Crystal Unicorn

A guerilla installation

Photos and video of the unicorn sculpture at dusk atop a concrete base.

Post-Playa updates

Photos and video of the (rebuilt) sculpture.

Updates from Playa de Fuego!

Photos and videos from the event

Build updates

The unicorn sculpture being assembled in a basement with fluorescent lighting.

First LED test

Standing upright on a cluttered table the 3D printed translucent printed horn is lit up in various colors by an LED strip threaded through its center.

Project details

We are thrilled to announce our newest project - a majestic unicorn sculpture with embedded LEDs! The Crystal Unicorn will be made up of 600 clear 3D-printed pieces and will be assembled to create a 4-foot-tall unicorn sculpture.

Crystal Unicorn

These parts have internal channels that we'll be stringing LED strips through. Please print your part in translucent clear plastic so the LEDs can shine through and diffuse to create a stunning effect when lit up. We’ll be controlling the LEDs with a microcontroller and will be able to display neat patterns like rainbows and fire. We’ll be displaying the sculpture at Playa de Fuego, a regional burner event Memorial Day Weekend in Tamaqua, PA. We received a small art grant for this project and will be using it to cover costs of things like LEDs, power, and building materials.

To create this model, Todd started with stronghero’s open source horse model, sliced the head off, modeled in a spot for the unicorn horn in Meshmixer, hollowed the model out, and added tubes for the lights. This model was then sliced up in LuBan to create the 600 parts. I did the horn separately because I’d like to build that first and display it on its own to help promote the project. I’d also like to light the horn separately from the rest of the head to make it stand out on its own.

What makes this project even more special is that each piece will be made from translucent clear plastic with internal tubes to allow for embedded with LEDs, creating a stunning effect when lit up. The unicorn sculpture will be a glowing symbol of hope, beauty, and imagination - a true masterpiece that will inspire anyone who sees it.

We are inviting everyone in the WeTheBuilders community to be a part of this project. Whether you have experience with 3D printing or not, there are many ways to get involved. You can contribute by printing parts, assembling the sculpture, or helping to promote the project on social media.

Internal tube for LEDs in the horn

How will the LEDs work?

Over a dozen LED strips will be threaded through the sculpture. They'll be placed in the tubes that start from the base and go al throughout the sculpture. They will all be wired together and controlled from a central location. The LEDs will be able to display a pattern and be coordinated and run in sync with each other. The sculpture will function as a display for these LED strips. It will be able to display different patterns like a simulated fire pattern, rainbows and more.

The channels for the LEDs were added in Meshmixer before slicing the model up using the Add Tube function. We found the easiest settings to use were Autoroute Minimal for this function.

How was this model sliced?

We used the LuBan software again which really streamlined our process and helped us save a ton of time. Here is what the Crystal Unicorn model looked like when we sliced it up in that software. It gives us estimates on print time and weight and let us preview the slicing before each part was saved as a separate .STL. We are again using the registration features on each block so they'll be easier to orient and align during the construction. This will be especially important to be sure the LED tubes stay alligned.

The main head of the unicorn will be made of 587 blocks, and the horn will be made of 13 blocks. We'll have the sample horn completed and on display on April 23rd at the Downtown Columbia Mini Maker Faire in Columbia Maryland.

Printing Instructions

We’re asking you to print your part in translucent clear plastic so the LEDs can shine through and diffuse to create a stunning effect when lit up.

Thank you for contributing to this fanciful project! Some reminders:

  • For this project, we ask that all parts are printed in translucent clear plastic.
  • Once printed, send us a photo of your part, along with the dimensions and ship it to us! You'll see the shipping address as soon as you've submitted your part's photo and measurements. Combined shipments are encouraged to reduce our carbon footprint. We're also encouraging you to meet up with local makers to combine shipments.
  • Check out the How it Works page for the full breakdown.
  • Please be cognizant of carrier delays and make sure all parts are *received* by April 23rd, 2023 to allow for enough time for us to build it and illuminate it in time for this year's Playa de Fuego.

Individual Contributors

Our thanks to all the individuals who are making this project happen!

  • Jon Dunfee (110 Parts) 110
  • Robert Barton (73 Parts) 73
  • Top Dollar (49 Parts) 49
  • David Waugh (43 Parts) 43
  • LTD Investments (42 Parts) 42
  • Marshall Bronfin (40 Parts) 40
  • United Pawn (38 Parts) 38
  • PawnShops Net (36 Parts) 36
  • Cat (24 Parts) 24
  • David D (23 Parts) 23
  • Chris Molitor (15 Parts) 15
  • Amos Manneschmidt (14 Parts) 14
  • Jeffrey Nelson (14 Parts) 14
  • Kendra (10 Parts) 10
  • Alex Flamand (9 Parts) 9
  • John Grant (7 Parts) 7
  • Andy Castille (7 Parts) 7
  • Maxwell Omdal (3 Parts) 3
  • Todd Blatt (3 Parts) 3
  • Kevin Mullin (3 Parts) 3
  • Donny van zandt (3 Parts) 3
  • Christoph Heuberger (3 Parts) 3
  • Jeff Miranti (3 Parts) 3
  • TheWeb Expert (3 Parts) 3
  • Andrew Woodbridge (2 Parts) 2
  • Emory Stagmer (2 Parts) 2
  • Leila Duncan (2 Parts) 2
  • Mark Kleback (2 Parts) 2
  • Alice Matlaga (2 Parts) 2
  • Top Dollar (1 Part)
  • Daniel Bueno (1 Part)
  • James B (1 Part)
  • Joshua Adams (1 Part)
  • Christopher Stevens (1 Part)
  • Maker Block (1 Part)
This build required 600 parts
We have completed 100%!

Recent Activity

Emory Stagmer shipped Part MeshZ8Y8X7 about 1 year ago
Emory Stagmer shipped Part MeshZ9Y9X1 about 1 year ago
Andrew Woodbridge delivered Part MeshZ6Y9X3 about 1 year ago
Alice Matlaga delivered Part MeshZ6Y11X7 about 1 year ago
Cat delivered Part HornZ2Y1X4 about 1 year ago
Jon Dunfee delivered Part MeshZ7Y9X8 about 1 year ago
Jon Dunfee delivered Part MeshZ6Y10X2 about 1 year ago
Jon Dunfee delivered Part MeshZ6Y4X4 about 1 year ago