littleBits Projects: DIY 3D-Printed Zoetrope

This is part of an on-going series of posts about littleBits projects. littleBits is available in the Adafruit store – Starter Kit,Extended KitDeluxe Kit, and Synth Kit.

A zoetrope is a device that produces the illusion of motion by rapidly spinning a series of static images. It is a classic invention with ancient roots and has gone through many iterations over the years. We thought we would put our own “spin” on the zoetrope using littleBits and 3d printed parts.

zoetrope gif

For this project, our circuit was relatively simple. It has a DC motor and three bright LEDs controlled by a pulse. We also used a button in combination with a latch in order to be able to turn it off and on.


The DC motor sits in a custom 3d-printed vertical mount so that it can stand up on its side. We made this vertical mount by modifying a file from our friend rbrodie. A large chipboard disc with 30 3d-printed figures sits on top of the DC motor via another 3d-printed connector. To make our animated figures we used 30 frames from a 3d animation file we found on Blender’s tutorial page. The whole contraption sits inside a dark box that has two small holes for viewing. The figures come to life with the DC motor and the addition of three fast pulsing bright LEDS.

IMG_9963 IMG_9962 (1)

If you don’t have a 3d-printer, but would still like to be able to use these parts, you can 3d-print our files via Shapeways. Shapeways is a 3d-printing marketplace and community. If you don’t want to go the 3d-printing route, try creating figures using Lego or clay.

You can also find all the 3d files for this project on Thingiverse.


As 2022 starts, let’s take some time to share our goals for CircuitPython in 2022. Just like past years (full summary 2019, 2020, and 2021), we’d like everyone in the CircuitPython community to contribute by posting their thoughts to some public place on the Internet. Here are a few ways to post: a video on YouTub, a post on the CircuitPython forum, a blog post on your site, a series of Tweets, a Gist on GitHub. We want to hear from you. When you post, please add #CircuitPython2022 and email to let us know about your post so we can blog it up here.

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 32,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — Pololu’s account of the chip shortage

Wearables — Stay frosty

Electronics — High voltage logic

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: New Releases of MicroPython and CircuitPython and more! #Python #CircuitPython @micropython @ThePSF

Adafruit IoT Monthly — 2021 in Recap!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — JP’s Product Pick of the Week — 4pm Eastern TODAY! 1/18/22 @adafruit @johnedgarpark #adafruit #newproductpick

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !


  1. Can’t download thingiverse files;
    “This thing is not yet public.”

  2. The Thingiverse files for the zoetrope are now public. Sorry for the inconvenience!!! Enjoy

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.