Creating a zoetrope with a 3D printer and Arduino

When it comes to music videos, artists today are not only getting more creative but are spending less. Proof of just that, a Maker by the name of Michael Lainé recently used 3D printing to create a unique sculptural animation (also known as a zoetrope) of himself in a project he calls “Silvia.”


To begin, Lainé scanned himself with a Microsoft Kinect. These images were then 3D printed with the help of an Atmel powered Makerbot Replicator 2.


“After correcting and cleaning up the model of myself in Maya, I took it into the motion capture plug-in to get the animation. From there I took a snippet of animation along the timeline and exported each frame as an .OBJ file to bring into Makerware for printing,” Lainé tells

After printing 30 models for his zoetrope, the Maker affixed each of them onto a 300mm wide disk, equally spaced around the outer edge to ensure optimal results. In order to get the zoetrope functioning properly, Lainé employed an LED array as the light source, a stepper motor to drive the disk, and an Arduino Uno (ATmega328). The Arduino was programmed by technician James Thomas to strobe one beam per head for every full rotation of the disk, reveals.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s