Formlabs Hidden Butterfly?

Hi, I’m wondering if the hidden butterfly model is printed all in one go or if it’s snapped together. If it is a single print, it would be useful to have the preform file as reference. Is there any hope of that?


Are you talking about their logo as a 3D object? I’m not sure what you mean by “hidden”.

Formlabs has a test file that contains 5 of the butterflies pre-arranged and supported. (I tried attaching it but it is too large)

This doesn’t give you the model, but you can scale it and print however many you want based on that. Maybe you can extract it from PreForm somehow.

I’m talking about the “hidden butterfly” sample model - here’s a link:

I’ve heard that it was printed all in one go. Could be a rumor though.


Oooh, that’s really cool. I hadn’t seen that before.

Neat model!

I took a couple minutes to think about how this might be done in a single print. You’d need sacrificial supports between any vertically stacked faces where moving parts make contact, e.g. #3.

You would minimize the number and size of those supports, then after the print simply twist to break them - and maybe touch up with a thin tool like a razor blade.

If you zoom in very closely you can see some artifacts in that area which might be remnants from such supports (click for bigger image):

I don’t see any support marks visible on the faces of the guide slots (#2). The angle is a bit shallower than I’d expect to achieve an overhang like that without them, but it might be feasible (particularly since the edge faces are angled, not flat).

I’m not clear on the architecture hidden inside the piece, but can surmise some ideas on how it might be done. You’d need at least one other sacrificial support area beneath the rising butterfly platform (#1).

One thing which surprises me is that there don’t seem to be any “pins” sticking out from the platform through the guide slots. I would have expected that’s how the butterfly is raised/lowered. So there might be more going on internally which complicates the print.

This is all speculation, of course. Bottom line is I would be inclined to approach this as multiple parts that get post-processed individually then snapped together, but if you’re really clever I think it could be feasible to construct something like it as a single print. If you have a FUSE 1 or SLS doing so would be trivial.

I’d be happy for someone who knows more about the part to jump in and correct any of my speculation here.

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I actually have one of these sample prints. It’s true that there is a guide spiral, it’s just hidden on the inside. It seems like they printed this on the build platform, in 3 parts - the center column, the “knob” column, and the shell.

The main mystery is whether or not they built tiny supports in section 3 that @rkagerer called out. The distance between the parts is so small that I find it hard to believe it would print and snap like that, but I suppose it’s possible. I might try a test print of something similar to see if it will work. Still would be great if we could get the file!

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