Sep 20, 2017 | By Benedict

In recent years, Kickstarter has played a key role in the rise of many a 3D printer startup. But it’s also a great place to find fun little 3D printed toys and gadgets. Here are four 3D printing projects live on the crowdfunding platform right now, from educative robots to fantasy gaming terrain.


Critter: a 3D printed, Arduino-powered crawling robot

Lowest price: $45

Campaign goal: $3,000

Campaign ends: October 6

Slant Robotics’ 3D printed “Critter” robot has one goal, and one goal only: to help novice robot builders “learn coding and 3D printing on a robot that is different from anything they've seen.” It attempts to show kids that completely new "creatures" can be created with robotics and technology, and is available at a special early bird price of just $45.

The Critter is the fifth robot in Slant Robotics’ LittleBot family of 3D printed Arduino robots, and is a walking robot to follow the previous armed and wheeled robots. And although walking robots tend to be complex, this guy is purportedly “easy and rugged enough for kids to build while still being interesting enough for hobbyists at higher levels.”

The 3D printed robot uses its two front legs to drag itself along, allowing it to traverse tricky terrain while also preventing potentially damaging falls. (Since the robot’s body is close to the ground anyway, it hasn’t got far to fall.)

Every plastic part of the Critter is 3D printed, and the Critter kit consists of just six 3D printed parts and around 20 parts in total (not including screws). 3D printing the plastic parts means that students can change and add to the design, while its simple Arduino program is also easy to tinker with.

The Critter can be operated with an Android app made by Slant Robotics, while the robot can also do its own thing when set to “Autonomous Wander Mode.”

Kickstarter backers have a few options with the Critter, choosing whether to have the 3D printed parts included or to print them at home. See the full range of options here.


The Vorpal Combat Hexapod: a 3D printed hexapod robot

Lowest price: $99

Campaign goal: $18,000

Campaign ends: October 18

Why order just the single 3D printed robot when you can have two? That’s what we always say, and Steve Pendergrast’s Vorpal Combat Hexapod makes the perfect addition the aforementioned Critter. Described as a “3D printed, Bluetooth-controlled, open source, low cost educational robot,” the Hexapod uses the Scratch drag-and-drop programming language and Arduino hardware.

Depending on the challenge needed, the Hexapod can be ordered either fully assembled or in kit form, with the latter option representing good value for printer-equipped classrooms that can print multiple Hexapod kits in one go.

More importantly though, the 3D printed Hexapod sounds like a lot of fun. “You can maneuver the Vorpal Combat Hexapod using its included 3D printed gamepad which can trigger 60 different motions useful in many different activities,” Pendergrast explains. “The gamepad has an SD card and can even record motions and replay them. Even better: you can write Scratch programs to create your own custom hexapod motions and upload them onto gamepad buttons for use in games and activities.”

It’s made for educators, learners, makers, and everyone in between, and looks like a fun way to learn about 3D modeling, engineering, and robotics.

“When I first started demonstrating a prototype of this project over a year ago, I never saw such a reaction to any robotic display,” Pendergrast says. “Adults, teenagers, toddlers, it didn't matter. All I had to do was fire up the little hexapod robot and make it walk and dance, and people were instantly hooked—they wanted to know more.”

Want to know more yourself? Get the early bird Hexapod kit for just $99, or shop the massive range of options on the Kickstarter page.


DRAGONLOCK 3: a 3D printable snap-link dungeon and outdoor terrain system

Lowest price: $15

Campaign goal: $500

Campaign ends: October 25

We’ll hold our hands up on this one: if you’re not a fan of RPGs and wargames, this probably isn’t the place to be convinced of their merit. Nonetheless, 3D printing has opened up worlds of opportunity for passionate role-players to create new figurines, terrain, and set pieces for their epic battles and quests.

DRAGONLOCK 3: Dangerous Lairs is the latest addition to Fat Dragon Games’ DRAGONLOCK range, an interlocking terrain system that allows you to 3D print modular, multi-level 28 mm scale village terrain for RPGs or wargames.

Like most products in the genre, these pieces are available as downloadable STL files for printing at home, which means that the creators don’t really need to raise funds in the same way, say, a 3D printer startup does.

Nonetheless, platforms like Kickstarter are a cool way to showcase stuff like DRAGONLOCK 3, and they also encourage backers to be generous in order to unlock stretch goals. In this case, DRAGONLOCK’s creators have already released a bunch of bonus items, having seen their $500 “goal” reached almost 100 times over!

The main set includes unique environments including the Tower of Terror, Dungeon Delve, Realm of the Mountain King, and several more. And of course, the more you back, the more you receive.

Interestingly, the different reward options do specify varied release dates. The $15 Wilderness Encounters pack can be downloaded this December, but other, more comprehensive sets have estimated deliveries as far away as July 2018, suggesting the artists behind DRAGONLOCK are still working on the designs.

Unlock the secrets of DRAGONLOCK 3 over here.


The Maker's Vise: a vise for 3D printer users

Lowest price: $89

Campaign goal: $15,000

Campaign ends: October 23

By far the most practical item of our 3D printing quartet, Alex Faveluke and Greg Stephens’ Maker’s Vise is “a vise for everyone that is so simple and easy to use, it will be as if you have a third hand.” With a a low-friction track and sliding head, the vise is suitable for designers, artists, hobbyists, parents, students, modders, and builders.

Of course, being a 3D printing project, the vise is especially beneficial for makers, since Faveluke and Stephens are building a 3D design library of custom soft-jaws for holding objects that aren’t flat. These jaws will be freely downloadable and 3D printable, meaning those with access to a 3D printer will be able to upgrade and modify their vise with the relevant bits and pieces for their needs. (The vise itself isn’t 3D printed though.)

The two designers say the Maker's Vise is light-weight and portable, and report that it weighs only 4 lbs. It can be deployed as a tabletop vise with an included silicone pad, or bolted to a work area through the bolt holes down the center of the base.

The final version of the vise, which will look a little different to the prototype, will be built from a custom aluminum extrusion, meaning there will be no lines along the body and no screw holes visible on the top of the slides.

To make it happen, however, Faveluke and Stephens need to raise $15,000 for materials, custom tooling, and machine work. The duo have already raised more than a fifth of their target, and with over a month to go, it looks totally achievable.

For $89, backers can receive the “Early Adopter Special,” containing the vise in silver or green, a set of removable steel jaws, a silicone non-slip pad, and a hex key. Estimated delivery is December 2017.

The Maker’s Vise campaign is here.

So what are you waiting for? Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms are a goldmine of 3D printing projects just waiting to be discovered. Go find them.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Richard Smith wrote at 9/21/2017 11:33:07 AM:

Hi, I am launching a kickstarter for a 3D printed teleprompter launching on Friday (22nd). You can see a preview here: Would you like to include this on your site? Regards Richard Smith

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