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How to model articulated action figurine for 3d printing

How to model articulated action figurine for 3d printing

  • English
  • Design
  • Art and IllustrationArt and Illustration
  • (5000)
  • Project length: 9h 26m



  • As the project name implies in this tutorial we will be designing Futurama's Bender articulated figurine for 3D printing. It will have fully articulated arms and legs (these will utilize multiple ball joints and clip in connections between shoulder part and body). Swivel joint will be used for the neck, again using clip-in connections between the neck joint and head/torso.
  • I will use two materials for our parts: full colour (like for example Shapeways " full-colour sandstone") and plastic material for all movable parts. Each part will be designed to fit within materials design guidelines. I will be starting with basic sketches to use as a reference during the project and address some important points when designing joints for movable parts. In the end, we will be organizing all of the individual parts in a manner suitable for printing on online services, in this particular example, I will be using Shapeways, but the same principles apply to other 3D printing services.

What are the requirements? It would be good to have basic knowledge in:

  • Polygonal modelling and UV-Unwrapping in 3Ds Max
  • Adobe Photoshop for the purpose of creating textures
  • Familiarity with 3D printing
  • Familiarity with basic mechanical principles
  • I will be creating some drawings in the Adobe Illustrator, but it is not mandatory that you have a knowledge of that program

What is the target audience?

  • Anyone that wants to learn how to create cool and functional figurines for 3D printing.

Project Outline

Session 1 - Concept:

In this session I will be analyzing the design, talking about my thought process, creating some reference sketches for later use during the modelling and discussing design choices I will be making and why. I will be using Adobe Illustrator for this purpose.

Session 1.1 - Concept:

  • Continuation of the Session 1

Session 2 - Modeling the head and the torso:

We will begin by modelling torso and head inside 3Ds Max:

  • Setting-up the scene: units, references, etc.
  • Building the shapes from primitives using various tools

Session 2.1 - Modeling the head and the torso:

This session will be a continuation of the previous lecture.

Session 3 - Modeling and Texturing:

  • Unwrapping the parts and texturing

Session 3.1 - Texturing:

  • Creating textures with Photoshop

Session 4 - Modeling the neck joint

  • Creating the neck joint assembly.
  • Making sure that everything fits nicely and that it will work once produced

Session 4.1 - Modeling the neck joint

  • Continuation of the previous session.

Session 5 - Modeling the arms

Creating the arms:

  • Similar approach as with neck joint, we will be designing the arm assembly and addressing some potential issues that could arise from our choices.

Session 5.1 - Modeling the arms

  • Continuation of the previous session

Session 5.2 - Modeling the arms and legs

  • Finishing the arms
  • And starting with the legs

Session 5.3 - Modeling the legs

  • Finalizing the legs

While pretty much the same as the arms, feet and connecting points with the torso will have to be designed.

Session 6 - Preparing and exporting for 3D printing

  • Grouping/organizing parts for purpose of 3D printing,
  • Exporting and uploading everything on Shapeways.
  • Running online check and verifying that our model is good for printing.


Average rating

4(5000 Reviews)