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Design of the Week: Halloween Spider Tensegrity Ornament

Amazing Halloween tensegrity 3D print [Source: Natalie Cheesmond / PrusaPrinters]

This week’s selection is the Halloween Spider Tensegrity Ornament by Natalie Cheesmond, a.k.a. 3DPrintBunny.

It’s nearing that time of year when costumes are prepared, spooky displays are constructed and pumpkin spice is in the air. Yes, Halloween 2021 is coming.

In the intervening days you certainly have time to 3D print and build more spooky items, and one that you might consider is 3DPrintBunny’s amazing Halloween Spider Tensegrity Ornament.

Hold on, what’s a “Tensegrity”? It’s a special arrangement of leveraged tensioned cables to form a solid structure. At first glance, a tensegrity may appear “impossible”, as it is unclear how the parts may be floating in the air. However, it’s really because the cables are tensioned in a way that support each other.

Cheesmond has created a unique display that adds to the spookiness with the tensegrity.

The display has three spiders apparently crawling in mid-air away from a web.

Unlike most tensegrity structures, Cheesmond has actually included the cabling in the 3D model itself. In this image you can see six thin strands connecting the spiders to the web. Cheesmond advises:

“When printing use the 0.3mm layer height and make sure ‘detect thin walls’ is checked. When sliced you should be able to see the single strands of filament and there should be no empty layers.”

Thin strands implement the tension in this 3D model [Source: Fabbaloo]

The result is quite astonishing, as you can see in this short video demonstrating the tensegrity:

Like all models on the PrusaPrinters site, you are free to download and attempt to 3D print this item. It’s relatively straightforward to 3D print, as it is a single part and can be completed in one job — and of course, Cheesmond designed it to fit perfectly on a Prusa print plate.

Halloween tensegrity 3D print fits on a full build plate [Source: Natalie Cheesmond / PrusaPrinters]

You’ll also need to swap colors as the print proceeds. This can be done manually by pausing the print at the appropriate moment and changing filament, or inserting pauses into the print using your slicing software. Orange and black are mandatory here, obviously.

Cheesmond entered this design into PrusaPrinters’ Flash Halloween Contest, which ends on the 26th. There are many fascinating entries into this contest, but I’m siding with the tensegrity here.

Via PrusaPrinters and Patreon

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