Tinkercad Robotics for (High) School: Walking Warhammer 40K's Dreadnought!




Introduction: Tinkercad Robotics for (High) School: Walking Warhammer 40K's Dreadnought!

About: I'm Mario Caicedo Langer (M.C. for short), a Colombian STEAM educator living in Azerbaijan, BSc in Naval Sciences and former Navy officer. I am a CAD and 3D Printing enthusiast and an artist specialized in jun…

Hello. My name is Mario, and I want to welcome you to the mighty Space Marines! They are more than mortal; they are steel and they are doom. They are the champions of Mankind. And the greatest of them all are the Ultramarines!

But if you are here, probably you are applying for the Techmarine position. So this is our first lesson: how to use the power of Tinkercad to design and print a walking Dreadnought, a massive cybernetic combat walker for heroic Space Marines whose body has been ravaged in battle.

This is probably one of the most iconic war machines from the Warhammer 40.000 universe, the most popular table-top game in the world; famous for its high-detailed miniature models. Warhammer 40K has spawned five Tabletop Role-Playing Games (TRPG), videogames, books, board games, and a movie with the voices of General Zod and the War Doctor.

There are countless of books and internet tutorials about how to create and paint Warhammer models. However, I found nothing about how to make a Dreadnought walk. So, let's be the first one!

Before starting, let's consider some points:

  • This project will focus mainly in mechanics more than in aesthetics and faithfulness to the extensive lore of WH40K. I tried to include as many of the general traits of a classic Dreadnought as possible. However, I had to sacrifice some details due to functionality, time and CAD tool constraints. Also, painting will not be explored in this instructable.
  • There is a body part that is definitely missing, and it is the hips/crotch area. The reason? I started working with the mechanical part, and I didn't find the way to include that part until I knew how would be the rest of the body. When I finished the design, I tried to include it, but it looked weird and unpractical. Probably future versions will have it.
  • This is an advance level Tinkercad project. It requires intermediate knowledge of Boolean Operations in Tinkercad and basic soldering skills. I recommend you to visit my previous "Tinkercad Robotics for School" tutorials, for a better understanding of the design process I followed to create this model.

Curiously, this project for WH40K took me 40 steps to complete, and required 389 screenshots; becoming not only my biggest Tinkercad-related instructable project ever, but also, my instructable with the highest number of steps. Ever.

Ready to start?


You will need the following materials.

    • 1 Computer with access to Tinkercad
    • 1 3D printer. Material: PLA. I'm using a Creality Ender 3 V2.
    • 1 x micro motor with gear box, like this. Shaft Size: 10mm x 3mm (L*D)
    • 1 x 3.7V lithium polymer battery: from a broken 3Doodler 3D pen.
    • 1 x slide switch SS-12F16 G4, 3 pin 2 position on/off; like this one.
    • 2 x small screws (like the ones you find in toys and calculators)
    • wires
    • Soldering tin

    Also, you will require the following tools:

    • Pliers (for removing support material)
    • Soldering iron
    • Screwdrivers
    • Pliers
    • Optional: Dremel rotary tool

    I got the micro motor and the lithium battery inside a broken rechargeable 3D pen. The only issue was that the motor's shaft was longer, so I had to use the Dremel rotary tool to cut it to a 10 mm length. Also, probably you will need a charger for your lithium battery. You can find it online, or create your own. To learn how to harvest valuable components from a 3D pen and create a battery charger from its board, you can check this instructable.

    Step 1: Finding Resources

    When I started this project, my first action was to find resources to get inspired and learn about the basic design traits of a Dreadnought. I check several images and saved to my drive the best ones, so I could examine them carefully. This design tries to emulate an Ironclad Dreadnought Castaferrum Pattern type Mk.V.

    To keep the proportions, I searched for some schematics. Funny thing, I have access to several 3D printers, but no to a normal printer for documents; so I just download the schematics and used a small ruler to measure dimensions and transfer them to the 3D design. This is the link for that blueprint in Deviant Art, by author "poppindancers":


    Step 2: The Micro Motor

    First, I wanted to create a case to house the micro motor. However, there are no micro motors in the Tinkercad library; so I created a quick model of this electrical component, adding some extra millimeters for tolerance. To do that, I used a caliper to measure the dimensions of a real one, so I could create a virtual equivalent.

    I created the case using three boxes from the basic shapes, being careful of leaving an opening for the motor pins. Then, I duplicated the micro motor, transform the duplicate into a hole and substraed it from the box.

    Step 3: Gears

    I created a second Hole duplicate of the micro motor.

    From the Shape Generators Library, "All" option, tab 3, I brought a Cone Metric Gear and aligned it with the motor's axis. Then, I brought a second gear and placed at one side of the first gear, and perpendicular to it.

    Step 4: The Gearbox

    To keep the gears in position, I added two boxes as panels, one at the side of the second gear, and one on the opposite side.

    I added a cylinder hole and aligned it to the center of the second gear. With this cylinder I created the round hole where the axle will be located. Then, I created a rectangular axle using a long box. This axle had to be a little bit smaller than the cylindrical hole, so the axle could spin freely.

    I created three hole boxes with dimensions a little bit bigger than the axle. Why three? One will be the hole in the center of the second gear. The other two hole boxes will be on each end of the axle, to group with the cranks so they can be attached to the axle.

    Step 5: Crank

    I created a crank using a 20mm diameter cylinder and a smaller one of 7mm diameter (crankpin). Then I grouped it to one of the small hole boxes located at the end.

    Step 6: The Connecting Rod and the Backpack

    I created these two pieces at the same time, exploring how the proportions of the mechanism would be. The backpack (place that would house the battery) was made using a primitive box and a hole box, and placed in the back of the gearbox.

    The connecting rod was created with two long boxes and a cylinder in the middle. In the center of the cylinder I placed a smaller hole cylinder, 1mm larger than the crankpin, so it could be inserted on the hole and spin freely. After that, I duplicated the center cylinder but with a smaller cylindrical hole, so the crankpin could fit tightly on it, serving as a lock to keep the connecting rod in place.

    In the connecting rod, I grouped the cylinder with its hole. However, I didn't group them with the boxes, because they would need more modifications.

    Step 7: Shoulder Mechanism

    I duplicated the crank, the hollow cylinder from the connecting rod, and the locking washer, and place that duplicate on the top part of the backpack. Then I modified the duplicate, so all cylinders were aligned by the center.

    Then, I duplicated again the hollow cylinder from the connecting rod, the crankpin and the locking washer, and placed them on top of the connecting rod. I duplicated the locking washer and placed on the other side of the connecting rod. Using primitive boxes, I connected the hollow cylinder in the back pack with the locking washers on top of the connecting rod, and group them into a single piece.

    Also, I grouped the connecting rod boxes with the original and the top hollow cylinders.

    Step 8: Sockets for the Limbs

    I added an 8-sided polygon to the shoulder mechanism, then I created a hole duplicate slightly bigger. This hole will be useful when it's time to create the arm.

    I grouped the polygon to the rest of the shoulder mechanism.

    For the leg, I also duplicated the box placed on the bottom of the connection rod, made it slightly bigger and transformed it into a hole, to be used later when the leg is created.

    Step 9: A Place for the Switch

    Using a caliper, I measured the dimensions of the real switch. Then on top of the backpack, I placed a hole box, a little bit bigger, so the switch can fit. Then, I placed a box over the rear wall of the backpack. I grouped these two boxes with the rest of the backpack.

    Step 10: Completing the Mechanism

    I duplicated the crank, the connecting rod, the shoulder mechanism and the locking washers, and moved the duplicate to the right side. Then I used the Mirror function to transform the duplicate into a mirror image.

    Step 11: Foot

    To create the foot, I used two shapes from the Shape Generators - "All" menu: a four-teeth Gear and a four-sides inverted hole Polycup to give some sharpness to the "fingers". Then I grouped them. duplicated the resulting shape, reducing the size a little bit, and placing it on top of the first gear. Then I repeated the operation once again.

    Using a Tire shap (from Shape Generators) and some cylinders (to resemble the main stem of the leg and the magna-coils), I gave shape to the leg, placing a box on top.

    Step 12: Armor Plating for the Leg

    I brought to the workplane two 5-sides Polycups, one over the other, and reduced the bottom radius of the top one, to give some angle to the upper part. Then I cut the two sides of the rear part, using a hole box.

    Using a 6-sides hole Polygon, I transformed the resulting shape into a shell; and using other two hole boxes I gave its characteristic shape to the armor plate.

    Step 13: Completing the Leg

    I aligned and grouped the foot with the armor plating. On top of the leg I placed another box and a cylinder, and group them with the hole box I had since step 8, to create the socket for the connecting rod.

    Then I added more decorative elements, using mainly boxes and cylinders. When I was happy with the result, I grouped all the shapes of the leg, then I duplicated it and mirrored it.

    Step 14: Front Body: Main

    Time to work in the cockpit ("Sarcophagus"), where the injured body of the Marine would be placed to connect him to the robotic armor. I brought a box and used two Wedges from the Basic Shapes library, to create the semi triangular shape.

    When finished, I placed another box on top.

    Step 15: Front Body: Shoulder Plates

    I brought another box and placed it to the side of the center body. Then I rotated it 19 degrees.

    Using hole boxes and wedges, I sculpted the box, until it started looking like the classic Dreadnought design.

    Step 16: Shoulder Plates Decoration

    Using five thin hole boxes, I created the characteristic plating pattern, and duplicated it. Then, I grouped them with the shoulder plate. I also used small half spheres to create the rivets. And also, I cut a hole box on the bottom, to leave space for the Ranger Finder.

    When I was happy with the result, I duplicated the shoulder plate, move it to the other side and mirrored it. Them, I grouped it with the rest of the body.

    Step 17: Adapting the Main Body to the Walking Mechanism

    After finishing the body, I placed it on top of the gearbox; pressed Shift and scaled it until its dimensions where compatible with the dimensions of the gearbox/backpack. Then, using hole boxes, I created an opening in the body to leave space for the pins of the micro motor and the cables.

    Step 18: Decorating the "Sarcophagus"

    I placed the workplane over the front part of the main body, and created a frame using two concentric boxes of 1mm height; one solid, one hole. In the same way, I created a small window. I used small spheres to create the rivets.

    Step 19: Imperialis Symbol and Scroll

    I am particularly proud of this Winged Skull symbol!

    Honestly, I thought this part was too hard to make. So I started searching everywhere for an STL file, add it to the project and give credit to the author. However, I did not find what I was looking for. Even I thought about not doing it. At the end, I decided to at least giving it a try. And it worked!

    First, I used a Skeleton Skull from the Tinkercad Printables Library. I exported it as STL and imported it again, so I could change the size. Then I placed it over the sarcophagus.

    To create the scroll, I used an Extrusion shape from the Shape Generators - Featured library. Then I wrote the Latin version of my name.

    For the wings, I created a small feather using the Extrusion shape. Then I duplicated it and, without unselecting it, I made it a little bit bigger, rotated it a few degrees and moved it a little bit up and left. Then I used the Duplicate tool to repeat the process. After several attempts, I finally found a configuration I was happy with.

    Then, using the Scribble tool, I created the frame for the wing, and moved the feathers to fit on it.

    When I finally was happy with the wing, I duplicated it and mirrored it, to create a symmetric symbol.

    Step 20: Smoke Launchers

    On top of the body I placed a Roof and a Round Roof (both from Basic Shapes), grouped them into a "pizza slice" and added a cylinder in front. Then, I added a thinner hole cylinder, to create the barrel. After grouping both cylinders, I duplicated it on both sides, in a 30 degrees angle of separation.

    Then I turned the whole set 30 degrees, and added a small box bellow.

    Step 21: Plug-ins

    To link together the body and the walking mechanism, I added a cylinder on top of the gearbox, and then a slightly bigger concentric hole cylinder. I duplicated both cylinders and move them to the other part of the gearbox.

    I grouped the solid cylinders to the gearbox; and the hole cylinders, to the main body's roof.

    Step 22: Back

    To create the chimneys in the back, I used three solid and one hole concentric cylinders, creating something that resembles a gun (this would be useful in the future). Then I used several small hole cylinders to make them look like exhaust vents. The I added a box to give some shape. Then I duplicated and mirrored this shape, and used a box, a roof and a cylinder to join both chimneys.

    I attached this to the back, being careful of keeping the switch are clear.

    Step 23: Final Decorations for the Body

    Bellow the Imperialis, I added some boxes to complete the decoration of the Sarcophagus. Also, I added extra boxes and some cylinders in the available spaces of the shoulder plates, creating the Ranger Finder.

    And also I tried the do the crotch area; but as I said in the Introduction, it didn't result. Maybe next time!

    Step 24: Talons

    This Dreadnought toy is a classic 1-motor walking toy. So, for stability, it is required to add these auxiliary parts on the feet.

    I used boxes and gave some shape using wedges. Also, I placed meta-fillets on each angle, reducing the possible fracture points.

    Step 25: Arms: Shoulder Socket

    Do you remember the hole Polygon we have from Step 8?

    I brought two concentric cylinders, one bigger than the other, and groups them with the hole polygon. From this point, I started building the arm.

    Step 26: Arm: Upper Part

    Grouping a basic box (Basic Shapes) and a Double Trapezoid (Shape Generators), I created the top part of the arm. Then I modeled using a Wedge and some hole boxes. When I was happy with the result, I placed a cylinder in the lower part.

    Step 27: Bloodfist 1: the Fist

    I added three perpendicular cylinders to the one of the arm's top part. Then I started creating the basic fist, using Parabolic Cones (Shape Generators library) and four concentric torus. Then I added a cylinder and a paraboloid at the end, and aligned all these shapes to the center. When I was happy with the result, I grouped them.

    Step 28: Chainfist

    After completing the arm, I duplicated, moved it to the right of the Dreadnought and mirrored it. Then, I ungrouped the fist and started modifying it to transform it into the Chainfist: I removed the four torus shapes, put together and edit the Parabolic Cones, added a box shape to the base of the chainsaw, and then created a blade profile using a Extrusion shape.

    I brought a Cremallera (Shape Generators library) to work as the teeth of the chainsaw. I covered the Extrusion's blade profile with four cremalleras, then I grouped them.

    After a few decorative elements later (involving thin boxes and cylinders), my Chainfist was ready!

    Step 29: Meltagun

    Remember the chimneys? I duplicated one of them and played with the handles, until it looked like a gun. Then I added a box on top and placed it under one fist. I added some decorative details, being the most prominent a hose that goes from the upper arm to the gun. This hose was created using a Bent Pipe (Shape Generators - Featured.)

    When I was happy with the result, I duplicated it and moved it to the other arm.

    Step 30: Bloodfist 2: the Fingers

    Using two Double Trapezoid shapes and two boxes, I built a big finger, using a wedge to give it some angle, and cylinders to look like articulations. Then I added a Bent Pipe.

    After having a satisfactory model, I placed it on top of the available fist and reduced its size until it was proportional to the arm. Then I duplicated it three times and placed the four fingers around the fist, with a separation angle of 90 degrees.

    Step 31: The Ultra Logo

    Just for fun, I created the Ultramarines logo, using two cylinders (solid and hole) and two boxes (solid and hole). I I modeled the logo, and then I duplicated it, placing one on a shoulder plate, and the other on the opposite arm.

    Step 32: Views

    Finally I finished the design. Here are some views (orthographic and perspective) to remember where to place every part. Time to bring our Dreadnought to the real world!

    Step 33: Preparing the Model for Printing

    In Tinkercad, I returned to the Dashboard and duplicated the design, so I could rearrange all the pieces for a better printing; verifying that all of the components were laying over the workplane.

    Step 34: Slicing and Printing

    After rearranging the parts for printing, I exported the STL files and opened them in the slicer.

    I used the following parameters:

    • Printer: Creality Ender 3 V2
    • Slicer: Ultimaker Cura 4.8.0
    • Material: PLA
    • Printing Temperature: 200°C
    • Infill: 20% (legs and body), 30% (mechanism). 15% (arms), 100% (Imperialis)
    • Supports: Linear for most of the parts, Treelike for the legs.
    • Raft: Yes
    • Scale: 100%

    Now, if you compare both arms, you will see the Chainfist will require 40g of material, and the Bloodfist, 63g. This 13g of weight difference will affect the way the robot moves, walking in counterclockwise circles. I am OK with my circles, but if you want the Dreadnought to walk in a straight line, consider to remove 13 g from the Bloodfist.

    I am attaching the STLs, so... have fun!

    Step 35: Assembling the Gearbox

    I used the soldering iron to solder a wire on each pin of the micro motor. Then, I assembled the mechanism following the design.

    This is a good moment to remember that the mechanical parts must be clean, and it is very important that all the imperfections and remaining supports are removed using an X-acto knife. If not, your mechanism may get jammed.

    Step 36: Assembling the Legs

    I inserted the connecting rods into the legs sockets. Then I inserted the crankpins in the middle hole of the connecting rods.

    Step 37: Completing the Walking Mechanism

    I assembled the mechanism following the design. If everything is fine, the gearbox and the walk should work as seen in the video. Don't forget to check the polarity of the motor, to know which cables configuration will allow the robot to go forward.

    Step 38: Electric Circuit

    As maybe you remember, I am using recycled components from a broken 3D pen, so I removed the plug from the board.

    I placed the switch on its place and fix it with two small screws.

    Then, I soldered the motor's blue cable to the corresponding positive wire (red) in the battery plug. The negative wire (black) was connected to the central pin of the switch, and the motor's white cable was connected to one of the available pins in the switch.

    Step 39: Assembling the Body

    Well, I decided to print the Imperiales as a separated component, and create a hole on the body to attach it.

    After that, I attached the body to the mechanism.

    Step 40: Final Step: the Arms

    And, attaching the arms to the shoulder sockets, we finished our Ironclad Dreadnought.

    Great job Techmarines!


    Role Playing Game Challenge

    Judges Prize in the
    Role Playing Game Challenge

    Be the First to Share


      • Teach With Tinkercad Contest

        Teach With Tinkercad Contest
      • Fandom Contest

        Fandom Contest
      • Backyard Contest

        Backyard Contest



      1 year ago

      I love this project keep making more awesome robots! =)

      M.C. Langer
      M.C. Langer

      Reply 1 year ago

      Thanks a lot AcelsAwesome! I'm glad you like it!


      1 year ago

      Awesome! This project inspired me for a lot of ideas I have in my head.

      M.C. Langer
      M.C. Langer

      Reply 1 year ago

      That's great! I'm glad you liked it!

      Josiah Miller
      Josiah Miller

      1 year ago

      very nicely done! :) (little tip, even thou your idea worked great, is that instead of exporting the skull as an stl, you can just add it to your shape collection, whereupon it will become scaleable, and easy to use :) you also never have to leave the project, and you can use it again and again :) Once again great work!!!!!!!! :)

      M.C. Langer
      M.C. Langer

      Reply 1 year ago

      Thanks a lot Josiah! And thanks for the tip!


      Question 1 year ago

      Exceptionally well done project, amazing detail and fabulous results. Thanks for sharing.

      M.C. Langer
      M.C. Langer

      Answer 1 year ago

      Thanks to you for your kind words, Seawarrior181!


      1 year ago

      Yeah, this really is cool! (and I'm not even fan of warhammer)

      M.C. Langer
      M.C. Langer

      Reply 1 year ago

      Thanks a lot Kudlas!


      1 year ago

      Marioooooooo this is fantastic :D

      M.C. Langer
      M.C. Langer

      Reply 1 year ago

      Thanks a lot Jessy!!! I'm glad you like it! 😊

      M.C. Langer
      M.C. Langer

      Reply 1 year ago

      Thanks Argyle!