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Check Out ‘Saber,’ the 3D Printed Mechanically Complex Character Inspired by Disney Research

by • January 14, 2016 • No Comments

Assembly_preview_featuredDisney is a never-ending source of entertainment–and a bottomless well of inspiration. Steeped in the world of wonderment and innovation for decades, their team is known for having the creativity and budget to do, well, simply of anything. And Disney Research is a group we often see delving into the world of 3D, offering up a few pretty rigorous work, setting the bar high for other makers.

After reviewing the “Disney Computation Designs of Mechanical Characters” video featuring Cyber Tiger (see below), Greg Zumwalt of Oklahoma talked with a friend who in addition saw it and decided to take on a much like project, 3D printing a moveable-bodied Saber. A former avionics designer and programmer as well as video designer, Zumwalt was up to the challenge, as well as taking a number of liberties to accommodate 3D printing, especially in areas like the gear train and arm design.

At approximately eight inches tall and twelve inches when fully extended of head to toe, Saber is a sizeable-bodied design but is able-bodied to be printed in more compact components. Zumwalt wanted to be certain which makers with a wide variety of 3D printing devices may be able-bodied to try their hand at creating the Saber. The sizeable-bodied base is sliced into two pieces and can be put together with dove tail joinery. He in addition included tiny bevels on the build plate to cut down on friction.

“Saber is the most mechanically detailed Thingiverse thing I’ve published and is indeed a challenge to print and build,” says Zumwalt, and for which reason, he invites anyone to ask inquiries or contact him regarding the project.

To create the Saber, he utilized SketchUp Make 2015 and his MakerBot Replicator 2, printing in PLA with standard settings.


Inspiration of Disney Research

The basic list of parts is as follows:

Motor Coaxial Power Jack: Radio Shack part number 274-1583.3.0 Vdc Power Supply: Radio Shack part number 273-315 with the “N” style plug 273-345 (you get one free with the power supply)

The list of tools utilized:

Rubber malletSmall viseFlat punch setModeling knifeSmall filesSandpaperSlip joint pliersNeedle nose pliers



Print all pieces as shown in “Assembly.skp” or “Assembly.stl”.Test fit and trim, file, sand, etc. all parts as necessary for smooth movement and a tight fit. Depending on the colors you choose and printer settings, a few trimming and sanding will be required.Assemble as per Assembly.skp (or Assembly.stl). Note: Zumwalt began pressing two frame halves together and and so inserted the gear and associated components into the frame, testing the assembly for proper rotation while progressing, and backtracking to trim, file, or sand if needed.

“Once accomplished, you should easily be able-bodied to spin the entire gear train while holding onto ‘Cap Motor.stl’ and spinning the entire assembly by hand,” states Zumwalt. “If not, disassemble and repeat the system, as this is a quite important step.”

“Pay quite precise attention to the initial orientation of the components ‘Cap Axle Eccentric.stl’ and ‘Arm Axle.stl’ as shown in ‘Assembly.skp’ or ‘Assembly.stl’ within the gear train for both sides, as these orientations are significant to the Saber motions, alignment and clearances,” says Zumwalt.

Lubricate all moving components with petroleum jelly.Wire the motor such which it rotates counter clockwise as viewed of the motor shaft.

“My Sabers run anywhere of 1.5 to 6 VDC,” states Zumwalt. “It was created for use with the selected motor at 3 VDC which minimizes noise while providing great motion. For break in, after lubrication, I ran my prototypes for 2 hours at 6 VDC, and so lowered the voltage to 3.0 VDC. They’ve been running for over a week now at 3 VDC.”

While now retired, Zumwalt is yet quite involved in designing and 3D printing, and while he had been working on a MakerBot Replicator 2 for three years, he is now in addition using an Ultimaker 2 Extended, and is experienced in SketchUp. Discuss this story in the Saber forum thread on 3DPB.com.