by gzumwalt, published

Carousel by gzumwalt May 20, 2013

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Miniature Carousel.

A miniature carousel designed using Sketchup8 (free version), and printed with both Makerware and ReplicatorG on a MakerBot Replicator2. The design is very tolerant of low infill and single shell printing, thus minimizing plastic consumption as well as build time.

I've now built four of these, two using Makerware, and two using ReplicatorG. While ReplicatorG did a slightly better job, Makerware was slightly faster. Both worked, albeit with some additional trimming using a modeling knife with the Makerware print.

The first photo is of the Makerware version at .15 layer height and 1 shell. The second photo is of the Makerware version at default medium print settings. As can be seen, decreasing the layer height from the Makerware default medium print settings layer height of .27 to .15 improves the looks, however the build time is increased.

Video of prototype at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wqBTI5HUPs.


1) Carefully examine Carousel.skp. You will need to print 6 Flag.stl (well, you do not really need the flags, but the wife wanted them, so if you do too, then print one for each horse and one for the top of Canopy.stl), 5 Horse.stl, 1 Base.stl, 1 Bottom.stl, 1 Top.stl and 1 Canopy.stl. Print your parts in the color(s) of your choice then assemble following the Carousel.skp diagram.

2) Buy this motor: 6VDC 45 RPM Pinky Finger Sized Gear Motor 1" Long x 15/32" x 3/8" from either amazon.com or directly from http://sciplus.com/p/MICROMOTOR_47952 (this is the same motor I used in the Marbelvator design). In this application, I run the motor at 1.5 VDC and as such the motor requires 10 to 20 ma to run which is suitable for a small power supply, battery and/or solar panel use. Solder the obligatory red and black wires (about 4 inches each) to the motor plus and minus terminals respectively. Slide the motor into Base.stl, wires first, such that the motor wire terminals are parallel with the large rectangle at the bottom of Base.stl. Route the wires through the wire trough on the bottom of Base.stl. If you cannot find a 1.5 VDC power supply, use a 3 VDC power supply and use two 1N4007 diodes (or equivalent) to reduce the voltage.

3) I found if you print using Makerware, you will need to trim the flag staff and horse insert with a modeling knife.

4) It is helpful to test fit the motor output shaft on Top.stl before assembly. Make sure the motor shaft flat aligns with the flat in the hole in Top.stl before insertion.

5) If you have questions, place a comment and I'll try my best to answer them.

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Hi I am a big fan of all your design!

I actually did not quite get how the motor can be attached to the bottom (not the base) to rotate. How does that turn it??

Apr 11, 2016 - Modified Apr 11, 2016
gzumwalt - in reply to qubick

Thank you very much!

The motor is mounted to the base, the top, canopy and bottom parts are mounted on the motor shaft. When the motor turns, the top, canopy and botom parts rotate, forcing the horses to ride up and down over the base waveform.

Hope that helps, and thanks again!


I printed this carousel today and just love it. Question - where can I purchase the motor and could you please provide some instructions for adding the motor? Thank you so much for sharing this awesome design!

I purchased this motor: 6VDC 45 RPM Pinky Finger Sized Gear Motor 1" Long x 15/32" x 3/8" from either amazon.com or directly from http://sciplus.com/p/MICROMOTOR_47952.

It slides in from the bottom of the base.


I made one as a christmas present, but I cant get it to constantly rotate - it keeps jamming. Any suggestions? I smoothed the bottom of the horses, and also tried a 0.1mm on the base so that it is smooth, but with no change,
Sometimes it works better backwards...

Whew, I'm glad you figured it out on your own! This design was quite awhile ago and I was going to have to dig well back in my aging memory to help!

Glad you figured it out!

Hope you like it.

Fixed it. the shafts of the horses had blobs that were binding

Any chance on other animals?

They are fairly easy to make and print. What did you have in mind?

i dunno mayb like lions tigers elephants giraffe camels monkeys or something i dunno. what do u think?

My daughter wants dolphins. When I make them, I'll upload the files.

If i make this max size would i need a diff motor?

The motor is currently pulling 10 to 20ma so I would say you could increase the size and still use the same motor.

ok so all i need is the motor?

You'll need the motor, some wire and soldering equipment. If you build it as sized, it works fine. I've built 7 now without a problem. It's an easy print.

the print isnt what iam worried about lol its the other stuff

You will need the motor, some wire, soldering equipment and a power supply as described, plus a 3D printer and PLA. If you've got that, you've got it made.

I was just wondering if it would be difficult to use a wind-up mechanism from some cheap wind up toys... Will print it tomorrow, try to get a couple dollars toy and try to fit it somehow.

Wind up motor would work, but the carousel would have to be redesigned for it to fit.

How does the output shaft move the carrosell

The output shaft of the motor is inserted into a hole in the center of the underside of Top.stl. Bottom.stl is attached to Top.stl via the 5 vertical supports. When the shaft rotates, Top.stl and Bottom.stl thus rotate together. Canopy.stl is for decoration and just goes along for the ride.



This is a very easy build with a short build time and snap together construction.

Hope you like it.

Looks great but those motors are very expensive.


Yes they are very expensive. I've tried less expensive motor / gearboxes and find the same disadvantages; noise and higher speeds. I'm still looking. If anyone locates one, let me know and I'll try it out.

Hi Gzumwalt, Your designs are absolutely Fantastic! Thankyou very much for posting!
If it helps any... don't get your motors from SciPlus - they're a rip-off!
Try these at Deals Extreme -

From what I can see these are the same as the SciPlus ones, but only $6.60 USD.
I got the one with the additional plastic part included for the motorized marble machine - works great!

I'm printing this Carousel now as I type! :) Thankyou again!

Thank you for your kind words and motor source!

Regarding measuring motor current, I place a 1 ohm 10 watt resistor in series with the motor circuit and place the scope probes across the resistor. 1mA of current will be represented by 1mv on the scope. I use a digital scope that has memory, averaging and peak detection which assists in analyzing the performance of the designs I build that are motorized.

Hope this helps and thanks again for your kind words!

Any way you think a printed gearbox would work with a cheap motor?
I am guessing its too small for that.

I have printed many gearboxes. They work, but they are not as small, and with PLA, they are very noisy. I am still working on a quiet design, but it's not yet ready.

Great! Keep me informed. Have you tried Nylon?

Iv'e not tried nylon.

I believe the problem is the nature of 3D printing in that the "layers" make the noise. Sanding off these layers on a gear form is difficult without changing the geometry of the gear teeth, which contributes to even more noise. Still working on it though.