Introduction: Hexagon Insect Hotel

I got the idea when a couple of small wild bees settled on my balcony. Unfortunately, they chose something that sooner or later I had to put away for space reasons. So I had to find a new home for the little bees and beetles.

The results after a short search at Thingiverse unfortunately did not satisfy me, so I decided to create something myself. I've done a few things with Tinkercad® before, but I've always wanted to try out the Codeblocks thing and it seemed like a good project for it.


You need a 3D printer or at least have access to some over a colleague, makerspace, internet..

Tools I have used to clean the printed hotel:

  • square rasp
  • round rasp
  • cutter
  • drill bits in different sizes

Step 1: Stacking Up the Code Blocks

I really played around with the code blocks for some time. The production of some cubes and cylinders in Tinkercad® Codeblocks is simple and has a scale / side length of 20 mm.

But creating a polygon and changing it parametrically was a real problem at first. The polygon object in Tinkercad® is a hexagon with a side length of 20 mm. The width or height can only be changed by calculating and then adjusting the scale of the object.

I had to calculate the inner cycle and the outer cycle radius, then the width and height and everything backwards ... Luckily for me, the calculation for a hexagon is not that complicated and everything is well documented (thanks to Wikipedia). :) :)

If someone really wants to know:

  • We already know the side length(s) of 20mm, therefore the circumradius is s and the apothem is s * 1/2 * √3.
  • If we have the apothem(for the holes) ri and want to know the side length s, we have to do it the other way round ri * 2/3 *√3.

Step 2: Parameterise the Code

I wanted the insect hotel to be fully customizable by changing just a few parameters in the code. That was the real difficulty.
If everything were static, you could hard code and change everything until it fits. But so I had to do it accurately without hard coding anything.

Step 3: Printing

I don't have my own printer, but luckily I have a nice colleague who prints the models for me. :)

The colleague told me that the wood filament is not ideal for such small holes because a thicker nozzle has to be used. But if someone has the perfect nozzle for the filament, you could try it.

It is best to use natural colors for printing. I have seen many bright blue or red 3d printed insect hotels on the internet, this is not ideal and does not attract insects either.

If someone also wants to try out my "generator", I have published it for free on Tinkercad® for everyone (not commercially). If you do: Please share the results!! :)

Step 4: Cleaning

It is really important to remove any loose filaments from the holes as this would hurt the insects when they crawled in.

  1. Use the cutter to remove big junks of filament
  2. Use the rasp to clean the large holes
  3. Also clean the top of the hexagons with the rasp
  4. The smaller holes can be cleaned with the drills

Step 5: Roundup

It was a little more difficult than I thought, but it was also fun to build. I have learned a lot and am optimistic that further projects will follow. ;)

Step 6: First Bookings After Less Then a Month :)

20 days after my small hotel opened for the insect world, the first wild bee has moved in. The sunny beginning of spring naturally favors this. :) :) :)

We will see what the month of may will bring. Hopefully a lot of sunshine and new guests in my first hexagonal hotel. ;)

3D Printed Contest

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