3D Print Animated Beings!

By on January 20th, 2012 in Design


It’s fun printing 3D objects with a 3D printer, but typically the problem is they are fixed, unmoving static objects that sit patiently on your desk. What if you could print objects that literally come alive and move around? What if you printed tiny beings that could walk? 
Sounds ridiculous, we know. But it’s almost true. Just watch the video above and you’ll be blown away by what’s been made. 
What is it, exactly? It’s a 3D physical Zoetrope, a device invented almost two centuries ago that, according to Wikipedia, “produces an illusion of action from a rapid succession of static pictures”. Light is flashed on pictures in sequence and your eye (and brain) transforms these still images into motion. 
The 3D printed Zoetrope does exactly the same thing, except that instead of flat 2D images being illuminated we have have 3D objects illuminated. And your eye changes strobed views of the objects into motion, just like a 2D Zoetrope would do. The results are beyond stunning. It’s as if those little fellows are alive. 
How can you see this yourself? Simply go to Shapeways and purchase the 3D printed Zoetrope wheel (currently priced at USD$65.19) and then spin it with a strobe light that flashes in sync with the rotation as pictured above. Then you’ll see the magic. 

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!