Theo Jansen’s 3D Printed Strandbeests

Theo Jansen is a Dutch kinetic artist, since 1990 occupied with creating new forms of life. He is father to the “Animari” beach creatures, or “Strandbeests”, made of PVC tubing, that walk the beach powered by the wind. As time progresses the Beests evolve, with the ultimate goal of living their lives on their own.

Now Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests have found a way to multiply by injecting their digital DNA directly into the Shapeways system. From now on several small strandbeests are available from his shop
. Next to being a great abstraction of the inspiring work of Theo Jansen, these strandbeests are also an example of what 3D printing is capable of. Right after birth from the 3D printer these models will work straight away and do NOT require any assembly.

Designing the Beests this way proved quite the challenge. They consist of at least 76 separate moving interlocking parts. Multiple prototypes were used to come to the first viable solution, “Animaris Geneticus Parvus” #5. But the evolution process continues with evolutions #6 with lightweight bone structure and #7 with pointy feet.

3D printing is very suitable for rapid design changes, and as time goes by the Beests will evolve and new types of DNA will be added to the store, while others are removed. Expect more evolutions and variations in the future, with possible variation in size, shape, material or means of propulsion.

Also worth mentioning, a big brother to these Strandbeests is the limited edition “Animaris Geneticus Parvus XL”, which is only available from Theo’s Dutch Gallery Akinci

Animaris Geneticus Parvus is a joint project of Theo Jansen and Dutch Designers Bo Jansen and Tim van Bentum.

Check out the models in Theo Jansen’s Shop.

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  1. T. Shawn Johnson

    I can not think of very many things more amazing that these. Many of us idolize and try to emulate the Great Masters of art and invention history, but what we have here in Theo Jansen is a modern day Da Vinci. Watch him and learn.


  2. Adam

    The machines he creates are really cool, but the way the guy talks about them is kinda crazy.

  3. hawken king

    I think the only true way to let the DNA evolve is to put the 3d model file out there for free and let people advance it. Of course doing this wouldn’t make any money for Theo, but it would advance the DNA at a much faster rate.

    1. Dane

      He gives the numbers for the dimensions of the leg segments on his website.
      I have conveniently provided the link as my Homepage.
      Make your own model.

    2. hawken king

      That does not tackle the refinement of the joints and printing process. You’re talking about new DNA not advancing the DNA of this Strandbeests.

      And lets say one does make a new model, where does the copyright lie?

  4. drscott


    Another 70 Strandeests were ordered over the weekend and will emerge from the polyamide dust 🙂

  5. ecogeekdan

    Name Suggestion: AmeobaPede
    Application Suggestion: Would love to see a version that can clean oil spills on water, sand, marsh, etc.

  6. Shapeways Blog

    Just when you thought Theo Jansen’s 3D Printed Strandbeest could not get any more creepy cool, Tim van Bentum and Bo Jansen have helped take the Strandbeest into the fourth dimension with a 3D Printed Wind Propulsion add on for the existing Stra

  7. J K

    this could be future of agriculture.

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