Mechanical Bird Project – 3D Modeling and Printing

Length: 2-hour class workshop

Prerequisites: None

Provide authorization: No

Audience and learning objective: This class is for people who would like to learn (very) basic 3D modeling (Autodesk Fusion) and make their first print at PS1, by doing a sample project – a mixed media, very simple, automata wind-up toy. It services as a good pre-authorization class to individuals who are totally new to 3D modeling and printing. It assumes no prerequisite knowledge outside of Windows and some software literacy.

Materials: All non-filament materials will be provided – so wire, the plastic cylinder  (cost = approximately 50 cents)

Screenshot for Fusion 360

I printed out my bird successfully enough that it’s proven that the torus-hinges work  (file here – The youtube video shows the mechanics of the bird.  The bird is designed and 3D printed, instead of the elements made with polymer clay in the video below. I will have some polymer clay around in case anyone throws up their hands.

For the cam, I’m doing a “heart cam” mechanism adapted from this book about paper automata (mechanical models)



Flipped classroom: I will provide an online video tutorial of the classroom lesson, so you could feasibly skip that part of the physical class if you did the software lesson at home. It’s also a resource if you need to brush up and review after the class.

Discussion: After an hour, we take a break and have a quick discussion about things people want to make – blue sky ideas. We talk about design, approach, prototyping, fabricating what explore what “CNC” means at PS1. We help hatch little dreams.

End of Class: I demo how I export my Fusion model so it’s ready for the 3D printer. I trim the filament, hit the start button and it starts printing (hopefully) I have a quick demo of how to assemble (which also has an online video) a completed print (based on a print I’ve done before the class – like Julia Child who would put a cake in the oven and take out an identical baked one).

The class concludes by showing the class the google group, and how you request authorization on the 3D printers.

Donations and waived fees: I will teach as a volunteer. I would be interested in approving and testing the following fee structure: the class offers people the opportunity to donate $15 – only if they have the financial resources to throw in comfortably, and only to those who didn’t have to hire a babysitter to participate in the workshop. You can throw in, or not throw in at any time, so it’s pretty hard to tell who donated or not. 100% of donations gets donated for member scholarships.


Class: Mechanical Bird Project – 3D Modeling and Printing