3D Printed- Theo Jansen Mechanism Steps




***Note: I have to finish the very last bits and this instructable will be fully complete.

In this step by step tutorial, I will be showing you how to construct your very own Theo Jansen Mechanism, using the CAD Drawing file as your guide and the .stl files that are provided.

Step 1: Parts List


-Theo Jansen Leg Kit (the provided .stl files)

-(x9) 1' x 3/32in stainless steel rods

-(x1) 1' x 3/16in stainless steel rod

- Wax paper

- J-B Kwik (or any J-B weld product will do, but this is faster)

- Tooth Picks


- 3D Printer ( I am currently using a Dimension uPrint 3D Printer)
       *Note: With the 3D Printer, its assumed you are using some sort of interpreter software. I am using the program that came with the printer: CatalystEX

- Hack saw

- Vice

- Sand paper / Sander (to clean the burrs off the rods)

- Hot glue gun

- Sharpie

- Ruler or Steel Rule

Theo Jansen Leg Kit:

Also stated in the CAD Drawing PDF, the kit requires you to print out:

*Note: This is PER LEG! I am printing out 6 legs so that there is always 2 sets of legs always touching the ground
           at all times. You may print this set out for a demonstration model, or times all these numbers by however many
           legs you want.

- (x4)TheoJansenA
- (x2)TheoJansenB
- (x2)TheoJansenC
- (x2)TheoJansenE
- (x2)TheoJansenF
- (x4)TheoJansenG
- (x2)TheoJansenH
- (x2)TheoJansenI
- (x4)TheoJansenJ
- (x4)TheoJansenK
- (x8)TheoJansen Washer
- (x2)TheoJansen Rotating Bar

Step 2: Origional Design

Where I found my dimensions was on this image. I used these dimensions and scaled the legs to what i wanted. Then I plotted the ligaments to where I wanted them and made two "Legs" that would be able to connect with each other on the crank shaft. I will refer to this design as a leg, and the two sets of legs as an Assembly. The whole final project I will call the Mechanism. 

*Note: I replace letter "D" with "A", and I leave out letter "L". Letter "M" is titled "Rotating Bar"

Step 3: 3D Printing!

In this step, I will show you how to 3D Print your kit using CatalystEX. This step may not apply to you if you do not own this program or have a Dimension uPrint 3D Printer, so you can skip this step if you want. I would read over this though for your own personal reference on certain setting I have for resolution and for scaling. 

*Note: The steps have no particular order in this program, so I will have them posted on the photos themselves.

Step 4: Cutting the Joints

In this step we will be cutting the rods for the Leg joints and the Crank Shaft Assembly.

-(step1) First, take your ruler and line it up with your 3/32" rod
-(step2) Next, mark 1-1/4" with a sharpie on the rod
-(step3) Clamp the rod into the vice
-(step4) Lightly take the hack saw and pull back on the mark, then lift up and keep pulling back until you establish a path to cut
-(step5) Proceed in cutting the joint
-(step6) Repeat "steps 1-5" 5 times, in total you should have '(x5) 1-1/4" x 3/32" rod'
-(step7) use same process and measure out the following:
             *(x2) 1" x 3/32"
             *(x1) 1-1/2" x 3/32"
             *(x1) 2" x 3/32"
             *(x1) 2-1/2" x 3/32"
             *(x1) 2-3/4" x 3/32"
             *(x6) 5/8" x 3/16"
             *(x2) 1" x 3/16"

Step 5: Assembling the Leg

For this step, follow the photos in order.
You can achieve this step too by using the schematic and assembling it your own way as well.



  • Toys Contest

    Toys Contest
  • Big and Small Contest

    Big and Small Contest
  • First Time Author

    First Time Author