Sunday, August 5, 2012

Back to Moving Forward

I had fun doing the ring designs.
I have quite a few models stocked up but nothing worth sharing at this time. Maybe later this week, but not today.  If you have no idea what i'm talking about, I'm talking about 3D printed objects. If you can design it, they can print it in 3D at There's some limitations of course, but you get the idea.
Something else has moved to the front of my priority list. That item, is the fact that I would like to get a few samples ordered from Shapeways soon. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Pictures are something that my shapeways store is lacking. I need to show some actual finished products on there.
So, if I'm going to be placing an order. It seems like a good idea to wrap up one of my moving part projects so that I can get a prototype of one of those as well (save some $$ on shipping I hope).
Since I'm going back to one of my moving parts projects. I'll share it with you.

I wanted to make a dragonfly that flapped its wings. Seems simple enough, Right?

Here's a screenshot of the miniature as it stood this morning.
I didn't completely plan out the linkages that will move the wings yet.

I know that doesn't tell you much. So, Here's a screenshot that shows the internals of the base.
Two gears, with 8:1 gear ratio. The idea was that 1/4 turn of the main gear would give the dragonfly wings a good flapping or two. 

But, it's proving more complicated to model than I initially thought. I should really have planned out the linkages.But, that's what I get for jumping in head first. So, after half a days work, i find myself with what looks like a finished product.. But, doesn't function like one.

The wings will flap. But, not as I had intended them to.
So, it's back to the drawing board. This time I will plan the linkages first.
I believe some bevel gears are in the future of this project.

I also had the idea of making a small vehicle that ran off a wound up rubber band.
That seemed like it might be fun, and much easier to model. But, where's the fun in that?
You won't learn anything taking the easy way out. We only learn from our mistakes.
So, the lesson here... Plan your linkages!

When I have the final product ready i will share it.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Looks nice! At what kind of scale and material are you planning to have it printed? Love your Decor Ring by the way!

  2. Thanks! it was quite simple to make. I was surprised how fast it popped out. The dragonfly though, is not to any particular scale. So, I suppose that it is technically not a "minature". But it's very very very small. approximately 2" in diameter. I plan to have it printed in the white strong and flexible (nylon) material. I believe that's the only material that shapeways will print using a multi-part STL file with the intention of it having moving parts. I didn't break any of the design guidelines, but it just seems so small to print. especially with moving parts.
    Also, I stumbled across some pretty fun new software. You may have heard about it already since it is owned by the same people that made zbrush. I'll be spotlighting in a post on here soon. I'm trying some import/export with it now to see if it's compatible with inventor. Stay tuned! :D

  3. Wow, that's small indeed. Very cool. I tried to use the Scuptris software since you made it sound so easy (I had heard about it before but had it filed under 'I don't have the time to learn that'), but turns out it's not running on Linux. However, Blender fortunately also has a sculpting mode :).

  4. Ah yes, unfortunately it does not run on Linux. I saw that some people were able to run it using WINE but there were a number of bugs. I updated the post to mention that it's mac & windows only. Thank you for pointing that out. I keep hearing so many good thing about blender. I may have to take it out of my "no time to learn now" file. Wish me luck! :D