3D Printing and Hummingbird

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We love using arts & crafts materials to build robots, but one of the strengths of Hummingbird is that you can use the parts with any sort of building media. Enter 3D printing, one of the coolest ways to design and make parts for your Hummingbird robots!

To help kickstart your 3D printing explorations, BirdBrain Technologies friend Rich Juchniewicz has created a library of open-source, freely downloadable, editable, and printable parts that work well with parts from the Hummingbird kit. We'll use this tutorial to share our current library of parts and our process for editing and printing them. Please share with us any parts that you create, especially if they used one of our designs as a starting point!

1. Models and Projects Library

Our parts were designed with Autodesk's free 123D Design software. One reason we chose to use this software is that it allows anyone to publish 3D models and projects, as well as embed those models in their own websites. The following models are all embedded, click the "123D" button in the image to explore and download the model on 123D's website. 

Hummingbird Duo Case

Want your Hummingbird Duo to have a case? Print one!

Hummingbird Rover

This is a design for an entirely 3D printable Hummingbird Duo rover - the only additional building materials you'll need are screws and velcro. This project was inspired by PK Graff's class project where students designed and 3D printed their own Hummingbird rovers. Click on the video button to see a brief video of the rover?


A collection of spur and worm gears and a rack. All gears work with each other and mount to either the HS-311 servo or the GM2 gear motor found in the Hummingbird kit.


Two pulleys, one of 30 mm and one of 50 mm diameter. They can mount to either the HS-311 servo or GM2 gear motor and they will fit the o-ring gear motor wheel tire included in the kit.

Motor Mount

A mounting strap and base for the Hummingbird's gear motor.

Gear Motor Wheel

A wheel for the Hummingbird's gear motor. For a tire, we suggest this O-ring

Gear Motor plastic blocks adapter

An adapter that allows you to attach plastic blocks and gears to the Hummingbird's gear motor.

You can also see this project at Shapeways.

Servo Mount

A mounting strap and base for the HS-311 servo included with the Hummingbird kit.

Perpendicular Servo Mount

To mount the HS-311 servo in a different orientation.

Servo Lego Peg Adapter

An adapter that will fit two lego pegs to the HS-311 servo. The pegs are spaced to easily attach a Lego 40 tooth gear or Lego pulley.

LED Diffuser Caps

An arrangement of caps for the LEDs included in the Hummingbird kit. Print with white plastic for best results.

2. Editing and Printing Parts

2.1 Editing

To edit the parts from our library, download the 123D Design app and then download one of the models from us or anyone else (you will be prompted for which file type to download - select the .stl and .123dx options). Open the model in 123D design and start editing! Full tutorials for using 123D Design are at Autodesk's site.  

2.2 Exporting to STL

Once you have completed your part, you will need to convert it to STL format. STL is a standard file format for describing 3D models that is used by most 3D printing applications. To export to STL from 123D Design, simply go to the File Menu->Export...->STL:

Please note that if you are downloading an existing model from the 123D site without intending to edit it, you can simply select STL as one of the file formats to download.

2.3 Printing the Part

Making it Yourself

If you have a 3D printer on-site, use the STL file and open it with the printer's software. Most 3D printers have their own software for opening a file and printing it, and it is beyond the scope of this tutorial to detail this process as it varies greatly from printer to printer.

Have it Made

A number of sites will fabricate your design in plastic, ceramic, or even metal. Low-cost plastic prints can be had for as little as a few dollars, so purchasing a print online can be a reasonable option. You can use the 123D site to order parts directly (you will see the option if you click on the "Edit/Download" button on a model page), or you can upload your STL file to Shapeways, an online marketplace for custom 3D designs.

2.4 Sharing is Caring

If you've created something cool, please publish it to the 123D models page, and if it will be handy for other users of Hummingbird kits, please tag it with "Hummingbird" so that it's easy to find.