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4-Mation is a DIY Interactive 3D Zoetrope Available to Back on Kickstarter

Picture of Hanna Watkin
by Hanna Watkin
Sep 3, 2018

A new crowdfunding campaign for an interactive and home-printable 3D Zoetrope has smashed its funding goal. The project, called 4-Mation, uses 3D objects and strobe lights to create impressive, moving visuals. There are four different animations available to back on Kickstarter. 

Zoetropes were invented back in the 1800s but still remain popular, especially amongst animators, today. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the name, you’ll likely have seen a zoetrope – they’re spinning drum-shapes which project moving pictures.

The 2D version wowed Victorians and modern-day children alike, but, a new Kickstarter campaign is giving the zoetrope a 3D printed upgrade. This new device is called 4-Mation and relies on 3D objects and strobe lights.

Kevin Holmes, one of the 4-Mation creators, told Digital Trends: “Zoetropes are the original GIFs… 3D Zoetropes take it to the next level, animating solid, 3D objects instead of paper cartoons. They are real-time stop-motion animation machines.”

The campaign has so far raised some $24,000 — considerably more than its goal of $10,000 (approximate – depending on the exchange rate from GBP to USD). At the time of writing, there are still 17 days left to go.

Create Magic with a 3D Zoetrope

There are currently four different jaw-droppingly cool animations being promoted on Kickstarter. They include leaping frogs, fish eating other fish, snakes and pyramids and Lego/Marvel Comics.

Holmes explains a little about how 4-Mation works, saying: “Basically we’re telling multiple versions of the same animation story simultaneously, and this allows us to fit a three-second story inside a one-second loop… Like the others, the fish animation is a 20-frame loop, but if you watch the full story of the fish emerging from the clam, eating the fish in front and then being eaten itself, it takes more than three loops (or, precisely 72 frames) to watch.”

If you choose to back this project on Kickstarter, there are now six tiers to choose from with the Early Bird options having all gone. The first is a £10 pledge for which you’ll receive just the 2D kit. This includes receiving a 32.5cm diameter 2D color-printed carousel cover but, you’ll need to download and 3D print the zoetrope machine and one of the animations. You’ll also need to buy parts including, LED boards, cables, screws, a motor and more.

The Super DIY option costs £155 and you’ll also need to download the files to 3D print your own animation and carousel hub, as well as CAD files to laser-cut your own frame. But, you’ll receive everything else you need to build the 4-Mation 3D zoetrope.

4-Mation is aimed at parents and teachers who are teaching STEAM (science, tech, engineering, art, and math) subjects. You’ll need access to a 3D printer to build this project.

Learn more on Kickstarter. 

4-Motion

License: The text of "4-Mation is a DIY Interactive 3D Zoetrope Available to Back on Kickstarter" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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