Floating Virus - Tensegrity - 3D Printed




Introduction: Floating Virus - Tensegrity - 3D Printed

Don't be afraid! This particular covid19 virus is harmless, you don't need to keep your distance! ;-

Some time ago I found this “beautiful” corona virus model by gregbejtlich on https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4166787. My idea was to include this model in my tensegrity collection. Of course I had to change or add some things. It is also slightly scaled up.

The thread in the middle of the two half rings - besides the three threads connecting the virus and the base - builds the tension in this object. It's a bit magical how the physical conditions create a tension that makes this object a unit - a perfect unit. At first sight a bit confusing ... you have to look twice to understand the principle.

Dimensions: Virus Ø approx. 94mm, H approx. 180mm, socket Ø 80mm

Print Settings:

  • Printer: Prusa I3 MK3S
  • Supports: Yes
  • Resolution: 0.2
  • Infill: 10%
  • Filament brand: Prusa; ICE
  • Filament color: Galaxy Black; Romantic Red; Wintershine White
  • Filament material: PLA


  • Nylon thread Ø 0.35mm
  • Superglue
  • Stop angle

Step 1: Preparation - Printing

The virus is printed in 2 halves (with support). There is a mark (arrow) on the bottom each half of the virus for the correct gluing of the two halves later. These must lie on top of each other when assembling. However, before the two halves are glued together, it should be noted that the arrow on the bottom of the lower virus half also determine the alignment of the upper ring half. See photos!

I glued the upper half of the virus only at the very end, after the threads have been attached. The creation of the "tensegrity "and the final fixing of the threads is exclusively done in the base!

Step 2: Assembling - Connection Half Rings

It is best to start by making the connection between the two half rings.Take about 10-15cm of the nylon thread (Ø 0.35mm). The distance between the rings should be about 25mm.

This is not very easy and needs some patience to set the second knot so that this distance is created. Several attempts may be necessary.

Step 3: Assembling - Installation Half Rings

Now insert the half rings. To ensure a good fit, the fitting accuracy is very tight. It may be necessary to correct the fit with a cutter knife or sandpaper!e. For a correct alignment you should use a stop angle!

There is an arrow on the bottom of the base. This arrow indicates the direction in which the lower half ring must be inserted into the base! There is also an arrow on the underside of the virus. This arrow indicates the direction in which the upper half ring must be inserted into the virus! This can also be seen in the pictures.

Step 4: Assembling - Create Tension

Then cut 3 threads of about 25-30 cm. At the end of each thread a multiple knot is required. The assembly should ideally also be done with a nylon thread Ø 0.35mm, as the widths of the fixing slits in the base are designed for this.

Start with the 3 threads and guide them through the suction cups with the holes. It will be a bit fiddly now. It may be that the small holes on the virus are blocked by supporting material. Normally it is sufficient to pierce them with a sewing needle.

Place the model with the bottom side facing up on the virus half. Then pull the threads through the corresponding holes in the base At first just clamp the strings. Then you can start with the adjustment. Do not tighten the threads too much, otherwise the half rings could deform. So when the strings are slightly tightened, socket and virus half are aligned horizontally, then you can secure the strings.

Step 5: Final

Finally, glue the upper half of the virus to its underside. There is a mark on each half of the virus for the correct gluing of the two halves. These must lie on top of each other when assembling.

Hurray! That's it! … the virus is floating!

I hope that I did not forget anything in my description. If you have any questions please contact me!

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