Innovative Designs using Special Materials- Linkage Dinosaurs

By Yu-Wen Zhang


Innovative designs built using different materials has often been the idea for creations by Wen Create Maker Room. We try to use different processing and design methods to present various classic children’s toys or works, such as using additive manufacturing with layers by layers or mortise and tenon structure. Also, 3D-printed works can be processed using a laser-cutter.


When it comes to the classic works of 3D printing, designs that most people are familiar with should be linkage projects or the hollow ball carvings. The hollow balls feature the advantages of additive manufacturing and they subvert many traditional processing techniques. This also gives rise to many hollow designs, such as models with bears within bears. The designs with balls in balls are also called “set of balls”, which is also a traditional carving technique.

The linkage series feature designs made on an axis. After the works are produced, the object can form a 2D-to-3D stand-up shape without assembly. The most known works are the linkage dinosaur series.


The linkage series usually come in fish bones, dinosaurs, and all sorts of shapes, including 3D octopuses. These are often found with linkage designs that involve 3D-printing, which will be our theme for creations this time.

There are also many versions of the 3D-printed linkage dinosaurs on the Internet. The version that we refer to is by Alexander Thomas.

Regarding the design of linkage dinosaurs, the very first version should be made by Flexy Rex. Should there be any mistake, please do not hesitate to contact us to make corrections.

Design and production

Graphic design

We thought of this theme due to an article- Build a Tiny T-Rex. The original work was built using laser-cutting and gluing to make the appearance of a linkage dinosaur, but the joints could not move at all.

Based on that design, we tried to use the tenon and joint structure to build the wooden dinosaur with movable joints without gluing. In terms of the structure, we used the one similar to jigsaw puzzles to connect each section with a round-shape joint, with a mortise and tenon as the male/female snap-fit. Overall, it is like a sandwich with layers stacked together.

3D modeling

Due to the simple structure of the tenons and joints, there are not too many slopes on the projection, so we just skipped the phase for modeling.

Laser cutting for furnishing

The most important thing before laser-cutting started was the layout arrangement, as we tried to use the least area to complete the cutting of the parts. There is also the need for breakpoints on the edge, so that the pieces can fit well after cutting.

One thing to notice with the layout is that there are decorative lines on the two sides of the dinosaur, so the two ends should be mirrored to take forms, instead of just being copied from one side and pasted onto the other.


Assembly was very simple; all we did was put together the 3D-printed parts.


Finished product

In addition to adding a chain to make it a hanging ornament, it can also serve as a Cup no Fuchiko figure to be placed on a cup!


The theme this time features the traditional designs made using different materials, and the idea focuses on the reinterpretation of many antiques in Chinese culture. In addition to proposing a new concept for creation, it is hoped that this design can be food for thought for Makers who are running into creator’s block.



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