Jul.22, 2012

For his thesis in 3D modeling and animation Sean Charlesworth designed, modeled and then 3D printed a mechanical octopus vehicle, complete with working features and LED lighting.

As a toy collector Sean wanted to design an object with lots of working features. Inspired by the Nautilus in Disney's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", he found an octopus vehicle with articulated arms with visually striking would be a great project.

Named as "Octopod Underwater Salvage V", the model was designed in CINEMA 4D Studio and different materials, types and colours were assigned to each part. The digital models were printed at the New York University Advance Media Studio on an Objet Connex500 3D Printer. The Objet Connex500 is Objet's pioneering multi-material 3D printer featuring a large build tray size of 500 x 400 x 200mm and can print from a range of 107 different materials, with up to 14 different materials in a single part.

Because the model is printed in different materials Sean got additional step of dividing out all the parts to their separate materials. "Each material has to be exported separately and then reassembled in the printing program where the materials are assigned." Then each file must be run through mesh repair programs and here he used free software MeshLab and netfabb.


The last step was to lay out the parts for printing. "The print software will attempt to rotate and arrange objects for optimum efficiency and to lower the amount of printing material used. The print lab and I have found that it often doesn't do a very good job."

By rearranging what the print software arranged a body part Sean and the print lab managed to save almost $100 of the cost.

Once the print is completed, the parts needed to be cleaned, and the whole model is hand-assembled with great care.

Sean made videos and many photos showing the details of the 3D printed octopus vehicle. On his blog you can also find all the details of design and construction process.


(Panels removed. The main body panel is held on with magnets.)

(The door and latch are fully functional and the LED switch is hidden inside.)

(The hoist moves back and forth and turns. The floor panels open to allow access to the body screws and to hide the LED battery.)

(Rear hatch and ladder. The wheel and rungs are the beefier reprints which were glued on.)

(Underside.) Photos credit: Sean Charlesworth


Source: advancedaquarist


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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