Fidget Star

by mathgrrl, published

Fidget Star by mathgrrl Jul 17, 2015

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Open, close, repeat. One way it's a box and the other way it's a star. Then a box. Then a star. Repeat the repeat.


This hinged print-in-place model is a remix of the Fidget Cube. It 3D prints fully assembled, in one piece, folded up! A snub version is also included for those who like the old school fidget.

For the design geeks: Thanks to Greg Knapp, who used Blender to fold up the original Fidget Cube model and print it as a closed cube. His YouTube video inspired me to do the same thing in OpenSCAD code so that the Fidget Cube could be printed as a closed cube. The remix gave me the opportunity to make the snub side of the fidget a more interesting star shape.

For the math geeks: The "star" is a stellated rhombic dodecahedron, and this model makes up half of a Yoshimoto cube.

UPDATE: @David_Mussaffi made a great video of a Fidget Star 3D printing in the closed position, check it out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGq2zIDUaYg

UPDATE: @MosaicManufacturing has made a fantastic Multi-Color Fidget Star and printed it with their cool Palette color-enabling 3D printer attachment!


Twitter: twitter.com/mathgrrl
Hacktastic blog: www.mathgrrl.com/hacktastic
Shapeways geekhaus store: www.shapeways.com/shops/mathgrrl

This design and all associated pictures and files are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. If you want to use designs, images, or files outside of the terms of this license, please email [email protected].


File descriptions:

  • fidget_star_standing_15_48.stl and fidget_snub_standing_15_48.stl are medium-sized models that print standing up, unfolded. One is a stellated rhombic dodecahedron on the fun side, and the other is a cube with corners cut down.

  • fidget_star_closed_15_48.stl and fidget_snub_closed_15_48.stl are like the above, but print closed up.

  • fidget_star_standing_30_2_50.stl is a larger model with 30mm cubes, so a folded height of about 60mm and a standing height of about 120mm. It takes about 4-5 hours to print.

If you choose one of the "closed" designs then it will print folded up, with the cube side out. After printing you'll be able to open it up and see the star. If the closed version doesn't work on your printer, then try the "standing" assembly instead, which prints while folded open. If you need to make other adjustments to size or clearances, try the Customizer version.

If you want to print this model larger or smaller, then don't just scale up or down the model as a whole. Instead, use the Cusomizer to change the cube height, but preserve the hinge size.

I've found that a hinge clearance of .48 is optimal for MakerBot Replicator 3D printers. Other printers may need more or less hinge clearance. If your hinges are fused together, first make sure that you've turned supports OFF. After that you might try adjusting hinge clearance.

After printing, horizontal hinges will sometimes have some sag underneath; clipping this off before attempting to open the model will help increase your chances of success.


The Challenge has begun!
atartanian vs. mathgrrl --1 design per week, winner take all

Thanks to atartanian for challenging me to get back on track and post a design a week. Speaking of tracks, check out his entry for this week: Cutomizable Flexible Toy Train Tracks. Let us know what you think in the comments!

Read more at Hacktastic:

Print to Order

Don't have a 3D printer, or want something fancy printed for you? We don't have Fidget Stars in our print-to-order store yet, but we have other cool stuff you can check out:

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Fantastic design, and a very satisfying achievement when you get it to print. Thanks!

I had to hold the part with tape in the middle of the print because it has so many hinges, but it worked and now I know how well calibrated my printer is :)

Yeah mine kept coming unhinged as well, I paused and taped to save it. I also loaded the OpenSCAD model and reduced the clearances but have not tried that one yet.

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Avoid this model people. Print something that works and that is actually usable, e.g. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1790624. You can clearly see that it will try to print faces of two cubes in the mid air, even if they succeed they will look poor. This is not 3D printer friendly.

Kobayashi Fidget Cube - Fat Hinge - Flat

I had three failures, one after four hours of printing. I will admit that I am a newbie, and have learned that not all files here are doable. Also the hinges seem fragile.

lol it is a hard one! you have to really get the settings right for your printer to make it work. once you get it it's really reliable but I agree it's a challenge and a torture test. and magic! one cube really does print over the other. :)

Think about the number of newcomers that visit this site and that will see your design, as it's popular :/ It is not a robust design and it's unnecessarily a challenge. If you were to add small posts on the opposite sides so that a slicer could form a bridge, it would become much more robust. Even some small security posts to support the (upper) hinges would make it much more reliable in printing. It is nice and interesting design, but...

no way, that's not the magic of this impossible design. there are lots of nice easy designs to try (even some of mine), this one makes puppies cry and is for the people that really want a challenge. this one makes you say WHAT how did you even PRINT that?

i hear you about beginners needing some things to start off with though. and i do appreciate your feedback :)

any beginners who are listening, here are some designs that are pretty foolproof:

Organic Snowflake Ornaments
Ramones Lithophane
Reinhardt Pentagon Thermoform Bracelet
Customizable Hinged Polyhedra

Any way that you can post the larger star in cube form? I got it to print, but my hinges break off easily. I was thinking the larger version might be more sturdy.

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Love this! Unfortunately I broke the last hinge of my first try, but it works nevertheless quite well. Maybe next time I will try to print the standing version instead so it's easier to free the hinges from too much filament. Thanks for inventing this.

Could I print without a cooling fan or no?

I would use a fan. if you didn't use a fan then i'd suggest printing a batch of these at once so layers can cool off a bit

Has anyone tried printing this on a mono price select mini? This is one of the main reasons I'm getting a 3D printer and have heard some good reviews about the printer just I would like to make sure this will work

I printed it with some success, but my hinges break off easily. It wasn't fused together though, which was what I was worried about. I printed it without a raft or brim.

Ive tried both this and the cube it's based on with my mp mini and ended up with balls of plastic spaghetti each time. The bottom set of parts prints ok but i think the upper set wobbles around too much for the primter to keep up

So after several failed attempts it is safe to say that this has been a struggle to print on my stock maker select mini. I have given up and printed on my maker select v2 and it came out great. Keep in mind that there is an included fidget star in the .zip that is much larger which I have not attempted to print. I might give this one a shot but the smaller prints failed miserably.

Do not try the large one unless you are a masochist.

I will test this out and let you know as soon as it's done.

do you print the big one with supports?

I´ll print this today. Thanks....

First print, one hinge snapped right off. Second print worked perfectly. I carefully wiggled all the hinges to loosen them up.
Printed using Qidi Tech 1. This is pretty cool.

Does the large upright version need supports to print correctly ?
Thanks !!

Printed this tonight with MakerGeeks Crystal PLA. it's a pretty brittle PLA, and I figured it would fail instantly upon snapping the supports. However, it printed fine, it works great, and it's a lot of fun! I'm going to try the bigger one ... and maybe some of the variants too!

No matter what I try, one of the hinges does not work :(

I printed this and it turned out great! but after 2 days the hinges came loose and the parts of the hinge came apart. Is there any way to fix that problem?

Any chance of getting the file for the big one closed or lying down? I've tried twice and it just keeps falling over. Great design though, it's tons of fun with the small ones. I've given a few away to kids at a local school and they've loved them.

Try the closed one, it works great.

That one did work, but I want the bigger size and she said to not just increase the size. Maybe I'll try it anyway. thanks.

That's right, there's a button at the top of this page that says "open in customizer" where you can change the size, amongst other things, then you'll get the proper size that will print good.

idid 5% infill no sport and it printed fine it slowly goes up so it prints over hangs.

which file should i download????? the closed one or the one that's standing up

Comments deleted.

Ohkayy... So none of this requires support? Really?

Ohkayy... So none of this requires support? Really?

Comments deleted.

this design i recognise form an origami piece i have made before if you make 2 then one in star form can fit inside the one in cube form

this design i recognise form an origami piece i have made before if you make 2 then one in star form can fit inside the one in cube form

this design i recognise form an origami piece i have made before if you make 2 then one in star form can fit inside the one in cube form

Does it work if you scale it down? Also what percent of infill did you use?

Has anyone had success printing one of these on a Robo 3D R1+? I'm worried it might be a waste of filament to even try. I did see one of these at Microcenter that they had printed out with their 3D printer display. Very cool!

The answer is no. No it does not print well on a Robo. Although I'm not sure if this is due to the printer's capabilities or my own ignorance of optimal settings. The only hinges that work well for me are the ones that printed on the top of the closed model. The ones on the sides came out either kind of rough (if perpendicular to printer bed) or completely blobby and unusable (if parallel to printer bed). In the bottom ~10 layers of the cubes that sit on top in the closed model, you can see the strands of filament all blobbed up instead of laying down in nice neat layers. It was a nice quick print so I'll probably keep trying but would love to hear any tips on what might have gone wrong. I'm using PLA with the medium quality preset (0.2 mm layer height and I think 15 or 25% infill).

I would love to see a version of this I could print separated and then use 1.75mm filament to assemble like this version.


Non-Print'n'Place Fidget Cube

Would this be better to print in ABS or PLA? Will PLA even work?

All mine were done in PLA. I tried ABS once and it didn't seem to work - could have been the printer, or it could have been the ABS. There is a bit of magic/luck in getting the tolerances just right for your machine, fan setup, filament, day of the week, etc. These were tested primarily on a Replicator 2 with PLA filament. I think transparent worked the best in terms of having reliable hinges. I did get the largest ones to print successfully on a 5th gen Replicator.

Thanks! For some reason, no matter how large I make the space between the cubes, they just fuse together... Hinges are fine though. I guess I'll see after the current print is done. If I need to, I'll just pry it apart with a flathead screwdriver or something.

Okay here's a desperate option - try printing a bunch of them at once. Then the top layer of the cubes can have a little longer to cool and set before the bottom layer of the next cubes goes on. Or maybe try increasing your fan settings.

Glad the hinges are working, though. Usually that's the problem :)

Ive printed two of these now- both in PLA. Fun stuff! There is a little bit of support that holds the center blocks together. how do you clean it up? it can be peeled off for the most part, but i assume sanding is the only way to truly get it clean. Thoughts?

I'll try printing a few at once then :P The fan's already at 100% so that won't really help much.

I don't see how this can print without supports (either the "standing" or the "closed" versions) - there's always two pieces of several hinges that are completely detached and airborne.

yeah i know it's crazy but it works if you get the clearances right. Definitely need NO supports though - if you had supports on then that support would fill in those gaps and fuse the model together. Once you figure out how to get it working on your machine, and how best to clean up under one or two hinges afterwards, then you can make them with a very low failure rate.

they keep breaking at the hinges. Using Makerbot Replicator Can you tell me how to adjust hinge size to try and fix the problem.

First make sure you are printing at .2mm layer height with NO supports. Then, before snapping, cut off any droopy bits that are hiding under the hinges; specifically, at each horizontal hinge there may be a small droop of filament underneath the ledge of the hinge, where it printed outward without support. If that doesn't work then open the model in the Customizer and try increasing the "hinge_clearance" parameter from the default .48 to something a tiny bit larger, such as .5. Good luck and let me know if that helps!

How does this fold? Isn't it solid?

It has enclosed hinges with parts that are close to each other but not touching, so the hinges can move back and forth to make it fold.

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it breaks if you even try to do what its supposed to

are all of the pieces the same?

yeah, two of my favorite makers join forces to encourage each other, everyone wins!

Love this! (And the challenge)

To me this week is a tie. Both designs are remixes which shows that really you two are just getting warmed up. For real firepower you need original work. The geometry thing appeals the the engineer in me and the train tracks appeal to the kid in me. If I had to choose I'd go for the kid in me but really both are just as good. I hope to see some new creations from you two!


I'm excited to see what the two of you get up to!