Introduction: 3D Print Articulated Gingerbread Man + Articulated Joint

About: Community Manager for Instructables and Tinkercad.

I wanted to experiment with an articulated joint I found on Twitter and wanted to also come up with a fun and unique design to go with it. Since it's Christmastime I decided on a gingerbread man!

The original joint didn't end up working for me (not durable enough for a 4 year old) so I ended up designing the gingerbread man and the joint to go with it.

Check out my shop on Etsy! You can also purchase the small version as a ornament in my Etsy shop!

Instructable 357



3D Printer - I'm using a Prusa MK3 with MMU2

Filament - I'm using Brown for the gingerbread man with White "icing" decorations

Articulated Joint (it looks a little funny because the holes don't show up in the preview but you'll see them if you copy and tinker):

Step 1: Testing

When I first started out to make this Gingerbread man, I used this premade articulated joint from Thingiverse. It worked out great BUT it kept breaking. It just couldn't hold up to a 4-year old playing with it. That started me on my adventure to make a more sturdy joint. This involved redesigning the joint and making it more durable during the slicing/printing process.

I tried to do some small joint tests but you just couldn't test the durability as well as a full sized gingerbread man. They are cute though. Kind of like little game pieces.

I'm still not sure if it's perfect, but so far neither my daughter or I have broken it.

Step 2: Gingerbread Man

I started by constructing my Gingerbread Man. He is made out of cylinders, rectangles, and the Extrusion (from the Shape Generators section) for the body.

I had the arms going different directions and the legs slightly off center just to give it a bit more natural feel. If you want it 100% natural, try using the Scribble tool to draw up your shape.

When it came to decorating the Gingerbread Man, I started by using basic shapes but then felt it was too rigid. I found using scribble to make all the designs made it feel more like a handmade gingerbread man. The decorations on him aren't complicated, but drawing them out gives him that little something extra.

Step 3: Joint

As I mentioned, the original joint I wanted to use, kept breaking. So I used that as my inspiration to create a new one based on what failed before. I expected the bar to be the weak point in the joint but it was actually the otherside, it would separate between the layers.

My ways of fixing this involved making it fatter and using the Paraboloid shape. I found putting a hole through the whole thing with a bar was just too weak. So instead, I used the paraboloid which only went almost all the way through from each side. There is also enough layers on top and bottom to add additional support.

Now that I had my shape and my joint, I needed to put them together.

Step 4: Adding Joint to Gingerbread Man

Now that I have everything I need, I just need to combine everything. One thing to keep in mind is that you don't want that long rectangle to be too long when you add it to your design. Say, for example, if I had it too long at the shoulder joint, it would cut into the head. So you may need to undo and resize and rotate a few times.

Line everything up and then group your holes with your gingerbread man. Make sure you don't group the holes AND joint at the same time or you'll just cut out the nice joint you are trying to add. I actually leave the joints and gingerbread man separate so you can see them easier. I also left the joint transparent so I could see it.

Step 5: Slicing

Your ability to do this will depend on your slicer.

After bringing it in and using my normal settings, I added Modifier Boxes to my design and set those boxes to 100% infill. I put them at all the joints to give extra strength to both the paraboloids and indents.

You could just do 100% infill to the whole thing but it really seems unnecessary if you can avoid it. It will just add more time and use up more filament. As it is, it takes 4 hours to print a large gingerbread man.

You'll also need to add in the color change if you want the icing a different color. Most slicers and printers should allow for that regardless of if you have a multi media extruder.

Step 6: Printing

Just wanted to give you a look at it. You can see that 100% infill at the joints and how tight they are with the cutouts.

(Doesn't it look like chocolate?)

Step 7:

Enjoy your Gingerbread Men!

I think it also looks good in shiny pink with shiny silver icing.

Step 8: Stitched or Voodoo Doll

When I consulted with my daughter on different color combos I should print, for one she said black and white. And I thought that might not work for a gingerbread man, but then I thought it might be fun for a stitched or voodoo doll.

I also made these in large and small.

I used the stitches from my stitched neck choker.

Anything Goes Contest 2021

Participated in the
Anything Goes Contest 2021