How To Turn An Animation Into A Soap Bubble Machine

Post an animation on Reddit of a workable machine that looks neat and does something cool and the next day someone will have built it. That’s what happened when [The-Big-Ship] uploaded an animation of a clever bubble making machine — though we had to look twice to convince ourselves that it wasn’t real. The next day [Over_Engineered_2] posted a video of his working one.

We often hear that you need precision CAD software such as Solidworks and AutoCAD to design a functional machine but the animation was done using Cinema 4D, used for films such as Iron Man 3 and Tron: Legacy. This shows that you can at least get a reassurance that the basic mechanics will fit and move together without having to design precision parts.

That’s not to say that reality didn’t interfere with implementing it though. In [Over_Engineered_2]’s video below he points out that the bigger ring of the original animation didn’t work with his small motor and propeller, and had to switch to the smaller ring. Also, note that the ring needed guide rails on the sides to keep it from twisting, something a real world ignoring animation can get away without. Check out the videos below to see the two in action.

Here’s [The-Big-Ship]’s animation…

… and here’s [Over_Engineered_2]’s implementation in the real world.

Or you can get your soap bubble machine design by looking at the Space Shuttle’s robotic arm end effector like [GordonKirkwood] did.

15 thoughts on “How To Turn An Animation Into A Soap Bubble Machine

  1. “We often hear that you need precision CAD software such as Solidworks and AutoCAD to design a functional machine but the animation was done using Cinema 4D, used for films such as Iron Man 3 and Tron: Legacy.”

    Blender with it’s built-in game machine, or use an external one.

    1. Agree…Got very feed up with the available CAD system trying to learn them. Was using Blender on a project. Said what the heck! Cant be worse! Had the prototype for a Raspberry Pi zero box done in under 10 minutes. Printer. And went OH MY! ^_^

      Had a large one done in a few hours. Native measurement are really in MM! Resolution is beyond what you need to 3d print!

        1. It depends on the type of thing you are building. Organic shapes, for example, are close to impossible to model in CAD but they are straightforward in artistic (?) 3D animation software.

          I’ve used Blender to model mechanical things I 3d-printed and it does the job but it is not the best tool for this. If you want to model solids for mechanisms it is much easier to use a constraint-based cad such as Solvespace or the superpowerful commercial ones like solidworks or inventor. Solvespace is the best piece of software I discovered last year and I can’t get tired of repeating how much I like it.

    2. Blender is only faster if you don’t include the 2+ years experience needed to understand their insane UI : )

      At least three months of that time is taken up by having to listen to forum users affected by Stockholm Syndrome, telling you that all its quirks are actually features.

  2. “We often hear that you need precision CAD software such as Solidworks and AutoCAD to design a functional machine …”

    Really? Many high precision machines are made (designed) with pen and paper even today. Learning the basics of technical drawing is easy and unless the machine is intended to be mass produced the finer details can be put down in writing.

    CAD can be a huge help for more complicated things but IMHO a potential PITA for smaller/simpler projects.

  3. “We often hear that you need precision CAD software such as Solidworks and AutoCAD to design a functional machine but the animation was done using Cinema 4D, used for films such as Iron Man 3 and Tron: Legacy.”

    quite frankly, this mechanism is simple enough for a child to get the things sized properly based on a hand-drawn draft.

  4. The ‘problem’ wasn’t the size of the ring. It was that a metal ring doesn’t store enough soap to create the surface of the bubble. It might have worked just fine with a pipe-cleaner reservoir to carry the solution. In the smaller ring they built in liquid retention channels.

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