Sea Serpent

by 7Fish, published

Sea Serpent by 7Fish Jan 10, 2018

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Sea serpent

this is developed to study Articulated tail design for dragons and snake tails as well improve ball joint's design and it's hold tension strength from rip offed from it's soket.

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Doesn't Matter








1) Please be careful not be confused between sets and parts, part number is not ingraved.

2) Body Segments without prebuilt supports are in Zip File. Please Don't chagne oriented Direction to vertically, it reasons are to protect the ball from strain under the soket and scales that may can broken off

3) Assemble Tail tip 02 (Flat tail fin) will need glue to put together

4) if you have trouble the Ball into soket, grind or shave ball's top and bottom about 1mm and try again.

How I Designed This

This snake is consist of Head(Jaw, Tung, Eye) and body (climb up scale by 103% each which Tail set 20~21 and Climb down by scale 98% each which Tail set 22~31 and Tail Tip.

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Hello 7Fish,

Thank you for the great design! Our daughter (11- it’s her printer) loves it and we’ve started to print ours… see attached. We are printing it on a NEW MATTER, Mod-t printer and it has some limitations. We are working around those. For better print quality we are doing a 200% scale version.

Lately we experienced a “new” issue” and we can’t seem to figure it out. The spikes are not printing “nice” and it seems they are a “separate piece”, if it makes sense.

We are not expert, so we’ve been asking help. Someone suggested have the files checked in Print Studio. It seems it does find geometrical issue and fixes it. Than we scale and generate G-code file in Cura (recommended by NEW MATTER) to print using the printer’s desktop app/program.

Cura shows the file/model perfect. See attached photos for more detail and the settings we use.

If you have any suggestion we would greatly appreciate it!
Thank you! Karina & Zoltan (daughter and father)


as i see your case, i can only suspect what cause the issue although i am no expert on the matter.
sea serpents was originally intended to built with 0.2 layer in mind to short cut as there will be long built time and cost.
i admit there is indeed some geometrical mistake at base of horn as i did't caped and left if opend before i upload the model but you have fixed it with Print studio.
as i see your 0.1 layers setting and the result i suspect your machine's have some troubles with such as nozel cooling capability, bed vibration and Feed stability but not sure as only i can guess it.

i am sorry that i can not help you enough.

How many wall perimeters (wall thickness) work well with this?

What does the surface quality look like on the belly (bottom) where the supports are located?

The Perimeter is supposed to be 2wall and 10-15 infill. I commend you test start from Tail, Set 31 to testing build possibilities odd.

i can not provide photo of belly. It supposed to a bit bad quality at belly with Fixed distance(0.2) prebuilt supports from parts.

I am sorry;

Not sure what i did wrong. I printed the head (the one with supports) in PLA, 0.4 nozzle size, 0.2mm layer height, 20% infill, no generated supports, added a brim to make sure it sticks well. The shell looks mostly fine but the teeth, the tips of the horms and the edge around the mouth turned out really bad. It looks very distorted, like those lower layers aren't sticking together very well. I'm using an Anet A8 without any major upgrades. Any idea what might be causing this ?

So I'm sitting in front of this folder with like 100 files in it. Could you please tell me witch ones I have to print cause I think I'm too dumb to understand... Thanks :D

i Suggest you start with from Tail set 31 (30+min) to Tail set 20 (3hour) 12sets for Tail body then print Head(head,eye,tong,jaw) and Tail tip(tail tip 01, 02) So it is about print 18 files to build if prebuilt supports works well.

hope it will help you. Thank you.

Ok so the body is built from Tail_Set_20 up to Tail_Set_31. Then I print the head that consists out of eyes, tung and ,head oder head_B, and jaw or jaw_B? Which one do I have to choose? And also There are 3 Tail_Tip_01s. Which one do I have to choose out of these?

chose file that have prebuilt support first, which is Head,Jaw and tail tip 01-1,2,3 are for be individually printed if print Set file can not work well.

Really amazing piece. The tail just looks really off though. Like maybe a version without the fin or maybe just thicken it from the middle and give it some lined texture or something.
Edit: Noticed there actually is line texture on the fin, although the lines appear to be going the same direction for both left and right side, making left look a little off.

i have replaced files to add little more scales detail on tail tip 01-1 and 01-2 As your suggestion. Still i am not sure it's your mean.

Thank you!

Sorry, I guess I meant more the fin at the end of the tail (Tail_Tip_02) rather than the tail itself.
It just looked very two dimension when compared to the rest of the model and thought maybe some more width near the center might help or an alternate version where there is no fin (Tail_Tip_02), just the tail.

I noticed your changes though, great addition!

Comments deleted.

so I am having an issue with the supplied support on the body failing terribly shredding the support and ruining my print an idea. I have tried adding support my self still no luck

When you said you will tried in 0.1 layer i guess something.

Prebuilt Supports was built with 0.2 layer in mind anb it's mean is the gap / Tolerance between parts and prebuilt supports is 0.2mm ~ 0.25mm , built with boolean operation as linier part subtract 0.2mm inflated parts.

i will suggest you print in 0.15 ~ 0.2 but if you need 0.1 you will have to use the files without supports.

Comments deleted.

So 20 is next to the tail correct? And 31 is next to the head ?

No, it's 20(1st) next to the head, 31(12th) is next to the Tail tip set

Thank you. I'm currently printing this hope to be done by weekend using .3 nozzle with .1 layer so each set taking better part of day . When all prints done then I will sit down and assemble it all

What order are the sets supposed to be assembled?

It’s assembly orders Tail supposed to be are started at either side of ends such as Set 20(1st) or Set 31(12th) and add next set one by one.

Awesome design!

I'm trying to get the tail segments right... with generated supports the ball is ill supported and bends a little, and with your supports the bottom part gets a fair amount of leftover filament that don't look so good with dark filaments when you take them out. Would it be possible to have a version of the tail segments with the two built-in ball supports but without the plate ones?

The ball joint will not have to be perfect shape and you will probably have to grind ball's top and bottom to Assemble. what make Ball actually tight fit in soket is either side of the ball.
but, if that sides of ball was where bended a little, or actually joints getting loosed than supposed to be then i will have to proceecd working on your request.
pardon me but, can i ask you which one excatly?

It bended a little bit on the bottom (like it "melted"), by the lack of proper supports directly underneath the first layers of the ball's outer shell; the plate is not directly under the ball, so there are no supports there unless I use supports everywhere, and even so it still did a poor job at supporting the ball and the result was the same. Your version with supports did great for the ball itself, but the plate supports got a bit too fused to the bottom of the tail segment, and removing them spoiled the smooth look of the scales underneath.

I'm so far still printing the first segment, until I get the formula right. I see that doing this kind of change might be a lot of work, so worry not, I'll play with the temperature and printing speed to get them to be just right ;-)

i add 'Ball supported Only Tail Groups' as Zip file as your request. but i still guess you could ignore little melt of bottom of the ball as i said before.


Wow, that is awesome! I printed two segments, and they were perfect!

Now I actually tested snapping them together... "crazy tight" is an understatement. Without some grinding it is really impossible, and even after I managed to snap them, it was really stuck in place, with no room for rotation. Probably as it grows it will become very tricky to do. I'll try smaller filaments, it might help, and more grinding before trying to snap them.

Thanks a lot! I'll post a picture once it is complete.

this design is good ,maybe it would be best to print 5 pieces assembled as a ball joint design would be easier to print.
but great design non the less

Is it just me, or is the file for the tail fin missing?

it my mistake while trying to add pin into tail part 01-1 and failed. i confused old one and new one. and delete both;

Thank you for point out and i appology for mistake! the pin had replaced.

I'm sorry but I don't get it: am I supposed to print ALL the files? I don't see any difference between 22 and 23, they even have the same file size. I don't know if I'm a bit too tired or if the instructions aren't that clear. I got the idea of the _B files with or without support, but for the sets, I'm not sure.

I'd really like to print this one because it looks very nice, thanks for the hard work by the way!

they only different with Scaled size as well they had same mesh counts per parts. For example : if Set 22's first one is 100% then second's 102, then next one another 102% as they climb up size by change offest scale untill Set 24 then 98%..

Structue explain image is on next to pictures before parts preview. i hope it help you to understand how this snake consist of it

i guess instruction still not clearly enoght but i i have no idea how to fill them more;


How do you assemble this? Just print and snap together? and snap together in what order?

Fit into soket with some force, print - assemble - don't be confused between parts - print - repeat until complete.

what i suggest assemble order is starting from tail set 31 which i did on one on picture when i made it. it's served as assemble test as well it is one of most low cost of time and matrial so minimize risk of failure.

so print each set, snap together, then snap together sets in order?

Yes, print Set one and snap together in row then print Set two and snap together add into main body.

A quick tip for people having problems printing the line supports like I have: put a small raft under it. Doesn't take much longer, gives the supports better ground to print, isn't harder to remove (since it's not touching the actual part) and also holds the parts of the set together so you don't confuse them as easily.

I don't know why I can't print the line supports, they tend to wind themselves up from the bed, maybe because they are so small and one-directional. Or perhaps bowden extruders just fck stuff up in this special case. But now it works and I can get finally print stuff!

Just curious, did you do this algorithmically with something like openscad or some other process? Whatever it is, it 's quite impressive!

Made this in 3d max student, it just one carefully designed Segment’s series of copy and paste with scale down a bit each time as you can see in Image
Then added some dragon head and experimental tail.

good model but the included supports are terrible. the body needs options to print without supports so that we can do it ourselves cleanly in the slicer of our choosing.

Actually, there is Zip file that include segments without prebuilt supports. just don't change oriented to vertically which that will cause break off of neck under strain from soket. it still indeed my fault that i still did not put this model proper instruction. i am sorry.

On the smaller bits (in my case tail segments 36-40 in particular) some of the provides supports become one with the body making them hard to remove. They're also a little thicker than need be, causing my printer to zig-zag a little on some, and print thicker supports than they probably need to be.

The supports on the smaller bits removed just fine for me. Keep at it. The print looks great when done.

That will because, for example, i install one support on most smallst segment of SET, 5th part of SET first, then scale up Both Part and support to make SET, so there will be some infill in support. in simply i was lazy enough to did not reset scale then boolean cut out of support one by one. i am sorry.

1/2 way done. Had to reprint a couple segments (print got messed up). Having trouble with the head getting the teeth to show up OK, but I'm getting a rhythm for the tail/body....

Very impressive model, thanks for sharing!

could it be designed as a print-in-place model with still functional ball joints?

I've seen other models that do that, but with these tolerances that wouldn't work. The joints would have to be redesigned at the least I'm sure.

This thing's also HUGE. Print-in-place would probably still require it being in multiple sections, then you'd have the problem of different connectors for different places.

Has someone figured out print in place ball joints?

Probably not. as will you know with test it i desgined soket to be tight on purpose. because smaller joints are more tended to be easy to poped out of soket so i was intended to fix them.
i did not put assemble tolerance in between soket and ball, if make this model into print in place then probably fused soket and ball togheter, otherwise if i put some gap then will it's too loosed to take pose that wanted. besides, honestly i don't have any experience with design print-in-place model. i am sorry.

That's cool - you are still better than me!!

The section you advised (31) printed beautifully - I just can't get them connected!

Beautiful piece. Can it be made in PLA, or does it require the "flexibility" of ABS?

I did mine in an advanced pla and had no problems. If you print in the orientation he set, the balls will be very strong.

it donsn't matter if PLA or ABS. as i used this design of Ball joints in various my late works and tested it in both cheap PLA and ABS.
but it can be happend the ball lost tension under strain in soket and get loosed.

I had to repair with 3D builder to get the tail sections to print right, my slicer didn't like interwoven meshes of the scales. (It was leaving huge voids).

Started at the head end, then worked from left to right as I removed them from the platform, they're easy to mix up. Especially the 1st two as you have to clean the supports off to get them to attach.

They're really tight (looking at the 3D model the balls and sockets meshes overlapped a little no matter how I wiggled them.) That meant that I had to make sure the ball was pretty smooth. I also reamed the opening of the sockets a bit with a file. NOw it's still crazy tight, but I've gotten part of it together without breaking it (bonus). My filament may be more brittle than some though.

Man I see what you mean ... I tried printing section 31 ... it's so pointy and tight!

Trying to figure out better ways to get the ball in the socket!!

I pressed each piece into the chain on a hard wood. However the balls sag a little from printing so at least trim the underside before trying to snap in.

do I need to add supports when slicing?

Most items have built in support that worked better than my slicer.

supports shall not need to add in print Sets with prebuilt supports. i suggest you print most tinist parts(31) first as Test if you gona try this model soon.

Thanks mate - great looking model

I'm printing tail bits as they are laid out with only the supports built into the model. I had to repair them with 3D Builder first. (Without repairing, my slicer got really confused and it was a messy thin shell)

Thanks mate. I also noticed Simplify3D doesn't like some of it .. but Slic3r PE is fine with it. Might run it all through NetFabb.

Hi 7Fish, I really like the model and the shape. Using the 3D Builder in Win10, I "fixed" some piece since S3D found them broken (see pict).
I started with the Tail set 20, came out very good (printed 0.15) but i cannot insert the joint in the hole. is there some trick? should i print with a extrusion width different from 0.45?

i built it with 0.4mm nozzle and 0.2Layers. i did not give ball and soket any tolerence as ball supposed to be fited in the soket with little of squashed. i suggest cut out or grind ball's top and bottom 1~2mm each a bit then try insert it

if even can not fited then, please leave note.

Thank you

7Fish - You have been great! Can you provide the Jaw without support?

Jaw_B is on file list!

Im quite confused with how to print the tail set files. It seems that the supports added inside the ball joint fixture don't connect horizontally to the walls, and when viewing the model in a slice-mode, it would be printing these supports in mid-air. In the picture I've attached, you can see that the tabs on the left side of each segment aren't attached to anything. How are these meant to be printed? Anyone have some advice or guidance?

Mine got all confusered by the interwoven meshes. I repaired with 3D builder and it's much happier.

In my slicer those don’t render at all so they weren’t a problem. His supports worked out well for me so far. Easier to remove than my slicer’s. That being said, the raw unsupported pieces are in the zip file.

That 3 of those Fliped mesh is not support. it was intented to incress perimeter inside ball. when i checked my printer's Slicer, Cura, Slic3r was cut out those mesh from Tool path.

for example which is segement 01's slicing picture

Got it, thanks for the quick reply! :)

I've just started printing this masterpiece. I am very impressed by your work & am glad that you decided to share it with the thingiverse community. Thanks!


Tail set 23 is missing supports on the last piece. You can even see it missing in the thingiverse preview.

Here is my progress so far! slow going.

Holy moly, what filament are you using?

Thank you for Point out! i fixed as soon i read note.

i am sorry that i too confused and missed errors.

This is really cool. I'm a little confused by the supports within the sockets (except they're sideways, so not really supports - but they look so thin they'll probably vanish from the slicer.

I noticed in the 3D model that the balls looked bigger than the sockets (slightly), but figured maybe they'd squish a little given the slot in the middle, however I can't get two printed parts together without breaking them. Any suggestions?

Did you Print indivdual segment and oriented to vertically? then probably break off ball's neck. try it as horizontaly with automatic supports.

Did you print Set that 5Segments and with custom support succesfully and in attempt put together then splited horizontaly? then cut off or grind off ball's top and bottom a bit then try put together.

when i build this snake i exprience that spliting too, and i thought fix that by end of assemble.

The Filped Mesh's in ball soket is intended enhance ball strength by build more perimeter inside ball (see layer view mod inside ball)

My slicer required it being repaired, but now I'm making progress... first section done and seems to fit OK.

Thanks, I'll try more.

That's a beautiful design, but I don't think I can print this without meticulously removing those weird supports. Most of these parts would be easier to print if they were reoriented, or if I could just let Cura auto gen good supports.

I'll take another look in the morning, maybe I can remix this and clean it up.

The prebuilt supports are pretty good so far. The particular orientation is what provides strength in the ball otherwise it would break off. However he has included every individual segment without supports in the zip file. Also, I should note I have huge troubles due to errors modifying this in meshmixer. I also can't get Simplify 3D to print this correctly. So far slic3r has been best.

Howdy - accidentally had auto supports enabled in addition to the prebuilts when I printed the skull & lost the front teeth while removing them. Have you printed the head yet? Did you have luck without supports inside the skull?

as you see in pictures, my serpent too break offe front Teeth while removing support. on head part, i used combination of Prebuilt and automatic support in head. as you see i did not insert for support inner head overhangs.

wait, i just will working on head fixing a bit.

I have not tried the head yet. I have another printer but I only have one roll of the green filament. I was considering separating the teeth so I can print them in a separate color. So far these models have been very hard to work with in software.

The tail tip 01 has errors in the support structure of the middle piece. In Slic3r it doesn't show that support material in the layer preview.

i tried fix error of Tail Tip 01's support you noted and i checked in Slic3r. please check out file i replaced and if you had error again, i am sorry that i could not help you. Also i include indivduals tail tip 01 for print with automatic supports.

This thing is massive! The pictures don't do it justice. I'll be printing all weekend.

when printing with supports ticked (in Simplify3D and Slic3r PE) it shows supports being added in the ball joint itself. Is this easy to remove?

if you mean the support i put beneath ball joint itself then i put 0.1mm between support and Ball itself. at least to me, that is fairly easy to remove as i use those supports all over on my works.

if it was other mean, please include imeage to help understand the problem.

Cool - so I don’t need to add automatic supports as well??

Have you experienced any issues with printing off these tail segments?

I was able to print the head and jaw, without flaw.

I attempted the Tail_Set_20 and Tail_Set_21 and both began to catch during the print and couldn't complete without becoming knocked loose or clumped up.

i useally used put 0.2mm gap between parts and supports but as it increase scale each part per 2~3% it also increase gap to about 2.5mm i guess.

if you have that issue in 0.2 resoution, i suggest try individual segments in Zip file one by one with automatic support by slicer.

The individual segments appear to be working, at least with the first one.

Onto the second!

Many thanks!

Realy nice Design! I'll try to print it soon.
I just dont realy understand your "How I Designed This" section:
"This snake is consist of Head(Jaw, Tung, Eye) and body (climb up scale by 103% each which Tail set 20~21 and Climb down by scale 98% each which Tail set 22~31 and Tail Tip."

do I have to scale up tail 20 and 21 to 103% and scale down all other tails to 98%? Or is it already scaled correctly on the STL files?

STL that uploaded is correct ones that i used make the one on picture. you will not need to edit scale to make, as edit and re-caculate scale is for who want make this snake shoter, and smaller and save cost matrial and time.

Great design dude !!!!! Can you upload individual segments of the tail set without support?

Added as Zip file. see last page of Thing files.

Nice, thank you.

Does this model require elastic or wire inside to stay together or is it ball jointed?

No, all it need apart from Filaments is superglue which i use on tail tip flat fin only. No wire or elastic require, just add and add parts one by one till tail tip
See 7th pic to explain structure.