July 9th: Eeps the pushpuppet got featured on Thingiverse :-D
Push puppets are around as long as I can remember and I've always loved the simple yet smart, funny and inspiring little toys.
Making push puppets has been on my mind for quite a while, but somehow I never got to it. Until now. Until a MakerBot Replicator 2 appeared on my desktop (literally!). Alas, the machine is not mine and I can use it just for a couple of weeks, so I had to move fast. After printing Yoda, my name and a key ring holder for my daughter, I set to work.
I have some, but ancient, experience with 3D modeling (from the '90s!! I'm getting old). The 3d shapes that make the push puppets parts are pretty basic, and so are the operations on the shapes. I used Rhinoceros to create the parts, but they should be easy to remake in other apps (like 123D Design, Blender, etc.).
You can approach this Instructable in two ways:
Step 1: Stuff 'n tools - Reverse engineer a Collapsing Donkey Toy
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*) It's a mystery to me how Donkey can be sold for only ˆ2,-, including margins for the shop and the manufacturer. But that is of no relevance here...
Step 2: 3D print the parts
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The print files are included in this step. Every zip-file contains a printable STL-file and an editable Rhino file. If you need a different kind of file type that Rhino can provide, drop me a line. I'll add them to this step.
I printed the parts from MakerBot's MakerWare printer driver. Included are some screenshots with settings that worked for me.
I printed all parts with transparant PLA filament. You on the other hand can use any type of filament you like, but you might need to adapt some printer settings.
I set the layer thickness to the MakerBot's minimum of 0.10mm. This increases the printer time vastly, but the results are much better.
I strongly recommend printing on "rafts". The raft is easy to remove from the base plate and the parts are easily removable from the raft. None of the models needed a structure beneath overhanging parts.
Printing all the files takes some time. The base and the beads take the longest, about 2 hours 15 minutes for each file. The other parts print within one hour. Reckon two evenings for printing all the parts.
Step 3: Making Eeps the push puppet - Step 1
Prepare the printed parts
Remove the parts from the raft carefully. Most parts can be removed bij hand, but some might need the help of a putty knife or xacto knife.
Finish the parts using small files or sanding paper. Check the beads' holes for thin filament threads. Remove the threads with a small diameter round file.
Step 4: Making Eeps the push puppet - Step 2
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Once you have the printed parts, the making of the push puppet is an extremely rewarding 10 minute job. It's easiest explained by the video (10 minutes crammed into to 2 min. 30 secs :-)). You'll see me making the push puppet in the main image...
If you like to have some kind of printed manual lying around while making the push puppet, here's a step-by-step.
Take a close look at the pictures and the captions that go by them.
Making the base:
The base consists of three parts and the two ropes.
With pictures 2 through 5:
With picture 12:
Step 5: Making Eeps the push puppet - Step 3
Hind legs, body and tail
Thanks to the clamping tool just mounted under the base, stringing beads to make a push puppet is now a breeze.
Build up the puppet, feet first. Start with the hind legs and the body.
Finish the tail with an "ending bead" (pics 4, 5 and 6)
It's exactly the same procedure as the hind legs. So repeat steps 1, 2 and 3.
Until now, the spring in the base was pushed in by the clamping tool. Now it's time to remove the tool, thereby releasing the spring. Because the beads are now locked in between the base's floor and the ending beads, the spring will pull tight the ropes. And that's what makes your push puppet stand up straight!
So, release the clamping tool from the bottom of the base. Your puppet should straighten up. Push the base's bottom, and your push puppet is alive. Congrats, you're done!
One more thing... Get crafty on that push puppet!
I didn't have time to do it yet, but of course you can decorate the push puppet any way you like. Paint it, give it googly eyes, add wings, do whatever you like. I'd love to see your makings in the comments.
Step 6: Call for puppet makers and 3D modelers...
While making this Instructable, I bumped into my own limitations as a 3D modeler. To get to finish the project, I restrained my modeling options to the basics, using not more than:
If you like this project and want to make your own 3D printed push puppet, please please please do so! It would be great to see the world flooded with all kinds of custom printed push puppets :-).
Here are some tips for a mechanically sound push puppet:
The spring I used is hard to come by (exept if you're willing to kill a push puppet in order to make one). It would be a big improvement if the spring could be printed as well. If you're reading this and have experience with printing spring-like parts, please drop me a line.