Mars Curiosity Rover

by ThePlanetMike, published

Mars Curiosity Rover by ThePlanetMike Aug 3, 2012

Featured Thing!


Curiosity is the biggest, baddest, laser-wielding, plutonium-powered, robot-rover ever sent to Mars. On Sunday, August 5, 2012 it survived a dangerous landing that secured Mars exploration hopes for a decade. It will help answer the question of whether or not we are alone in the universe. Why not print this fearless hero for your desk?

(Excellent paint job and photo courtesy of Adam1mc.)

Update 12/30/12: Fixed a lot of the parts in netfabb to better print on those picky printers. Leave a comment if you still have trouble.

Update 10/8/12: Freely spinning wheels! Just break them off and drive away - no extra pegs! Working rocker to allow the wheels to go over big Martian bumps while keeping all wheels on the ground! Updated head/neck connection that fits better and has fewer pieces.

Update 8/6/12: Updated body file that is much more accurate and detailed (with artistic license, of course).

Update 8/5/12: Fixed head file where one part was not touching the build platform.

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  1. Print all files: Head, Body, Wheels, and Arm. You may need to print with a raft because many pieces are very small.
  2. Blow some air across the print right as it is finishing the mast (neck). This will keep that hole printing round, otherwise, it might sag a little and you'll have to drill it out.
  3. Break the supports off the back of the wheels. They're just there for printing. The wheels won't be able to spin freely with those posts sticking out the back.
  4. Break the wheels loose by wiggling them back and forth, then gently twisting. Be careful not to wiggle them so hard that you also break off the axel. There's some play but not tons. They're only connected at the bottom.
  5. Break loose the rocker by gently twisting back and forth.
  6. Assemble the parts. The rocker part of the wheel mount goes to the back. You can pose this lady in your favorite martian scene!
  7. Watch the landing videos or watch the awesome simulation videos from NASA. Check out the latest images of what Curiosity has discovered on Mars!

Leave feedback and ideas in the comments!

Want to design a funny new head for Curiosity? The mast hole is 8mm in diameter.

Amazing Creativity!!!

very good for making things ride it

Thanks for creating this! Great design - worked very well for a new printperson. Working on uploading a photo.

What kind of paint did you use? Paint doesn't stick to ABS very well. Did you prime it?

Adam1mc did this fine paint job. You should ask him!

Anybody else having the problem where the neck doesn't print all the way to the top?  I've tried multiple times and it just prints to the top of the pedestal and skips the rounded connector part at the very top of the neck?

Using a new replicator 2, the other pieces print out fine. Thanks!

I fixed the neck in netfabb and it should work better for you now. Try downloading the latest version. Let me know if you have any further trouble.

Anyone able to print out the new Arm & Wheel files with any success? When I slice in slic3r only the left wheels and two of the right wheels print and the actual arm in the Arm file doesn't print at all. Cloud.netfabb is unable to fix and when I look at the STL file in Netfabb basic it identifies parts in each file as having a negative fill volume, but I'm not sure if I can fix it in there or not....

nevermind, I was able to use netfabb basic to invert the .stl files to get the pieces I needed to print.

I've updated all the files with ones fixed in netfabb, so this should no longer be an issue.

Printed without problems on the Makerbot Replicator and easily assembled. What a great model. Thanks!  

It appears netfabb is the answer, cloud or netfabb basic running on your machine. Either will fix these stls and make 'em printable. Would the current license for this thing tolerate me uploading the fixed stl files?

I think I've finally figured out netfabb, so I've updated all the files with fixed ones. Try it again, and let me know if you have any issues.

Yes. Please do! Just post it as a derivative. I'm learning how to use netfabb now to improve these problems with my models, and in the meantime I welcome others fixing them. :) Thank you!

Can someone advise me on how to fix this model so that I can generate printable gcode?

Upon import of the stl file for the left or right wheel set into Slic3r 0.9.2, the following error is reported:

" Warning: The input file contains a hole near edge 279.000000-280.000000 (not manifold). You might want to repair it and retry, or to check the resulting G-code before printing anyway. "

Just when the export of gcode from slic3r completes, it pops up another error:

" The model has overlapping or self-intersecting facets. I tried to repair it, however you might want to check the results or repair the input file and retry. "

When I bring the gcode file into pronterface and scan through the preview, the output looks nonsensical. The gcode also looks wrong in Pleasant3D. 

I tried bringing the stl into meshlab, but can't seem to divine a way to fix it that works (plus, I'm pushing the limits of my knowledge here).

Obviously many of you have managed to successfully print this entire thing. Have any of you run into these problems with the stl for the wheels, and can you help me find a solution?


I've updated all the files with ones fixed in netfabb, so hopefully this will solve your troubles. Try downloading these new versions, and let me know if you still have any problems.

Thanks for creating one of the coolest things in the Thingiverse! I printed four over the weekend to share with friends at NASA/JPL.

This is great! On my Replicator there is no sagging problem at all. The pegs require a little sanding. Overall you did a wonderful job. Thanks also to the guy who made a single file version. 8-)

Very Nice!

If you could upload the source that would be awesome!

Anyone working on adding the tread pattern to the wheels? I would love to see that!

I gave it to my gf who was an engineer who worked on the 100% scale version which is now residing on mars. She unwrapped it at exactly 10:32pm PST when the rover touched down and was thrilled. Thank you for you model and you can certainly use the image for the default.

This is such an awesome story. Makes it all worthwhile. Check out the latest files to give your gf an even more accurate version with better body detail, smoothly rolling wheels, and working rocker system!

The very first thing I thought off after hearing about the landing, is Thigiverse ;)

Nice Job!

Curiosity killed the Martian...

JPL/Nasa did an awesome job last night! Amazing! Thanks for this, I can't wait to print one up.

Printing today - thanks for creating a fun family activity!

I'm attempting to print it now. Ditto on MacGyver's comment. Looking good so far.

Curiosity_Rover_Head3.1.stl has a piece that is way above the build platform. Other than that the other pieces look fine and I'll probably print this thing soon.

Thank you for this feedback. It's now fixed!

Excellent! Now I'll definitely have to print this out.