How To Embed Animations Inside Your 3D Printing Timelapses

3D Printing & Imaging Art & Sculpture Photography & Video
How To Embed Animations Inside Your 3D Printing Timelapses

This last weekend, I released a personal project I’ve been incubating for some time. I’m embedding animations into timelapses of 3D prints. The animation is intended to give more story to the final result.

YouTube player

When I first started recording timelapse videos of 3D printing, I found the process to be fascinating. The fact that we’re using the printer to automate the process seemed to have so much potential in my mind. Once I got the initial system working, I quickly jotted down some different ideas that I had, and began discussing them with friends. My mind kept coming back to this timelapse system and how I could automate it for other kinds of animations. Could I somehow automate stop-motion animations?

I realized that with my timelapse rig, I could recreate this using a belt printer, fully automated! That idea may still happen, but I wasn’t happy just to recreate something that had been popular 8 years ago.

After stewing on the concept a bit, I realized that adding animations within the model, could make the timelapse itself have more value. At least, it could be more entertaining.

Being something new, and somewhat video related, I immediately thought of the Muybridge Horse.

Widely considered to be the first movie, this example seemed a good fit. Now, I’m not here to debate whether or not it actually was the first. If you’ll notice, I embedded it in a cinema camera that didn’t even exist at the time Muybridge was doing his experiments in motion pictures. I just thought that watching a film camera being printed, and seeing the Muybridge horse integrated into it’s construction told a neat story, one that I had not seen before.

Watch the video to see the process I took to create this, the math involved to time the motion, and how you can do it pretty easily. I’ve also published the files for anyone who wants to toy with the concept themselves.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity I see in makers. My favorite thing in the world is sharing a maker's story. find me at

View more articles by Caleb Kraft


Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).