks :)

Printed perfectly, very nice, Thanks!!

An elegant design. Easy to print and endlessly mesmerizing!

This SLT should be included in the SD card that every printer manufacturer sends out.

That's a high compliment - thank you! My wife says it has a "bewitching" feel to it. It's hard to stop fiddling with it :)

Мой младший сын увидел и замахал своими ручками с диким восторгом, ткнул пальцем в экран с криком: - ПАПА!, что в переводе означает: - Папочка, мне очень понравилась эта модель и я был бы премного благодарен, если ты ее незамедлительно возьмешь в работу. срок тебе до полуночи, иначе.... на горшок не пойду и уплывешь" :)
вот что и как получилось:
Теперь внукам ещё по штучке напечатать.

Articulated Butterfly
by BigDad

Ты хороший папа! Спасибо, что поделились :)

Great design, the joints work great. Unfortunately the printer froze at the very end and stopped in the print. Just made a melted blemish, but still looks and works great. I work in a maker space at a military post-graduate school and I'm looking for things to print as examples of all the different possibilities with 3D printing.

Other than getting scorched it looks great! I think the most mind-blowing print I've seen is the print in place iris box. I couldn't ever get it to print without fusing, but just the fact that it's possible is amazing: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1817180

Print-In-Place Iris Box (remix)
by LoboCNC

Awesome design! I'm a sucker for anything articulated.

I'm with you, they're so fascinating :D

Nice work.
Thanks for sharing.

Thanks! All this positive feedback is very motivating to keep learning about 3D modeling :D

Great design, especially for a first attempt. And featured too. Well deserved.
Just trying to decide what colour to print it with, will post of course.
I bet your little lady is real proud of daddy.

Thanks for the kind words! She is, indeed, super excited that we're "internet famous" ;) Can't wait to see your make.

Here's how they turned out, in a word ... Awesome.
Details will be in my make.
Hope you both approve

That two color print is amazing! She's going to love seeing that... and probably start begging for a dual extrusion printer ;)

Thank you. We do tend to give the kids all we can eh.
Looking forward to your future designs, I'm sure little one will be doing her own before too long.

"internet famous"...made me smile to read that. Awesome!!!!

Super cool design! Nice work :)

Congrats on the feature!
Printed and painted one a few days ago as a present for a friend. She absolutely loved it, thanks :)

Thanks! I'm glad your friend likes it :D

Fun printing this, although I broke a joint finding out how much they would bend! lol. Now glued on that 1 joint.

Thanks for creating this.

Thanks, Steamydave! Delicate like the real thing, I guess ;) I love what you did with the layer colors. I have yet to try swapping filament mid-print. Have to work up the nerve (and read about how to do it). Thanks for sharing your pic!

Hi 8ran,
This is how I change colours. Obviously try in on a small test job first to get the hang of it...

  1. Pause the printer! I don't know if all printers can pause, but mine can and the print head draws away from the job
  2. Manually hold down the tensioning lever to release the grip on the filament, and pull out the old colour
  3. Holding down the lever again, insert the new colour into the head. The key to it is to push the new filament right down into the hot part of the head. Not just to the drive gear, but beyond. You will feel the filament meet the soft melted old filament that is left in the hot end.
  4. Still with the lever held down, continue gently pushing and you will start to see the old material coming out. That way you know you have a continuous flow of material. if you like you can keep gently pushing until the new colour comes out. Take your time here as your new filament has to melt as it goes through.
  5. Clean away the waste material from the head so as not to drag it into the job.
  6. Let go of the grip leaver.
  7. Leave it 10 seconds or more for your new colour to get nice and melted in the head.
  8. Press the resume button and the printer continues where it left off.

The most important thing there was to get the filament in past the drive mechanism and into the hot end. This can be tricky if the filament has a curve in it from the reel. Try and straighten it before inserting. This can be tricky - and frustrating. Any gap in between the 2 colours can (and has) meant that a layer of "air" is printed, and then the next layer doesn't stick.
I'm no expert, but found this works on my printer.

I just tried it and it worked like a charm! This just opened up a huge door for me. Thanks for your help and encouragement!

I'm glad it worked for you. I think the key is getting the new material into the hot end so there is no break in the flow.
I printed an item in red, white and blue! Someone said it was ok, but would be better in a Union Jack pattern! Lol. I had to explain it could only be in horizontal stripes. 3D printing is a mind blowing concept still for most people.

Ha, that would be quite a trick!

Here's my first attempt - it worked like a charm. I can't believe I waited so long to try this!

That looks cool. Here is my red, white and blue piggy bank! (when I say "my" I mean the one I printed, not designed I'm afraid)!

Thanks for writing this up - wow. This sounds very do-able. Somehow I was thinking there was some mystic voodoo involved. This would be great to try on some easter egg designs. I know exactly what you mean about teasing the filament past the drive mechanism and into the hot end. When I change filaments, I push the lever down and try to guide the filament through the drive mechanism. More often than not I end up poking it around for a while before it finds it's way through a squishes down into the hot end. I'm very encouraged that it's this simple, thanks again for the step-by-step!

awesome model. made one for my niece and she loves it.

Great design, congrats, well deserved spot on featured list

Thank you for the kind words! I'm honored to be featured!

I am printing a lot of these (they are fun) but they take too long and use too much plastic. (see my make)

so I print at 124% squished to 8mm then I drop it 2mm into the bed and print to 4.5mm

that is the thinnest I could go without compromising the chain links. works very nicely.

would you be willing to mod it a bit? "tight up" the tolerances a bit between the segments? its a wee "loose" print this way (works fine but is a bit too flexible so it does not have quite the same sem rigid flexi "flow and drape" that the stock size does.

I also want to print a simply massive one but it will be very floppy if not "tightend up" a bit.

Can you post this file as a remix? I had an issue with the original print. I scaled it down and it's so thick that the wings are too close together and won't articulate as much and the pins holding them together break. I'd love to have this thinner (less filament) with stronger pins, like the flexi fish, if you've ever printed that one. Thanks!

I don't know how to do that I will try to figure it out and post it as a remix for now here is how I did it I did it in the slicer first I increase the size of the butterfly to 124% then I disconnected the linking between X Y and Z so that I can change the thickness without changing the X & Y I reduced it to 8 millimeters I then did a z offset of 2 mm into the print bed and then I told the slicer to only slice it to 4.5 mm basically taking 2 millimeters off the top I then did three three three three parameters three top three bottom 10%. Not both ways infill and that's how I did it if I can figure out how to do the remix I will post that although I like the thicker one better it drives better so I am working on slicing the thicker one to use less filament but retained a thicker profile I will post my results

Very clever printing - I love all the colors! I don't have time to tweak the design right now, but you're more than welcome to hack on it and post a remix. It was my first print-in-place design in Tinkercad, so it's not exactly... optimized ;) I'm learning!


Thank you for even sharing the "source file". Just did a copy of it to analyze how you "hacked" this in Tinkercad. Awesome man!

Made one, several actually! Great work!

It worked perfectly and my wife loves it. Thanks a lot for the good job!

It is awesome!!! Thank you for sharing.

My wife loves butterflies then I will give it a shot!

Thanks for sharing us!

You're welcome - I hope she likes it!

Nicely built! If you are up for a remix, I'd recommend sculpting the model so all the edges are rounded, and perhaps even thin out the trailing edges of the wings. Just for fun

Oh man, I'd love that! I need to learn more about modeling. And get some proper software ;)

I mean, Autodesk's Fusion 360 is free and really powerful (considering it's free). It's not terribly complicated, it just takes a bit to learn.