Introduction: 3D Printing a Dragon

About: I am 14 years old and I love DIY projects of all kinds! I live in, and love Las Cruces, NM where I have lived my whole life. I love Mountain Biking with my dad and hanging out with my family!


This is Carson and I am back again with another Instructable! A while back I received a handheld 3d printer, and ever since, I have been looking for cool stuff to make with it. I got this idea from a youtube video and have since made two of my own dragons. This is a fun, simple, afternoon project that gets your creativity flowing! Hope you enjoy

Step 1: What You Will Need

  • A handheld 3d printer (3d pen)
  • Two different colors of filament (I used around 20 feet of filament for the body-red and maybe about 2 feet for the spikes-orange)
  • A printer and paper (this is so that you can print a template to print on)
  • Blue painters tape or regular Scotch tape
  • A pencil or colored pencil (it needs to be round)
  • Play-Doh

Step 2: Preparing Your Workspace

The first step in making your dragon is to use a regular printer to print out a template to 3d print off of. You could also draw your template if you can't find one online that you like. Either way it important that it as an above view of the dragon. I found a good picture online that I decided would work nicely for this project and printed it out. Here is a link to the photo.

After it was printed out I realized that the picture was too big and the tips of the wings got cut off. Instead of reprinting the picture I thought that I would add another piece of paper under the it and sketch out the tips of the wings. I taped the papers down and sketched the two wing tips on both sides of the template. After picking out the body color I was ready to start printing.

Step 3: 3D Printing: the Body

The first step, after preparing the workspace, is to make the body. To make the body, start by tracing the dragon's torso and adding layers until you have an oval shaped wall about 9 or 10 layers high. Next you will want to use a colored pencil to support the filament as you create a domed frame from which to build one half of the dragon's torso. (see the second and third pictures) After having made several domes start adding more plastic to to the outside of the frame until you have a solid, oval shaped, half-dome.

Now to create the second half of the dragon's torso you are going to need some "Play-Doh" or some other type of modeling clay. The purpose of the Play-Doh is to make it easier to create the second half of the dragon's body and to add some weight to it. When inserting the Play-Doh into the first half of the dragon's body you are going to want to make sure that the rim of the torso-shell is visible and that the Play-Doh does not overlap the edge. Form the Play-Doh until it looks like a slightly smaller duplicate of the other half of the body.

Once the Play-doh is in place make a frame like you did for the first half and continue to add filament until you have an oval shaped ball like you can see in the last picture.

Step 4: The Tail and the Wings

After you have made your body it is time to make the tail and wings of your dragon.

Similar to the body you will want to start by tracing the tail shape on your reference picture. After you have created the tail shape, fill it in with more filament until the tail is completely filled. Next, add more filament over the top of your base layer, giving the tail depth. You should add less layers the farther out you get on the tail so that it looks realistic. After you are happy with the tail's shape, carefully peel the tail of the paper, so that it does not break. Flip the tail over and repeat the layering process on the underside of the tail. (while the plastic is still hot you can bend the tail so that it seems more animated and less flat)

The next step is to create the wings. Just like when creating the tail, you will want to first outline the wings to get the basic shape. Then fill the wings in. Its pretty simple, but does a while to do. It's important to not get rushed and form gaps in the wing; this can cause them to break when you take them off of the paper. Be careful when removing the wings! I used a knife to carefully pry the wings off.

After you have the tail and wing pieces made, attach them to the body by simply applying filament wherever necessary. (when attaching the wings you can bend them upward at the base of the wing while it is still hot in order to achieve a more lifelike effect)

Step 5: The Neck and Head

For the neck and head I have found that it is easier to not trace on the reference paper but instead, freehand them. Start by making lines out from the base of the neck about one inch long. Continue to add filament until you have a short stub about an inch long and a quarter of an inch in diameter. (as you are creating the neck you can mold it while it is still hot it to create whatever type of neck position you want)

Then begin to add filament around the end of the neck to the begin creating the head. Add to the end of the neck until there is a ball that looks like the one in the fourth picture. Create a short cone shape similar to the one in the fifth picture by adding more filament to the end of the ball. Elongate the tip of the cone so that it resembles a snout. Next, add to the sides of the head in order to give it wider jaws. Make minor adjustments until the head looks proportionate.

Step 6: Final Details

You're almost finished with your dragon! just a few more steps to make it look even cooler.

SUGGESTION: change out the color of your filament now to create a cool multi-colored dragon.

One of the coolest additions you could make is adding spikes. To start make a small triangle shape on the piece of paper that leans to one side. Then add more layers like you did with the tail until you have a lopsided cone. Peel off the spike and repeat the layering process. Place your largest spike in the middle of the dragon's back and slightly behind where the front of the wings attach to the dragon with the tip facing backwards.Repeat this process, placing the spikes in along where its spine would be. You should only have to make the largest spikes on paper the rest can be made on the dragon itself. (I made six on paper) To make the smaller spikes add a glob of filament in line with the spine and pull the pen up and back to create the spike's curve and tip, making the spikes smaller and smaller as you get farther from the bigger spikes. (when making the spikes turn the dispensing speed down if you have the option.)

I created two more spikes which I added to the top of either side ot the head to look like horns.

Another thing you can do is to highlight where the wing bones would be be creating several lines up and down the wing. (use the paper for reference) You can also add eyes and nose holes with quick little dots of filament in the spots where the eyes and nose should go.

Step 7: Conclusion

You have now completed your dragon! Congratulations! enjoy! This is a fun afternoon project that is fairly simple to make if you have a 3d pen. It could work great as a gift for a younger sibling, nephew, niece or whoever! However it can be easily broken so be careful who you give it to.

If you have any ideas for improvements or see mistakes in this instructable please comment! I would love to hear what you think!

Until next time, Carson