Cat Toy Ball

by BrianEnigma, published

Cat Toy Ball by BrianEnigma Mar 24, 2012
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There are some cat toys at the house that are particularly popular with the local residents. They are simple hollow spheres with cut-out slots. They are great for kitties to kick around — small and light. After staring at one for a few minutes, piecing out the geometry, I realized that this would make a great instructional design for an introduction to 3D CAD modeling using simple geometric shapes and boolean transforms.

In the main image are the original (left), render (middle), and printed (right) versions of this object.

The step-by-step process of building the model is on my blog, here: http://netninja.com/2012/03/24/from-atoms-to-bits-to-atoms-a-cat-toys-journey/

The final fully parametric OpenSCAD file is attached.


I used 2 shells in my Print-O-Matic settings. If you print this on a MakerBot (or similar), you may want to enable printing supports and a raft in ReplicatorG.


v2 - Rotated, as per the great suggestion left in comments by MikeO. This gives the design more resilience against the drooping found in the original version, meaning you probably won't need supports.

original - The original. Even with supports enabled, the upper slats would overhang and the first few layers would droop a bit. A small file or hobby blade will help clean that up.

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I bet you could drop a small jingle-bell into it, mid-print...

I've seen at least one other cat-toy design on here where you drop something in mid-print (in this case, it was a smaller printed ball).

What I end up doing is taking an empty tea bag (you can get those at tea supply stores, or you could just hack apart a premade tea bag), put a little catnip in there, staple it closed, and then I'll wedge that into the center of the ball through one of the slots.

Hmm... I suspect if you rotated the ball so the slots run in the vertical direction, with one of the two (as shown above) vertical ribs now on the bottom and the other on the top, you'd have fewer problems with sagging edges since the horizontal runs would be lots shorter.

Very good point! It hadn't occurred to me to just rotate the model to minimize the overhang problem. I should update the source and model to do that by default. (I'm not able to tonight, but will do so later this week.)

I printed one that way without support.