Hey! This thing is still a Work in Progress. Files, instructions, and other stuff might change!

Customizable Zoetrope

by SamM, published

Customizable Zoetrope by SamM Mar 7, 2013

Featured Thing!


Liked By

View All

Give a Shout Out

If you print this Thing and display it in public proudly give attribution by printing and displaying this tag.

Print Thing Tag


Thing Statistics

23824Views 1346Downloads Found in Art Tools


Now you can recreate 19th century motion picture technology with your 21st century printer!

Alright, so technically the first zoetrope was invented in 180 AD, but they didn't really take off until the 19th century.

Essentially a Zoetrope (wheel of life) is a spinning wheel with an short animation on the inside. There is a slit for each frame that acts like a shutter, once the wheel is spun it creates an illusion of the frames playing sequentially, bringing the animation to life.

Here is a GIF of a Zoetrope playing a GIF


Each frame is designed to hold a small piece of paper. You can draw your own, or print out your favorite short animation or animated GIF.

This is a vertical zoetrope that lets you set the size and number of frames in the animation, how far back the frames are pushed to create the shutter slits, and how large of a stand. The wheel and stand are interchangeable, so you can also select which parts you wish to print and easily swap out animations.

A few important notes:

1) The outside of the wheel should either be printed with black filament, or painted black later. Having a wheel that's colored or brighter than the inside image can make the animation very hard to see.

2) The larger the frames the easier it is to see the animation. As printer platforms continue to increase in size, the larger and longer these animations can become.

3) While the parts can be snapped together in some cases, you will always get the best results by gluing together the + connectors in the handlebar.

4) There is a 2mm "clip" on the top and bottom of each frame to help keep the paper in place. Given that most printers produce "spillover" this becomes more like 1-1.5mm. Make sure to plan your frame sizes accordingly.

5) If the size of the shutter slits are too large the animation becomes blurry. To small and it becomes dim. Right now you will have to experiment to find the best result for your animation.

More from Art Tools

view more

All Apps

Upgrade this Thing with Thingiverse Apps


Edit, personalize, or revise this Thing

Customizer is the easiest way to take great 3D printable designs and make them your own. Make your OpenSCAD designs infinitely more valuable by empowering the community to customize them.

App Info Launch App
Customizer Thing App

Really cool. You should make 3d printed inserts that animated, rather than 2d paper print the animation. Eg have a 3d model walking or people kissing or hi-five-ing. Its already cool but that would be super wicked.

Your idea is awesome! I gave it as a valentine's day gift and it was simply creative. My question is there any way we can change the frame size?

Printed...Worked out rather nice..
Just the pictures are so tiny.
Seems they get smaller when you run the animation!
Keep the pictures simple!

Printed on my Afinia, with a 5" x 5" bed!
Thanks, Sam!

Wow, great project!
I think I may have to print this.
But, I will have to dismantle the outside wheel, though.
My print bed is only 5" x 5".
Keep up the good work, and thanks!

Hi Greasetattoo,

You can also use the customizer and reduce the number of frames or the size of the frames to reduce the size of the outside wheel. There is also an option to scale the wheel to a desired size while not scaling the stand or hub attachment.

Thanks, Sam...

Yes, a .stl file would help!

Very nice model!

Can you post the STL as well please? It's pretty painful having to go through openscad or the customiser just to get the default one to print

SamM - in reply to Gav

Thanks Gav!

My only hesitation is that the customizer challenge mentions that you can't include model files with your entry, but I will upload some presets once the contest is over.

In the mean time, Masierellias has created a version with the "default" settings here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:58743http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...


My Customized Zoetrope

Haha, I love it! This is a great way to utilize cutting edge technology. Now I'm considering 3D printing an abacus... Let the Neo-Antiquity Tech Revolution begin!

Cool! So it's basically a ye olde gif!

Oops, I didn't read all the way through. You already mentioned it played a gif. I though I was being kind of funny... fail.

No worries, I may have to steal that name :)

owned lol