Introduction: Make a "Birds Mobile" for Your Child

About: We are passionate about technology and craft. We are at the heart of the european Maker movement. Our company distributes the 3D printer brand Makerbot in France and also organize events such as Maker Faire.
About one year and a half ago, Bertier (President of le FabShop) asked me if I could design a toy mobile with our new MakerBot. 

I had no time for it, but kept the project on my To Do list, just in case an opportunity would show up. 

Life being life, the perfect moment came when our friend and collegue Matthieu announced that he was going to be a father. 

I already had experience with this kind of object with the project "Fall" . I used this knowledge to make a first experiment about balance during a workshop with Patricia Urquiola at Domaine de Boisbuchet, but the result was too big. The mobile had to fit in a Parisian appartment and be safe for a child. When baby Joseph was born, on december 7th 2013, I had to no choice than to finish what I had started. I designed a completely different mobile using the GREAT Autodesk app 123D design. Using the experience I got from my previous experiments, making it work was very easy. 

I'm very proud of the result.

Matthieu and his son also love the bird mobile very much. 

Here is the making of and how to make your own :

Step 1: The Dowels

First we need to prepare the dowels. One at 12 mm (1/2 in.) and an other one at 15 mm (0.6 in.)
Cut the big one at 75 cm and the small one at 50cm. It will be the structure of your mobile.
Then smooth the edges if necessary.

Step 2: Print the 3D Parts

Download and print with your 3D printer the different parts of the mobile :

In white
In blue : The files are availlable on Thingiverse :
r 123D :

Step 3: Strings

Push the thread through the cloud and the flying birds. If you have difficulties to do it, try with the cloud upside down or wet the tip of the thread to straighten it. (keep going you can do it !)
Make a knot for the flying birds as shown in the video and cut the excess.
Leave 15 to 20 cm of thread to hang the parts.

Step 4: Clips

Use two big clips to fix the cloud on the 15mm dowel (make a knot)
Use one clip in the midle to hang to mobile to the ceiling and one more to hang the small dowel.

Assemble the small dowel with the flying birds as shown in the last picture

Step 5: Birds

Clip the other birds on the big dowel to finish your mobile. If the birds do not hold correctly on the dowels, use a little bit of glue. (Hot glue or epoxy should work)

Step 6: Balance & Configuration

Hang up your mobile and slide the clips to adjust the balance.
Or course you can play with different configurations !

Step 7: Customize

I used the free Autodesk App 123D design to create the birds, the clips and the cloud. 
I uploaded the original files on the 123D community so that anybody can modify them and print them. 
Note that I used an old drawing technique to create the objects. I merged some basic volumes such as cubes, spheres and cones and used other functions to smooth the intersections. 

Here is where to get them :

Step 8: Enjoy

The mobile should hang the mobile high enough so that young children can't grab it.
Make sure that all components are holding correctly.
The mobile might loose it's balance once in a while. Just move the clips left and right to re-adjust it.

Try many of them, create your own birds and different colours! Glow in the dark, transparent, woodfill, seaweed filament...
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