by Zaggo, published

Whistle by Zaggo Sep 23, 2009

Featured Thing!


Better Living with MakerBot, Episode 2
You probably all know this situation:
You're supposed to ref a soccer game in less than 1/2 an hour and you cannot find your whistle. You're screwed!

But from now on you're out of trouble: Fire up your trusty MakerBot and print a new whistle in 26 minutes!

This object prints the pea right inside the whistle. Since the pea is connected to the rest of the object only at one tiny point, it's quite easy to break it loose after printing with a small screw driver or tweezers.

I probably pushing luck a little bit with bridging the top layer. So far I printed the whistle twice without problems.

As always, I added the object as .obj file (wavefront), which can be imported into AOI and Blender.

The gcode file is the one I used to print the whistle on the image. The gcode file contains an experimental raft with additional "blobs" on the second (interface) layer.
You might want to generate your own gcode file with skeinforge settings, tested with your MakerBot. Be sure to setup Skeinforge to create an (almost) watertight object, since the whistle won't whistle if it's full of holes...

I added a second version of the whistle. "Whistle_v2" is an attempt to fine tune the object a little bit. My brother (he's a pipe organ builder) gave me some tips how to optimize the whistles mouth. Whistle v2 should start whistle with less airflow than v1 and thus be (somewhat) less loud. I also downsized the pea a little bit and changed the shape of the lanyard loop.

Whistle v1 is still available for reference and also since it's more "tested"...

Since you blow the whistle with your mouth, be aware of possible problems concerning "food safety" of printed plastic. See the blog post "For foodies out there" ( blog.thingiverse.com/2009/09/13/for-foodies-out-there/ ) for more information.

Recent Comments

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I've also had a few problems with this printing as well. I have a makerbot replicator 2 and can't get the settings right for it to even make a sound. Anyone have any suggestions?

Can you folks that have printed this share your secret? I can not for the life of me get slic3r to slice this.


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Give a Shout Out

If you print this Thing and display it in public proudly give attribution by printing and displaying this tag. Print Thing Tag


- Print the whistle
- Use tweezers or a small screw driver to break loose the pea inside the whistle
- Annoy your neighbors by blowing your new whistle


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apru on Jan 11, 2014 said:

Can you folks that have printed this share your secret? I can not for the life of me get slic3r to slice this.

jamesschmit on Jan 14, 2014 said:

I've also had a few problems with this printing as well. I have a makerbot replicator 2 and can't get the settings right for it to even make a sound. Anyone have any suggestions?

hayedid on Nov 5, 2013 said:

Sliced with slice3r at 0.1mm thickness. Very loud. Printed great on a QU-BD RXL.

DotScott1 on Oct 20, 2013 said:

This thing is awesome! I can't believe how well the top printed. Very nice!

jasperash on Apr 29, 2013 said:

using slic3r and pronterface, cant print, 0 infill gives me a hollow, no slots whistle, 100 infill give me a solid brick. please advise

olias on Apr 25, 2013 said:

What settings are you using in Slic3r? Mine print with infill even though (I think) I have infill turned off.

antoniotorres on Feb 23, 2013 said:

I printed it and unattach the pea inside, but the whisle didn't sound. What's wrong, could it be the infill? I was using 40% infill in slicer.

smnh58 on Feb 4, 2013 said:

Good thing!Does it need support?

hayedid on Nov 5, 2013 said:


hughht5 on Dec 11, 2012 said:

v2 doesnt slice for me in Slic3r - fyi

DeuxVis on Sep 12, 2012 said:

For me both STLs are not manifold (that's what netfabb says).

They still slice - although with warnings - and print fine using skeinforge then.

MaximeBossens on Sep 3, 2012 said:

is PLA plastic safe to put in your mouth (like a whistle) ?

DTteacherfromhell on Sep 8, 2012 said:

PLA is perfectly safe. Its just starch.

FalconFour on Jul 28, 2012 said:

Okay, what the hell am I missing?

"Whie v2.stl" is non-manifold, so slic3r won't touch it. So I de-bork it in netfabb, netfabb won't fix it (... wat?) - keeps acting like there's still a "!" (no clue what that means exactly, but generally it means "i'm not happy") even after repairing. So I export it and it AGAIN tells me it's non
-manifold and gives me another option to autofix it. Now slic3r is happy...

I had it print, and it started off with the tone-hole towards the printbed first. Weird. I let it finish printing... and indeed I did actually get a nice looking print.

Except for one SMALL problem... THERE IS NO BLOW-HOLE
AT ALL! Lol... seriously, in the GCode it's filled straight through without even stopping for a solid layer. And the bead, now that was interesting... when I came back to check on the print, it somehow managed to print the bead in middle of thin air. Like... literally wedged into the side of the pr
int, as if it were being printed on its side. What the heck.

How did all of this go SO wrong from the basic "whie.stl" that thousands of others have printed? The hell am I missing?

spencer on Aug 6, 2013 said:

Yes, all the faces have the wrong orientation and there are some overlapping faces at the sides of the blow hole. Slic3r seems particularly finicky about manifold models, so I'm not surprised it wouldn't slice.

jjbudz on Jun 26, 2012 said:

Thanks for the whistle design. My wife forgot to pick one up at REI the night before my son's backpacking trip. The 3d printed whistle worked great and save the day!

doctordlo on May 18, 2012 said:

check out the youtube tiime lapse video I made when we printed the whistle.


darkomen on Apr 28, 2012 said:

I just printed a whistle, but it solid! i don't know why!

k1nc41d on Jun 1, 2012 said:

I got the same thing printing with Sclic3r. I had to run the stl through http://cloud.netfabb.com/ to fix it. After that it worked great!

FisHNorway on Apr 28, 2012 said:

Maybe you printed it with infill?

toehead on Jan 15, 2012 said:

Printed perfectly with no cleanup. Loud as anything! Thanks!

eried on Oct 12, 2011 said:

Very nice design!, this is my first print :)


faberdasher on Aug 8, 2011 said:

This is a classic! :-D Hope it's OK with you but I have featured it on a blog.


Anonymous on Jul 19, 2011 said:

Awesome! I first tried generating my own GCode and I ended up with to many extra strands inside, had to half destroy the whistle trying to get them out and then it still didn't make a sound. Your G-Code worked perfectly though, and I've since tweaked my skeinforge settings to get something similar myself.

syvwlch on Jul 3, 2011 said:

I scaled up the classic Zaggo whistle V2 as large as I could fit on the build platform.

Took six hours to print and weights 74.1 grams. Call it $3.56 :-)

Works you don't have to blow hard, but you do need a lot of air. Makes a hooting sound, kinda.

119mm long not counting the loop for the lanyard, and the mouth is 55.5mm wide.

xnaron on Jun 29, 2011 said:

Works great...so loud it hurts my ears!

lostcook on Apr 6, 2011 said:

I have had very little success with this one. Every time I try this the blow chamber gets blocked by the trail of plastic as it builds the top for the upper lip. Strings of plastic are through out the chamber. Very frustrating. Is the only way this will work is if I upgrade to the v6 extruder? Are the walls of the whistle supposed to be hollow?

I have gone through the calibration Dave Durant’s Profileinator program among other tweaks suggested below.

Any help would be appreciated.

Whistleless (Lostcook) :(

Anonymous on Jul 19, 2011 said:

I have an MK5, gen3 electronics and I haven't installed my heated build platform yet. When I was trying to generate my own gcode didn't have much luck either at first. Took much fiddling to get it right. The provided Gcode worked right out of the gate though..

JakeV on Mar 30, 2011 said:

I paused the print and pulled the ball out and cleaned it up. I found that this worked better, and was easier.

My room mate hates this one! haha

jwnavagus on Mar 21, 2011 said:

I have printed like 6 or 7 of these. I do have a mk6 stepper extruder but it is an awesome design. I have even stopped one half way through to show people how it looks inside. The pea is great, when my kids turn red blowing hard so they can hear the siren effect. I break the pea out with a knife to add to the danger. 8-) Safety Orange Rules them all.

Keavon on Mar 21, 2011 said:

New derivation with roof support for people having trouble printing!


davidm99 on Jan 10, 2011 said:

Chose the whistle2 as our first prints (Makerbot Cupcake w/ MK5) and was unable to make one successfully. Without fail, after about 5-7 mm, the nozzle would try to print part of the handle, create a bit of a blob and then get caught up as the machine attempted to move the Y axis. This would cause the Y to skip a couple of mm and create a split whistle. This happened about 4 consecutive times before we gave up. Thought it was a calibration / Skeinforge issue, but after running a number of other prints (cube, keychain, tube squeezer, tower, etc.) 100% successfully, I'm not sure what the problem is. Any ideas?

coasterman on Jan 13, 2011 said:

You need to insert an SD card into your cupcake cnc machine, then click "Upload To SD Card" in ReplicatorG and then wait for it to finish, then click "Build From SD Card" and select the file that you uploaded to it.

What's happening is the commands are being executed faster than they can travel over the USB line, so the machine slows and gets stuck there, making a blob as the plastic continues to come out. The SD card allows the commands to bypass the USB line and no more blobs!

mctrivia on Jun 14, 2010 said:

pretty cool. Only problem is it is difficult to remove the excess plastic from the pee. as an alternative you could design as to separate pieces and in the gcode add a long pause just before printing the top to let you drop in the nicely cleaned pea.unfortunetly this would mean if printing headless you would have to watch the end of the print. if attached you can wait for the users response.

Misguided on May 10, 2010 said:

Awesome! Tried printing from the gcode (v1) to see if my failed prints were due to my hardware or due to bad skeinforge settings. And surprisingly (to me) it printed fine on my Makerbot! Well, almost fine, extruder missed a few bits causing the whistle to almost split in half, but some superglue will fix that.

Zaggo, would you mind sharing the settings you used to generate the gcode?


Zaggo on May 10, 2010 said:


"would you mind sharing the settings you used to generate the gcode?"

I'd love to, but I'm afraid that's not possible. I changed a lot stuff since then, including my computer, at least 2 or 3 Skeinforge updates, several firmware updates, a switch to raftless printing after building a heated build
platform and last but not least my own custom-made extruder nozzles.

Since I forgot to backup my original settings (used for this and other early objects of mine), I don't have access to these settings. And due to some of the above changes, I don't think that my current settings are valid for any
other Makerbot operators (and my current settings aren't very good anyway, I'm afraid).


Angryant on Feb 4, 2010 said:

Thanks for this difficult print, it has been a great way to tweak the settings of my cupcake :)

ssd on Jan 8, 2010 said:

Note that because of the tall thin walls, this object is tricky to print if your machine and skeinforge are not calibrated against each other. The walls will blob badly and eventually knock the part off, especially for the free wall in the mouthpiece.

Also, some parameter variations on skeinforge with towering turned on will cause the nozzle to go *though* the pea after it has been towered, which may also knock it off the platform. So look for this in skeinview. Unfortunately, without towering, it makes strings everywhere which have to be cleaned up before it works.

Once I got my machine calibrated, this printed well.

TroyGeek on Jan 7, 2010 said:

Used both versions of your code for my first print both failed several times. I don't tthink it is the code I think it is the cupcake cnc. All of the prints look great (to me anyway) until it prints the little hole for the chain. The plastic globs up and hardens and causes the cupcake CNC to loose step and then it's all over. I am printing straight from the USB and not the sd card I'm not sure it the machine is slowing down or pausing, because I have nothing for reference. I don't know if the plastic is too hot or too cold. it seems to be coming out fine..Anyone have any ideas? I am creating my own gcode and going to try some other parts like the ipod dock tomorrow. Any help would be appreciated.


davidm99 on Jan 10, 2011 said:

Did you ever resolve this issue? I'm experiencing exactly the same thing that you did...

Anonymous on Oct 28, 2009 said:

You should upload an audio recording of the whistle somewhere - maybe the freesound website?

Anonymous on Sep 26, 2009 said:

I printed one but sadly it doesn't work :(. I guess I have a bit more tuning to do. I'll post a picture once I've gotten a working print.

It's awesome anyway though!

Zaggo on Sep 26, 2009 said:

Be sure to print the bottom
amp; top more or less "watertight", i.e. set Skeinforge's Fill preferences to "Solid Surface Thickness (layers)" to 2.

jrombousky on Sep 26, 2009 said:

This is so awesome. I am gonna print one just to show how much better my life is with a 3d printer.

Anonymous on Sep 24, 2009 said:

This printed great, and it's LOUD. Great work and thanks a bunch. Everyone has been impressed with it.

vik on Sep 24, 2009 said:

I built one but it looks like it could do with just a little bit more plastic on the top layer. If air leaks through that, the whistle doesn't sound.

I just added some superglue. Made sure it was dry before placing in mouth...

Vik :v)

Anonymous on Sep 24, 2009 said:

When I sliced it with 0.5mm filament / 0.4mm slices I found the pea was floating so I dropped down to 0.4mm filament / 0.32mm slices. That gives an air tight top and can still be made with a 0.5mm nozzle.

Anonymous on Sep 24, 2009 said:

Scaled down by 10% gives it a somewhat higher pitch. I guess we could create all sorts of musical instruments :)

Anonymous on Sep 23, 2009 said:

Non-manifold objects will regrettably be common whenever mesh modeling is used. Current versions of Skeinforge seem to cope with a lot of non-manifold results effortlessly, which in some ways just makes the problem worse.

Solid Hierarchical modeling packages would produce fewer non-manifold objects. However, I have yet to see an open-source hierarchical modeling package that is up to the task.

vik on Sep 24, 2009 said:

BRL-CAD is probably up to it. Shame the GUI is almost as bad as Blender's :)

Vik :v)

nophead on Sep 23, 2009 said:

Brilliant object. I would love to print one but it is non-manifold and the ancient version of Skeinforge that I use does not like it. It seems to be an increasing problem that a lot of the STL files on Thingiverse are non-manifold. I presume it is due to people using Blender.

Zaggo on Sep 23, 2009 said:

Sorry for that.

I'm using Cinema 4D to design my objects and export the STL files directly from there.

The whistle is modeled with some extruded splines and a bunch of boolean operations. I guess Cinema 4D converts the model to a non-manifold mesh when exporting to STL.

I noticed, that most of the time Skeinforge throws errors/warnings during carving my STL files when I set "Mesh Type" to "Correct Mesh" (the resulting gcode file seems to be ok anyway).
So I started to use Skeinforge with "Mesh Type" set to "Unproven Mesh". This seems to take a little bit longer b
ut there are no errors or warnings when carving in that mode (I guess, this is also the mode, Skeinforge fallback to, when an error occurs in "Correct Mesh" mode).

What version of Skeinforge is your tool chain based on? Maybe I can play around with that old version and try to find export settings t
o produce more backwards compatible STL files...

Anonymous on Sep 23, 2009 said:

This is great! I'm going to go print one out in the Gizmodo gallery in about an hour!

Anonymous on Sep 23, 2009 said:


nophead on Sep 24, 2009 said:

Why do some of these post have avatars and others not?

Anonymous on Sep 23, 2009 said:

I was wondering whether this would work! I'm going to print one right after the current print job completes :)

I nominate this thing as highly best demonstration of what can be done with FFF or FDM!

Anonymous on Sep 23, 2009 said:

B.t.w. it works great! It's a bit too loud to be whistling all the time, sadly. =-X

syvwlch on Sep 23, 2009 said:

Very, very cool, from concept, to execution, to final use. :-)