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Ball-joint articulated octopus

by Ellindsey, published

Ball-joint articulated octopus by Ellindsey Dec 10, 2014

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Summary

This started out as an exercise in making the smallest ball joint tentacle that I could get to print reliably on my printer. It turned into a cute little octopus when I decided to make a fun gift out of the tentacles. It's surprisingly annoying and time-consuming to build, since each segment needs to be hand-trimmed of support and carefully snapped into the next, but the resulting toy has a lot of flexibility and posability.

Printing the segments in all different colors to make a rainbow octopus is optional but highly recommended.

Update 4/5 - I was experimenting with some freehand sculpting tools, and created a big-eyed alien head for the octopus that I've uploaded.

Update 4/7 - added a fantasy steampunk submarine version of the main body.

Update 4/9 - skull body remixed from http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4126

Instructions

Print one body piece, one of the x8 tentacle end prints, and 7 or so of the x8 tentacle segment prints. You can print more or less of the segments depending on how long you want the tentacles to be. The tentacle segments and tentacle ends have support material already added which you will need to trim away after printing. I have also included individual tentacle segment and end pieces with and without support.

The center body is provided in two versions. One with support material, and one clean version without support if you prefer to have your slicer program add support.

I printed the center body at 15% infill, and the tentacle segments at 100% infill for strength and because there's hardly any volume to them anyway.

Carefully press each ball on a tentacle segment or end into a tentacle socket or socket on the central body to make all the tentacles.

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i really like this design. I would like to modify it in 2 ways.. one is i would like to put a hole in the tentecle segments for placing ofa a bendable wire which can be used for support and to give more clinging strenth (as option). Also to make a body base that has a flat platform with a camer screw attached.. to allow for the mounting of cameras tothe base. And as a side benefit.. it would allow for the changing of octopus(or other heads) that people create that have the standard camera mount underneath.

I have this horrible cramp running right through my hand from all the filing and cutting and trimming!

A very good toy, took us a while to print all parts but was totally worth it! Also good bed levelling is very important when printing so many small parts.

I love this design. It was a little hard to put together when I made it in PLA, but totally worth it.

Excellent design. I was looking for a surprise toy to make my grand daughter and this is perfect.I found the pieces with the supports added too difficult to clean up (supports are a bit thick), so I used the non-supported pieces and created my own supports. I recently bought Simplify3D which made the process fairly easy once I figured it out. I highly recommend the product.

I love your design! It is far and away my favorite print yet in my 2 months of printing. Thank you very much for sharing!

Hey did you see your octopus (pieces of it, at least) is on the page for the new Polaroid 3D printer? http://howpolaroidareyou.com/printer

How much does this weigh I want to print it at a local 3D printing service but would like to know how much it will cost?

When I printed half size (Cura) in ABS it was hard to fit together and overstressed the female ends of tentacles. So I printed full size in Bridge Nylon and it worked a treat. Thanks for a great model.

My printer does not want to print the support under the body except for the very tip at the rear. Is there a way I can set Slic3r to print the support wall?

My daughters (ages 8 and 9) saw this and begged me to print it. So I did, and they love it. One suggestion, though. They really want to put stick-on googly eyes on them, but with the design of the octopus eyes they just won't stay. Could you make a version with flat eyes or even slightly recessed and flat for use with googly eyes?

Unfortunately the original body was done in an old copy of AutoCad, and editing 3D objects once they've been drawn is tricky in that software. I've switched over to Solidworks for all my drawing now, but I can dig up those old files and see what I can do with them.

Hi,
I (and my 8yo daughter) love this but I have a problem or 2...
Printed this yesterday on my Prusa i3, white PLA, 0.2mm layers at 210 and 60 bed.
The underside of the body probably needs more support as there is a bit of distortion...
Also, I need to print another body as I broke the joint... Grrrr....

does the steampunk need support?

Almost certainly, it has a lot of overhang.

The design is very cool, many thanks. But how on heart do you make pieces fit together ? I tried sandpaper, and then they snap in, but then it is also too easy to take them out. Any tip advise? I'm printing on PLA. I have read that some people tried to make the pieces fit using some hot water. It worked, but again, the pieces snap out easy, maybe even easier.

Thanks to any advise, and thank you for the model.

I would kill for a spider body to go with this. Any chance you would make one of those?

I'll try Cura this time around. And look into checking the stl's out before hand.

Also use a gcode viewer (there are online sites that do this in your browser even) to take a look at the output of your slicer, that way you can tell if the "sliding deck of cards" effect is the result of your slicer or something that your printer is doing.

I've printed off a few things now with no repeated effects. But it will do it in the exact same spot and height. Maybe its a glitch with software and hardware combo. Its got me stumped. Might try a different software or slicer. What software do you use?

Might be? I use Cura for my slicer, and Netfabb Studio to perform checks on STL files before printing them. I have a scratch-built Delta type printer using Repetier firmware.

Pretty Sweet, I made 2 very nice ones, I'll take pics of them. I used PLA and fine settings with no skirts and .1 for infill. I also scaled it up to have the arms about the diameter of the average thumb but is prints it off like a sliding deck of cards when i scale it. So I am still toying with making a giant version. Any Idea why it would print like a sliding deck of cards when scaled?

That sounds like a hardware problem with your printer, like your X belt is slipping or skipping steps. I don't see how this part would specifically cause that problem - the tesselation on the outside is a bit uneven and coarse in spots due to Autocad having trouble with complex surfaces, but that shouldn't cause a hardware problem when printing. Do you have the same problem when printing other objects of that size?

This comment has been deleted.

the body whould not fit whith the other bits :(

I got blista's on me finga's. But yeah... Great model. Thanks!

I printed it in ABS mainly because that is all I work with and the fit is absolutely perfect if you have your machine calibrated correctly. The arms hold their positions good at every joint.

Do the balls fit nicely in the joints as it is? Or are there some adjustments needed?

PLA make it a bit more difficult then : I managed to get seven tentacle perfect and then broke a connector on the main body. Since I printed it in 0.1mm and I have a pretty slow printer, the main body took me a bit of time to print...

So I welded the tentacle in place.

Feb 22, 2015 - Modified Feb 22, 2015

I can't seem to get the pieces to fit together at all, it's painful and too hard -- the pieces are too small to grip.

I really like this though.

I built one looks great ! Made the arm joints red, white & blue...Patrioctopus...funny eh?
When the kids give it back I'll post a picture.

Now you need to make a Spider version of this model!

I would agree. A spider body would be awesome!

This comment has been deleted.
Feb 10, 2015 - Modified Feb 14, 2015
MacGyver - in reply to

Is there ANY IDIOT that would actually fall for this crap?

EDIT: They deleted their comment. Move along nothing to see here.

I snapped the segments together and worked the rough edges off the balls.
After working them a few times, I took the loosest ones and put them on the sockets
on the body. It's easier to assemble if you have several segments built up first to
give a good handle to install the new segment to the body or to extend the chain.
You can also dip them in PVC glue, it's got Acetone and THF and some dissolved
PVC to tighten up a PLA joint. It's not enough to glue or freeze a joint.

Feb 5, 2015 - Modified Feb 5, 2015

looks awesome but i have printed 2 test parts the tip an a mid peace and they are not holding position like in your pic, they are moving freely and even this two pieces don't hold against gravity.. :-/ now i print the whole in a other color and lest tomorrow see how it turned but after measuring you 3D model there is a gap in the joint of the ball and the clip :-/, this is why the parts are not holding, there should be no gap or even a negativ gap where the clip is expanded to get a nice hold i think... at least on a good calibrated printer :P the tentacle parts seams to print nice without support so no need to clean the parts :D
but i have an idea to also make it look nicer and could print even smaller like thing: 43272 maybe i make new tentacles if i got some time..

or is this how it should be? they move freely in end positions i can clamp them to stay there? What material have you used? with PLA its very very hard to snap the parts in and nearly all are cracking on one siede and 3 are completely broken by sapping in..

Making ball joints that can move freely yet hold position, and that are also easy to assemble without cracking, is nearly impossible, especially with PLA. The ball joints on this model were designed after a lot of trial and error, to be reasonably easy to assemble without cracking if you are careful and move reasonably well. This is really tricky to do, PLA doesn't have much give and cracks easily. The gap in the joint between the ball and the socket is necessary to be able to assemble it and have it move at all - if I print it with no gap at all, the parts are locked together and can't move at all. The price for being able to assemble and easily move the parts is that they don't hold position all that reliably. There's really no way around that at this scale and with this material.

I've found that printing the segments with the support material, and not trimming all of said material off tends to work pretty well, at least with my printrbot and the four brands of PLA I've been using (printrbot OE, Foxsmart, filament outlet, and hatchbox).

While I got blisters on my finger the the first time, I found that locking the part I'm working on in a small vise-grip stiyle pliers to perform the trim and assemble steps seems to work ok.

connecting the tentacle to the body works as well, just go slow and use a constant amount of pressure to pop the joint into place.

Just my $0.02!

this might possibly be the coolest thing I have ever seen.

printed 2 of these for my kids came out awesome thanks

Awesome!!!!!!!!!!

Awesome!!!!!!!!!!

That's incredible! I love the way that the arms are all the right length and they all bend just perfectly as well!

Thanks! Love it. Had some trouble with Slic3r (which is a bit persnickity). Wouldn't let me print more than two segments at a time. To fix, I post-processed tentacle_segment.stl in Meshlabs (ran "Remove Faces from non-manifold edges" and "Remove T-vertices by edge collapse" filters). Printed at 0.2mm. Didn't need supports for anything except the body.

I haven't finished printing all the tentacles yet, but I took a hair dryer with a directional adapter and heated the end tips slightly so that I could bend them and make them a tiny bit more curled/flexed at the tips.

The Ancient One has returned! Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

I'm currently printing this right now at 2.0 scale right now. ill post pics when its done.
Great Print! Thank you very much

Well this is the most recent thing to make me loudly proclaim, "Look at this thing!"

Great design im new to the whole 3d printing thing

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