by gzumwalt, published

Saber by gzumwalt Dec 20, 2015

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I no longer publish on Thingiverse. For those wishing the Sketchup Design Files for Saber, they are here: https://www.youmagine.com/designs/saber and here: https://www.myminifactory.com/object/26924. Both locations "saber.zip". Best wishes.

** UPDATE!!!**

The prototype Saber has been running a little over a year. By our calculations, taking 1 stride every 2 seconds equates to 30 strides a minute, 1800 strides per hour, 43,200 strides per day, and 15,768,000 strides per year. With a rear leg stride of 5 inches, that equates to approximately 1500 miles non stop (Saber runs on a bench with a UPS, and the shop has a 65kw backup generator, so Saber hasn't stopped for over a year).

Thanks Thingiverse for the feature of Saber! As always, I am truly humbled and honored. And many thanks to those who liked and collected Saber!


1) See UPDATES below for updates to the design and files.

2) The original Saber is motorized. If you wish to hand operate your Saber, I've uploaded a hand crank module that replaces the motorized module here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1368351.


Saber is my interpretation of, and was inspired by, the "Disney Computation Designs of Mechanical Characters" video, "Cyber Tiger" segment (link to video follows below).

If you are in the Dallas, Texas, USA area on January 31 through February 2 2016, and want to see Saber in person, attend the SolidWorks convention and visit the Ultimaker booth as Saber and some of my other Ultimaker 2 printed designs will be there, as will I. I would enjoy meeting all of you who attend.

As to the development of Saber, Thingiverse member sofiadragon1979 suggested that I design and print this thing after seeing "Perseverance" (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:348489) which was inspired by the same Disney video, and of course Sisyphus (thanks sofiadragon1979 for the suggestion!) . Not having access to the original details, plans nor software that Disney used, I took liberties in the design of the framework, gear train and arms by using my own software (now I know why trigonometry class was useful, who knew?) and design tools in order to better accommodate 3D printing. Standing almost 204mm (8") tall, and when fully extended 304mm (12") long (from head to toe), Saber is quite large, yet it was designed such that it is printed in smaller components in an effort to allow a wider variety of 3D printers to print it.

Saber is the most mechanically detailed Thingiverse thing I've published and is indeed a challenge to print and build, so please do not hesitate to comment if you have questions, problems, complaints, suggestions or whatever, and I'll do my best to address them.

I hope you build one, and I hope you enjoy it!

Video of Saber prototype is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSYqz6YY63c.

Some have expressed interest in the software I wrote to assist in the design of Saber. A short video of it simulating the front left leg design is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbzAQyXUwXs.

Video of Sabers made for friends and clients here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5f6ZmdwUVzE.

More Sabers here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCFsUsHfFYQ.

And last yet certainly not least, the inspirational Disney video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfznnKUwywQ.

Designed using my own software (to generate the framework, gear trains, cam, cap, axle and arm motions) and Sketchup Make 2015. The prototype was printed in PLA on a Makerbot Replicator 2 using Makerware "Standard" Settings (.2mm layer height, 2 shells, 10% infill). All subsequent Sabers were printed in PLA on an Ultimaker 2 Extended using Cura default settings.


Sorry for the update delay as my wife's father, a retired Detroit, MI. police officer, passed away during the December 2015 holidays. My wife and I dedicate Saber to his memory.

1) Uploaded new "Head Right.stl". Old one is not correct, sorry for any problems.

2) Uploaded new "Head Right.stl". Previous upload didn't work, sorry for any problems.

3) Uploaded close up gear train photo of Saber prototype showing the correct initial positioning for "Arm Axle.stl" components for the left side. The right side "Arm Axle.stl" components are rotated 180 degrees from those on the left side. The positions indicated in "Assembly.skp" and "Assembly.stl" are not correct and I will update both as soon as possible, sorry for the problem.

4) For those with large format printers, I've uploaded "Base One Piece.stl", a one piece base.


Parts I Purchased:

1) Motor: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009N81HES?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00.

2) Coaxial Power Jack: Radio Shack part number 274-1583.

3) 3.0 Vdc Power Supply: Radio Shack part number 273-315 with the "N" style plug 273-345, you get one free with the power supply.

Tools and supplies I used:

1) Rubber mallet.

2) Small vise.

3) Flat punch set.

4) Modeling knife.

5) Small files.

6) Sandpaper.

7) Slip joint pliers.

8) Needle nose pliers.

9) Thick cyanoacrylate glue.

10) Cyanoacrylate accelerator.


Print all pieces as shown in "Assembly.skp" or "Assembly.stl".

Test fit and trim, file, sand, etc. all parts as necessary for smooth movement of moving surfaces, and tight fit for non moving surfaces. Depending on the colors you chose and your printer settings, more or less trimming, filing and/or sanding will be required. If the tight fitting components are too loose, add a small dot of cyanoacrylate to each side of the pin, allow to dry completely (I use accelerator to speed the process), then try the fit again. Repeat until tight.

Assemble as per Assembly.skp (or Assembly.stl).

I started by pressing the two frame halves together ("Frame Left.stl" and "Frame Right.stl") and then one by one, inserted a gear ("Gear.stl") with its associated components (either "Arm Axle.stl", "Cap Axle.stl", or "Cap Axle Eccentric.stl") into the assembled frame and tested each gear assembly as I progressed to make absolutely sure each gear assembly rotated with almost zero effort and zero snags, and if it did not, I removed the most recently installed gear assembly and trimmed, filed, sanded, etc. until it did. Once completed, while holding onto "Cap Motor.stl", you should be easily able to spin the entire assembly by hand. If not, disassemble and repeat the process, as this is a very important step.

Another very important step, pay very exact attention to the initial orientation of the components "Cap Axle Eccentric.stl" and "Arm Axle.stl" as shown in the left side close up gear train photo. The right side components are installed 180 degrees out of phase with the left side.

Lubricate all moving components with petroleum jelly.

Wire the motor such that it rotates counter clockwise as viewed from the motor shaft.

My Sabers run anywhere from 1.5 to 6 VDC. It was designed for use with the selected motor at 3 VDC which minimizes noise while providing good motion. For break in, after lubrication, I ran my prototypes for 2 hours at 6 VDC, then lowered the voltage to 3.0 VDC. They've been running for months now at 3 VDC.

Comment if questions, and best of luck with this one!

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Hi, nice job I want to do that for a project, maybe, Could you send me the plans of your excellent project please? very thankful

See the update, "saber.zip" is located on YouMagine.com and MyMiniFactory.com as I no longer associate with Thingiverse.

Can you provide some DXF files or solid model files such as STP IGs etc. I have a laser cutter and need them to drive my machine; STL files cant be used. Great project. cant wait to make it.


Sent you four zip files containing the .skp files for Saber.

Let me know if I forgot a file.

This project was designed using Sketchup which I no longer use. However, if it would be helpful to you, I can provide the entire design directory including the original Sketchup files if you would like. Just send me a private message with and email address and I will return to you a zip file with all the files I have regarding Saber.

Hello, I was trying to complete this print but Arm Front Right 1 and 2 and Arm Rear Right 1 and 2 seem to still be missing from the download. Unless I am missing something. Any help would be appreciated.

Hi, great design and i am using a Z18 from Makerbot to create this project. I can't read the Assembly.skp file, what programs can i use to see it.

Many thanks for your kind words!

I use Sketchup Make 2016, it is a free download.

Do you have any tutorial how assemble the SABER ?

I printed all the parts, but i do not know how.

I thank your help !

No, sorry, there is no tutorial.

Did you download "Assembly.skp"? It shows an exploded view of Saber.

Also, I did provide a few suggestions in the details section that may be of help.

I did donwload "Assembly.skp", but still have some problems to assemble.

Anyway, thanks for your atention !!

Wow, absolutely beautiful work! I can't wait to play with the software when you release it.

Additionally, have you guys released the files for "Ema walk" and "Ema gallop"? I would LOVE to print those two.

Thanks for your kind words, and I'm glad you liked Saber!

Have not done any work on Ema, but...

...but they may post it on Thingiverse soon? crossing my fingers!

Hey there, I'm having a lot of trouble putting the saber together - do you have any tips? Most of my problem stems from not being able to actually get the pieces to fit together and when they finally do, some of them break. I've tried vaseline and filing the pieces but it seems to be unsuccessful for me. I do not own my own 3D printing machine but my library has one and I go there every week to print a few pieces out. It's a bit frustrating to have to wait another week to go back and print the pieces that I broke and then try to re-assemble. Do you have any advice on what I should use/do?

My guess by what you describe could be material "oozing". Make sure the build plate is level and not too close to the print head, then try a gear and cam.

Comments deleted.

Hi this is great, but a suggestion for an improvement. The rear legs are moving way to far and fast in comparison to the front. It would more natural if they had the same length stride.


I had no video's to study for the actual Saber Tiger movement, since it is indeed extinct. I did the best I could using a variety of animals with similar gaits.

Many thanks again.

This is in the top 5 3D printed things I have ever seen and I have seen everything

please tell me the others that are in your top 5!

Many thanks, I am indeed humbled by your comment.

hello, i want to buy a copy from your software, buuut, i don't have MAC, i don't know programing or how can i do to made something like this...
can you made a .skp plugin? with a ruby language or something like this, I can pay until 100 golds...
Did you can do it?? You has doing a GREAT WORK!
thanks guy!

Thanks for your compliments!

I would never sell the software, primarily due to the fact that it is not "commercial ready".

I'm in the process of adding comments, and am planning to post the results when finished.

However, it was written in the Xcode environment using Cocoa on a Mac for a Mac, and as such, unless you are willing to port it to another environment, well...

If you are familiar with graphics programming on the platform you chose, the code will be commented enough such that you should be able to grasp the algebra / trigonometry I used to develop it. Think of intersecting circles / triangles, and the rest should become clear.

Looks good, but I caution you to make sure you do not reduce the clearances.

Incredible designs, Greg. I'm really contemplating printing them all, in time. For now, I am finishing up printing the components of Saber. I do have one question for you. In the Sketchup info, it lists an Arm Front Right 1 and 2. I noticed you don't have those files uploaded, and aren't included in your parts list. Am I correct in thinking that I should just print two each of the Arm Front Left 1 and 2's? And same for the Arm Rear Right 1 and 2's? Thanks for any help.

No, there should be an Arm Frint Right 1 and 2 also, my mistake.

If you can edit the .skp assemoly, the parts there are 1000x scale that can be scaled down and exported as .stl.

When I get back, I'll upload the missing parts.

Many apologies.

Hi, were those parts ever uploaded? They don't appear to be in the list. Arm Front Right 1 and 2, as well as Arm Rear Right 1 and 2 appear to be missing. I used the assembly file to pull the parts but it was kind of a pain to work with the components since I'm still new. We'll see how they turn out but they look good so far.

Can you please make a video assembly tutorial or scale the assembly STL down 1000 times, please. tinkercad needs it to be less than 1000 mm squared. or less than a square meter.

Preparing an assembly video will take days. If I find the time, I will try to do so.

I love this design and it looks awesome! I also noticed in the comments that you were working on a hand crank? Do you know when that will be ready?

Saber, Hand Crank Module


You are very welcome! Your timing is, shall I say, impeccable as I just finished this about 12 minutes ago. I will upload pictures and video later.

Really great design.

I would love to see a tutorial on how you made your software. I am very interested in making something similar and would love to understand your process!

I would be happy to do my best. What format would you like to see?

Of tutorial? My favorite method would be a video quick walk through with detailed written instructions. But what ever you provide I am sure would be great, I am new to programming but very interested. I've been looking into Python mostly as a language but I am not tied to it.


Has anyone come up with a complete list of parts / quantities needed to print this? I don't expect the creator to do it but I wasn't sure if anyone more experienced in Sketchup had figured it out. I tried using Cut List extension but it keeps crashing.

I may have made a couple of mistakes, but this should be it.

8 Arm Axle.stl
1 Arm Front Left 1.stl
1 Arm Front Left 2.stl
2 Arm Leg Rear.stl
1 Arm Rear Left 1.stl
1 Arm Rear Left 2.stl
2 Axle Leg.stl
2 Axle Main Support.stl
1 Base Left.stl
1 Base One Piece.stl
1 Base Right.stl
2 Cap Axle Eccentric.stl
10 Cap Axle.stl
1 Cap Motor.stl
1 Frame Left.stl
1 Frame Right.stl
10 Gear.stl
1 Head Center.stl
1 Head Left.stl
1 Head Pin.stl
1 Head Right.stl
1 Leg Front Left Lower.stl
1 Leg Front Left Upper.stl
1 Leg Front Right Lower.stl
1 Leg Front Right Upper.stl
1 Leg Rear Left Lower.stl
1 Leg Rear Left Middle.stl
1 Leg Rear Left Upper.stl
1 Leg Rear Right Lower.stl
1 Leg Rear Right Middle.stl
1 Leg Rear Right Upper.stl
1 Motor Mount.stl
12 Pin Large.stl
4 Pin Small Long.stl
14 Pin Small Short.stl
2 Spacer.stl


Sorry the emojis did not work $$$$$

Wow! Thanks very much! I'm printing out all the parts as we speak (it will take a few days but I'll be glad to check over and make any corrections to quantities if necessary! Thanks again,


Comments deleted.

Too old I guess to understand what you said?

I iooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove it

Thank you very much, glad you do!

Can you share BOM or assembly model with sep format? The assembly.stl file is not working fine.
Thanks in advance.

Try using Sketchup Make 2015, it's free to download and will show the parts.

I am having problems downloading sketcup make

What kind of problems are you having? There are both Mac and Windows versions, and I've recently downloaded both yet again with no problems.

The reason I supply "Assembly.skp" is, of course first I use it to design with, but second, I can provide the ".skp" assembly file to Thingiverse members so they can easily scale, modify, etc. the design. Sketchup Make 2015 is free, and if you use it, all the Saber parts are named exactly like the file name (without the .stl extension), so you can determine which part goes where, and how many to print.

Keep in mind, I design using Sketchup Make 2015 at 1000X scale, so you if you edit a component, you will need to scale it down by .001 before exporting it.

I don't know but I don't ever use sketchup so please just list the number of pieces

I downloaded Sketchup again and it is telling me to scale the thing to at least -0 percent

Great inspirational model Thanks

Other than tinkercad, how do I edit stl files?

Fusion 360 and a lot of patience

Download and install Fusion 360 ( its free ) Import the model file you want to edit then edit it.
there are literally hundreds of tutorials on the web on how to use Fusion.

or you download and install sketch up make ( its free as well) and use the skp model file that gzumwalt has provided.

Either way youll need to spend some time learning how to 3D model
Good luck

please list the pieces and quantity that need to be printed

If you open the file "Assembly.skp" using Sketchup Make 2015 (it's free), it contains the parts, with names, etc.

this is so amazing! :O

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!

Is it possible to obtain, buy or use the Computation software to create or make my own creations?

I may release the software later (after a major clean up), but not at this time.

is it your own software? :D!

Yes it is. I wrote it on a Mac for a Mac using Xcode.

i really wanna see that! it's a really sophisticated algorithm :D

Well, it's amazing, so when you consider you're done with that clean up, I think it will be a real hit and an incredible tool to build some things :)

Can anyone tell me how to edit an stl file?

For scaling, I like to use NetFabb basic. It's free and easy to use. It is also good at repairing meshes.

load it into you 3D software like fusion 360

Download all the pieces and scale them up or down on tinkercad

Do I just print one of everything there?

You'll need to print the parts that appear in "Assembly.skp" or "Assembly.stl".

Depending on your printer, you may be able to print all gears, arms in one print.

I can't open the assembly STL

Thanks is there a hand knob like for the perseverance one or should we try and make one

Amazing! Very cool!

Thank you very much!

What powers this, a hand crank or a motor?

A motor, but the module can be hand cranked. Just waiting to see if anyone was interested in such.

Can you please make a piece for the hand crank. I really admire your works ! You deserve the featured page up with the other all time greats I would like to publish this in tinkercad under your name all i need is your permission

I'll start working on the hand crank.

You certainly may publish in tinkercad.

And many thanks for your kind words!

feel like it needs a tail

It has a tail, albeit short. After watching numerous hours of Saber zoo videos, I determined it was short.


This is fabulous and congrats on the feature. Well deserved!

Many thanks loubie! The feature and your comment are sincerely appreciated. I am indeed humbled by both.

I think this might be a great opportunity to make this a rc saber.

I mean I think it would be cool if it was radio controlled, or something idk.


Nice thought!

Hello , could you contact me ,on my email adresse ? I am a watchmaker and to get my diploma i have to make somthing , and i would very well need a bit of help , could you help me ? [email protected] thank you i hope you con help me(sorry for my english i am an 19 yo french guy)

Don't hesitate to send me a message!

Looks fascinating...do you have a bill of materials that details how many of each item I need to print?


I use "Assembly.skp" with Sketchup Make 2015. Touch each part with the pointer tool and it displays the part name which is also the file name.

Yes, that's fine now - thank you.


I'm very sorry for the problem, and am looking forward to seeing your completed Saber!

I can't see the new Head_right.stl All the files have the same creation date and the current Head_right.stl doesn't load in my printer software. Could you upload the file again please? All the other files are printing okay.

I've re-uploaded "Head Right.stl", let me know how it works.

Sorry for the difficulties.

Hi, I have printed all of the parts for this model and noticed during assembly that the part Arm_Axle.stl hits the part Head_Right.stl. The part Head Left has a cut out that prevents this from happening but the right part does not. Am I missing something here? or should I trim the right head part to match the left. You help would be appreciated. This model looks awesome and I can't wait to get it working.

Huge Thanks

Yes, I'm very sorry, I caught that I had uploaded the wrong part on December 24. I deleted the old part, then uploaded the correct part with an update comment added to the description.

If you have them available, you can use small wire cutters to snip away the section to match that of "Head Left.stl".

Again, I'm very sorry for my mistake.

Hi, isn't the Head_Right.stl still wrong (has full circle and needs cutters)?

I am very sorry.

This is the fourth attempt, hopefully, it works.

Again, I am very sorry.

can u upload the file for the different things like the person pushing or that other robot.

I would like to print the articulating man pushing the wall shown in one of the video here. Is it available for download?

Are you looking for this: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:445919?

Perseverance, Motorized

yes, this is what I was looking for, thanks!

What is the name of the file you need?

Very cool.
I wonder how well this would move if made into a walking robot.
Looks like only two legs down at a time. Could the motion be synched differently just by adjusting the position of the legs before you lock the gears together?

Yes it could, albiet with larger feet and smarter electronics.

The problem is synchronized balance, and with this thing being purely mechanical, it is not easily possible.

Nice work! Love the movement

Thank you very much, I'm glad you like it!