Jan 24, 2016 | By Kira
February 8, 2016 marks the Chinese Lunar New Year, an important celebration observed in Mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and many other regions across the world. To celebrate the holiday, families and friends come together to share food, drinks, small gifts, and to exchange well wishes and good fortune for the coming months. As this year marks the Year of the Monkey according to the Chinese Zodiac, Taiwanese artist Amao Chen has created a playful 3D printed macaque that is rich in details and features 24 ingeniously designed joints, giving it an impressive range of movement.
Chen, whose goes by the online moniker PaperCube, specializes in creating unique cardboard replicas of pandas, bears, elephants and other wild animals, all with his distinct cube-like style. Not too long ago, Chen branched out into 3D printing and created a 3D printed Formosan Black Bear and 3D printed rhino to raise awareness about the endangered species.
Now, he’s back with a playful 3D printed monkey that would make an excellent gift to mark the Chinese New Year. In fact, he even named it ‘BingShen’, which translates to Fire Monkey, the specific element and animal corresponding to the 2016 Chinese New Year. If you lift up the 3D printed monkey’s feet, you’ll find the words ‘Bing’ and ‘Shen’ printed under each sole.
Chen’s attention to detail doesn’t stop there. In fact, what makes this tiny, 3D printed monkey so charming is its ingenious and completely articulated design, which consists of over 20 individually 3D printed pieces that snap together without the need for screws or even glue.
Taking this 3D printed articulated joint system even further, Chen designed it so that it would consist of 24 nodes, representing the 24 solar terms in the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. The monkey’s tail alone accounts for seven of these nodes, and is itself a masterful work of engineering and 3D printing talent.
As you can see in the video below, the tail moves smoothly and almost realistically, while also providing enough balance for the 3D printed monkey to stand on its two feet. In order to pull this off, Chen had to pay special attention to the tightness of the 3D printed joints—if he made them too tight, the tail would stick straight out, yet they were too loose, it wouldn’t hold its shape. Thanks to his careful planning, however, Chen managed to strike the perfect balance.
Additionally, each body part was 3D printed using color ABS filament rather than being 3D printed in white and then being painted afterwards. Not only does this cut down much of the post-processing work, but it also ensures bright, vibrant color that won’t chip or fade out.
To share this adorable and playful 3D printed monkey with anyone wanting to celebrate the Chinese New Year, or those who are just looking for a fun 3D printing project, Chen will upload the free STL 3D printing files to Thingiverse during the Lunar New Year.
For related educational or just plain fun animal-inspired 3D printing projects, check out Koguma, a 3D printed polar bear piggybank, which has a similar cube-like design, or these adorable 3D printed penguins by Taiwanese artist Stanley Chen.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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