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3D Printed Articulated Skeleton

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Skeletons are tons of fun, especially around Halloween. There are also various other spooky celebrations that call for a good skeleton or two. However, you don't have to wait for spooky events or celebrations to have a skeleton handy. Skeletons are fun décor. They are also useful tools for teaching young minds about how the body works or to learn about movement and different poses in art.

An articulated skeleton is especially useful and even more fun than a completely solid model. Articulated skeletons have different parts that snap together to form joints and points of articulation (hence the name). The parts of these skeletons can be separated and snapped back together. Because of its many moveable joints, the skeleton can assume various positions. You're not likely to get bored of having this skeleton around.

If you have a 3D printer and are looking for a challenge, you should try 3D printing an articulated skeleton. Regardless of the number of joints in the model, printing 3D skeletons are bound to be a challenge. However, it is not only a great way to hone your 3D printing skills but also to discover the true capabilities of your 3D printer. In this article, we discuss some tips and steps for printing a 3D articulated skeleton.

How to Make a 3D Printed Articulated Skeleton

There's no doubt that the 3D printed articulated skeleton is one of the hardest types of human skeletons to print. You not only need to print multiple parts but also ensure that they can snap together properly. Below are some tips to help you achieve great success with your prints.

1. Choose a material

There are various types of 3D printing materials available. You can achieve great results in printing a 3D articulated skeleton using different types of materials. Some popular materials that printing enthusiasts have used to print 3D articulated skeletons include PLA and ABS. These materials are not only affordable but also provide strong prints. PLA is especially popular as it is easy to work with and does not produce toxic fumes when melted. It is also compatible with most FDM 3D printers.

ABS is also a popular choice. However, this material can be harder to work with. If you haven't ever attempted to work with ABS, this skeleton project is not the right project to start out with this material. You will most likely be frustrated and never want to work with ABS again. ABS requires a controlled environment. You should print within an enclosure and use a heated bed.

2. Find a model

If you're not skilled at design, here's some good news for you; you don't have to design the skeleton from scratch. You can find a model for a 3D skeleton online. You simply need to search for an articulated human skeleton 3D online model that meets your preferences and needs.

There are various factors to consider when choosing a model online. You must first determine whether the model meets your preferences. If you want your skeleton to have several points of articulation, you should look for a model that offers this.

You should also check the size of the resulting Print. How large will the skeleton be? Will your printer and printer bed be able to accommodate the printing of the different parts? You may be able to resize the model, however this may result in errors as many models come with several files to enable the printing of different parts separately.

Another factor to consider is the materials suggested by the designer for printing the model. Some designers will recommend certain materials as these materials will provide the best results with the Print. Read through the description of the model to determine whether your material of choice will work.

You should also determine whether you will purchase a model or use a free one. There are various free models available from sites such as Thingiverse. You can also purchase 3D models from various other sources. Determine whether you would like to purchase a model or not.

You should also check for the level of ease in printing the model. Some prints are designed for more experienced 3D printing enthusiasts. Others are easy and straightforward to print. Choose a model with a level of complexity that suits you.

3. Import the model and set your printing parameters

Import your STL files to your slicer and set your printing parameters. Be careful to add printing supports. Some models may not require support. However, you will most likely need support for parts such as the rib cage.

Decide on the infill. This will depend on the size of your Print. However, 20 percent is a great place to start from.

You can also resize the model to suit your particular needs and requirements. Check the designer's notes on resizing to ensure that you don't end up with a botched Print.

4. Run some practice prints

You are now ready to print. It is always a good idea to run some practice prints. This will give you a better idea of the right parameters to use to achieve the quality that you're after. You can adjust the printing parameters with each Print to find the perfect settings.

Other Skeleton Ideas to 3D Print

The articulated skeleton is one of the toughest 3D skeletons to print. There are various other 3D skeletons you can also consider in addition to 3D printing the articulated skeleton. These include:

  • A skeleton hand – This will give you great practice prior to printing the entire skeleton.
  • Animal skeletons – these are also quite complex but also just as great fun as the human skeleton.
  • A solid skeleton – this is a great place to start prior to printing the articulated skeleton. It will give you great practice.


The articulated skeleton is great fun and offers a great way to test the boundaries of your 3D printing skills as well as your 3D printer's capabilities. Use the tips outlined above for better results on your project.