Introduction: 3D Printed Zoetrope - Pegasus

A zoetrope is one of several pre-film animation devices that produce the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of drawings or photographs showing progressive phases of that motion. In this instructable, you will take the 2D zoetrope to the next level using - you guessed it - 3D printed objects. Follow the steps to create a pegasus taking flight!

Step 1: Gather Materials

You will need:
  • A 12" drum
    • Base: you can use a laser cutter to make a drum out of wood (template is attached below) or you can cut one out of cardboard
    • Side wall: the side wall is made out of posterboard with 12 evenly spaced slits cut into it to create the animation illusion (template attached below)
  • 3D printer
  • Access to Internet/Tinkercad - designing objects
  • Ultimaker Cura - preparing objects for printing
  • Pliers or X-Acto knife - removing supports from objects
  • Glue (hot glue works best, in case you mess up) - assembling objects
  • Acrylic paint, brushes, scissors, etc. - decorating your objects and drum
  • Turntable or another method to spin the zoetrope
  • Optional: moveable light to enhance animation
  • Optional: camera to record animation

Step 2: Brainstorm!

This is the hardest part! But the key to any successful design is brainstorming. You can sketch out your ideas or simply make a list. Keep the limitations of the 3D printer in mind. Will your design work with these limitations?

If your first ideas don't pan out, no worries! As you can see, my first idea had nothing to do with my final result.

Step 3: Create Your Design

Use Tinkercad to create your objects or to import a file you have downloaded. With the template I used, the horses are cut in half to make them easier to print. You can resize your objects here, or in Ultimaker Cura. Just make sure when you resize them, you are using the same proportions for each objects. The easiest way to do this is to import them to Ultimaker Cura, drag to select all of the objects, and use the scale tool to type in how much bigger or smaller you want them to be.

If you use this template, you will have to glue the wings on separately. Refer to the images to match up the horse to its wings.

*Check back later for the center support template!

Step 4: Make a Prototype

Once, you have your idea, print one of your objects to check the sizing. This way you will know how much bigger or smaller your objects should be to fit onto the drum.

Step 5: Print the Design!

Make sure you have support turned on, otherwise the horses might not stick to the print bed. I chose to print mine in threes so I could have them going on multiple printers to save time, but you can also print them all at once.

Step 6: Remove the Support, Paint and Glue

To remove the support from your objects, you can use scissors, X-Acto knives, or a combination of whatever works best for you. Make sure not to cut off the horses' legs as these are delicate! When you finish, you may want to sand the objects to make their edges smooth.

After removing the support, glue the horses together. You can use whatever glue you prefer, but hot glue is recommended because when it dries it's easy to pull off in case you didn't line the horses up perfectly.

Paint the horses and wings. This step is important if you printed the objects on printers with different color material.

If you are painting the wings different colors than the horses, it is recommended to glue the wings on after you paint them.

Step 7: Assemble the Zoetrope

Place one end of the support bars into the center support, and the other end into the groove in the horses. Make sure to keep the horses in their order.

Attach the center support to the drum with glue. If you would like, add some cotton or other decoration to make it look like the pegasus is flying above the clouds!

After the objects are in place on the drum, attach the side wall. Try to make the slits line up with each horse.

Step 8: Watch!

Once your zoetrope is assembled, you are ready to test it out. You will need to place it on something that spins, such as a turntable. If you would like, turn off the lights except for a bright light shining directly onto the zoetrope for enhancement. Look through the slits and enjoy!

If you want to save the animation, use a camera on a tripod to record it!