Picture of 3D Printed Theo Jansen Strandbeest
Being convinced that 3D printing will eventually lead to an industrial revolution, I've tried to stay up to date with 3D printing and, as a Computer Science major, the CAD software used to create printable objects.

Recently, the cost and quality of 3D printing has become reasonable and CAD software has become easier to use, allowing anyone interested and motivated to design and print 3D objects.

I was surprised when I saw a functional version of Theo Jansen's Strandbeest a few months ago on Shapeways, because I thought all 3d prints were fragile and would crumble if you tried to make something with that many moving parts. I wanted to try to make one myself, so I downloaded the student version of Autodesk Inventor during winter break and got to work on what would become my first 3D Print.

This instructable details the steps I took to make one of Theo Jansen's Strandbeest using a 3d printer. The finished design was printed fully assembled. The full scale .stl file can be downloaded here, the .77 scale here, and the .66 scale here.

Step 1: Sketching the parts

Strandbeests have a large number of parts, but there are only 8 unique parts that you'll need to make that will be copied over and over again.

Using the Theo Jansen's proportions, make an outline of each of the 8 parts using millimeter scale.

I used a minimum width of 2mm in the outlines, and a 7mm outer diameter for where the hinges will go.

If you are using Autodesk Inventor, John Helfen (Autodesk Student Expert Program Manager) does a great job of demonstrating how to start sketching in his videos here.

nuelma3 months ago

It is very interesting

colter.hexum5 months ago

Was Printed with or without the use of rafts and support?

I am also wondering about rafts and support.

wwench2 years ago
Unable to open the .stl files - was hoping to get the 66%....

Hello did you solve the problem ?

tcosmico9 months ago

incredible! which printer you use?

shruti.takhral11 months ago

brains and creativity

bisnicks1 year ago
Has anyone tried printing this on a MakerBot Replicator 2X?

If so, do you just print the complete model at once or do you do it part by part?

Totally new to this!
vdlr2 years ago
Awesome project..Is there anyway I can get the part files in a different format. I'm working in Rhino and can not import the .ipt files. I can work with obj or iges or stl. Can anyone help me out? Thanks!
maccamjm2 years ago
Hi, Have you got the stl file for the propeller propulsion add-on?
Very good job.
It's amazing the work they can do, with some important tools at hand.
Combining the knowledge of 3D software, ease of ordering models made starting at 3D printing, I believe that this fosters creative and technological development.

Congratulations on your work.

Daniel Domingos
How thick are your pieces? And how far apart are they (Length of the connecting rods)?

Great 'ible! I'm making this for my semester final in my high school drafting class.
rking172 years ago
Hey awesome work! been looking for someone who has shown how to design one and finally i found you, But i was wondering if you would be able to export all of the files in any of the following formats as i would like to try and work on some mods and even work on a bigger version, .obj .stl .3ds i can use any of these formats and it would be great if you would share the files, thanks and keep up the great work!
Hi, Instructables is now awarding free 3D prints. The bounds are 3" by 3" by 3". Do you think that if I scaled this down so that I could print it to that size that it would still work?
A motorized version would be so awesome...although I doubt it would be able to do much :P
gdomantic3 years ago
-what are you doing?
-just walking a dog
that thing appears!
great project:]
Kiteman3 years ago

What sort of printing did you use?
cguin (author)  Kiteman3 years ago
Thanks! I used the "White, Strong & Flexible" from Shapeways.
Kiteman cguin3 years ago

Your next task: create a version that can be motorised...

cguin (author)  Kiteman3 years ago
I've thought about making a motorized one with a bluetooth remote, but my next print will be an ornithopter.
ilpug Kiteman3 years ago
At the Bay Area Maker Faire last month I saw one almost just like this, with a little propeller on it. You would blow on it, and it would take off across the table, all with no electricity, just mechanical. It was at the Shapeways booth, too.
Kiteman ilpug3 years ago

The original Strandbeest are wind-powered as well.
ilpug Kiteman3 years ago
Yeah, they are truly amazing. What was even more impressive about this specific print was that it was printed fully assembled and needed only to be dusted off before it could be used.