3D printing articulated animals is more complex than making simple statues or static toys, but these projects’ free movement and fun poses make it worthwhile.

With the right design and carefully measured segments that attach, 3D printing articulated animal toys is a fun and rewarding experience for all ages.

Articulated Animals

Here’s some of the coolest and most interesting examples from across the internet – from frogs to octopi, even dragons, of 3D printed articulated animals. Each comes with an STL file download, all of which are either cheap or completely free.

Because the thin link connections in articulated models need more precise measurement and careful assembly than static projects, I’ll be prioritizing examples with clear instructions – so anyone can build confidence!

My Favorite Articulated Animals to 3D Print

1. Fish

  • Download: Cults3D
  • Designer: THINAIR3D
  • Price: $3.98

Articulated models of fish are amongst the simplest things to 3D print, with easy models like these that even beginners can manage with no issue. For this segment, we’re looking at this excellently detailed 3D printed articulated koi fish.

Don’t let the high print quality fool you, this is a simple print-in-place model that doesn’t even require support. It also comes in a second variety to strengthen the otherwise brittle whiskers if you plan on playing with it often.

Be advised that this print was designed with a printer no smaller than the Creality Ender 3 in mind, so it may not be suitable for printers with a build size of less than 220 x 220 x 250mm.

2. Articulated Frog

Frogs are adorable creatures, and if you agree with that then you’ll love this creative 3D printed articulated gemstone frog designed by noted creator of cute 3D prints, Cinderwing.

While the print doesn’t require supports, the designer recommends using rafts or brims if you’ve had trouble with first-layer adhesion in past prints. It’s also worth noting that this design is copyrighted, so if you plan on selling your prints of this adorable articulated frog, you will need Cinderwing’s permission, for which she asks for a Patreon subscription.

3. 3D Printable Articulated Octopus

  • Download: Cults3D
  • Designer: MCGYBEER
  • Price: Free

This cute 3D printed mini octopus is the perfect print for those of you who want something simple and cute that still yields impressive results.

Despite being articulated, this octopus model is designed to be printed in one piece and needs neither support nor assembly to make it in its default size. However, you will need supports if you plan on printing them bigger than the included STL files are designed for.

The same designer has a host of other 3D printed articulated animals, including this beaver and the ever-adorable red panda for you to check out. All of their designs are available on their Cults3D page and most of them are under $4.

And if you love this design, why not check out our full comprehensive list of the best 3D printed octopus models?

4. Articulated Dragons

  • Download: 3dptk
  • Price: Free

Dragons, though not real animals, offer an exciting variety for 3D printing enthusiasts interested in mythical creatures.

The link above is my favorite example of the 7 different articulated dragons in the video below ready to 3D print, and there are even more to choose from in our in-depth article on dragons here.

The linked model for the Imperial Dragon STL is deceptively simple. It can be made with just about any 3D printer and the parts are easy to assemble, so just about anyone can manage this impressive print.

5. Articulated Cat

  • Download: Thingiverse
  • Designer: Rollerpaw
  • Price: Free

The cat lovers amongst you have likely already seen a lot of 3D printed felines out there, but few are as cute or as easy to print as this articulated cat that wiggles and even folds over domed surfaces.

This is another 3D printed articulated animal that can be printed in one piece with no supports. But due to its small size, it’s a good idea to exercise caution when removing it from the print bed. If it’s adhered too much, try to detach each piece separately instead of all at once so you don’t damage the connecting hinges.

6. Articulated Dog

  • Download: Printables
  • Designer: Wolffshaut
  • Price: Free
3D Printed Articulated Dog

If you’re more of a dog person, then this 3D printed articulated dog model is an easy, upgraded design with a bigger head and better balance.

Everything from its head to its tail is articulated to wiggle and move, making it a nice desktop ornament to fiddle with in your idle moments.

It prints perfectly in PLA with a nozzle temperature of 220℃, though feel free to experiment with different filaments and settings to see what’s right for you.

7. Flying Sea Turtle

If you’re looking for a 3D printed articulated animal but also want a more mechanical engineering-focused project, then look no further than this creatively designed Flying Sea Turtle. 

The design was born from the creator’s passion for environmentalism, both out of awareness of mankind’s effect on turtle life, and admiration for the graceful flight-like movements of a sea turtle in water.

While perfectly functional as an articulated animal all its own, the included designs for a gear-based system allow the animal to move gracefully with a simple turn of the handle.

This 3D printed articulated turtle will take some extra know-how to get right, but with the right raft settings and careful attention to the measurements, you’ll have a really impressive, smoothly moving articulated turtle you can be proud of.

8. 3D Printed Articulated Snake

  • Download: Fab365
  • Designer: Greedy Fox
  • Price: $4.49

The gorgeous design is reminiscent of the articulated crystal dragon, which I count among my favorites, and the detailing is made to look stunning using silky or rainbow filament. However be warned that this filament can be more brittle than standard PLA, so be careful when moving the finished piece around.

The eyes are printed separately and attached to the main model to make it look a little more lifelike, so be sure to save the STL files for those too! It’s also worth noting that this articulated snake was designed for the original Ender, and has a minimum recommended build plate size of 220 x 220mm.

9. Owl

  • Download: Cults3D
  • Designer: FLEXIFACTORY
  • Price: $2.95

3D printed articulated owls normally only have movable heads, which is why I’ve chosen to highlight this fully articulated, flappy model with flexible wings instead by the popular FlexiFactory. 

The design is deceptively easy to print, with most of the main body being only one print and no supports needed for it to be ready for assembly and play. With only 4 parts to print overall, you can experiment with different colors and styles to see which one you like best.

10. 3D Printed Articulated Fox

  • Download: Cults3D
  • Designer: FLEXIFACTORY
  • Price: $2.50

Another design from FlexiFactory that I felt deserved a spot is my personal favorite, the cute and lazy 3D printed articulated fox. It’s designed to lie down or stand and makes for a wonderfully detailed toy or desktop fidget piece that any vulpine enthusiast will love.

Like the owl above, the fox is designed with very few parts that print without supports and attach easily, making this an easy print for anyone to try. Just be sure to use a minimum of 20% infill to ensure sturdiness and strength so it can withstand constant play.

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