While the 3D prints you see on places like Thingiverse and MyMiniFactory are usually based on fictional characters, weapons or even architecture, today we have an entire collection of recreations focused on various beetles.

The Japanese maker behind this project – Thingiverse user Dendeba – tells us that there’s no special reason they’ve decided to try their hand at making this group of insects. Instead, Dendeba has a history of working with model cars, and decided to try out some organic prints first as they’re relatively easier to make in comparison.

After first trying their hand at Blender, Dendeba decided to move to the Sculptris software due to its ease of use. Some concessions needed to be made for each beetle to make them printable, with the legs and antennae being thicker than they would be on the actual animal.

For printing each beetle is split right down the middle and supports are added to keep everything rigid. The result right off of the printer is a bit of a mess and you wouldn’t be able to tell what exactly you’re looking at before more work is put in.

With the supports removed you get a better idea of what the print looks like. The two halves are melted together and a rotary tool is then used to smooth things out.

Painting, however, is where these creatures really come alive, and they all start with a black primer which is sprayed on. From there the rest of the colour is air brushed on with the choices changing depending on the beetle. The Hercules and rainbow stag beetles are highlights here.

Finally a clear coat is added to seal in the paint, but the amount of gloss here is important as different beetles need a different amount to look accurate. The Atlas and aforementioned rainbow stag beetles, for example, are completely glossy while the rest are semi-gloss.

If you’d like your own beetle collection you can find the files to make them available for free from Thingiverse. 

You can see the first ten made by Dendeba below, along with their details of how long they took to model (usually six hours), total time to print, and their length including the legs. Click on the name of each beetle to be taken to its individual Thingiverse page.

Sawtooth stag beetle

Time to model: 6 hours

Time to print: 1.5 hours

Length: 8 centimetres


Golden stag beetle

Time to model: 6 hours

Time to print: 1.7 hours

Length: 7 centimetres


Japanese rhinoceros beetle

Time to model: 6 hours

Time to print: 3  hours

Length: 8 centimetres


Hercules beetle

Time to model: 6 hours

Time to print: 6 hours

Length: 16.4 centimetres


Atlas beetle

Time to model: 6 hours

Time to print: 5 hours

Length: 12 centimetres


Flat hoe stag beetle (Dorcus titanus)

Time to model: 6 hours

Time to print: 2 hours

Length: 8 centimetres


Giant stag beetle (Dorcus Hopei Binodulosus)

Time to model: 6 hours

Time to print: 2.5  hours

Length: 9 centimetres


Tiny stag beetle (Dorcus rectus)

Time to model: 4 hours

Time to print: 1 hours

Length: 6 centimetres


Miyama stag beetle (Lucanus maculifemoratus)

Time to model: 6 hours

Time to print: 1.5 hours

Length: 8 centimetres


Rainbow stag beetle (Phalacrognathus muelleri)

Time to model: 6 hours

Time to print: 1.5 hours

Length: 7.3 centimetres


Other 3D print roundups: