the Bones & Body

This exploded view was designed to assist you in the assembly of NovaSM3. So try it out and have a whirl around her body and get a feel for what is involved and where the parts go. The power of this view comes from the features that are offered. Check out a few key ones listed below that will be very helpful when modifying, assembling, and understanding Nova Spot Micro.

Courtesy of Jordan Letchford

  • Select a Part and then right-click on it will for additional options (useful for hiding parts)
  • Markup – Can annotate the current frame with all types of handy images and words to help get an idea across
  • Section Analysis – cut Nova down an axis and explore the inner works of her
  • Exploded Model – Explode Nova into all of her parts, right down to her bolts and nuts
  • Model Browser – find your desired part, click it and see exactly where it fits into Nova and in what orientation. Each part will have a drop-down list for its subparts and there is a search box at the top of the list, utilize that for a smooth experience. Once you are done, press ESC on the keyboard, and you are back to the start. 
  • Environment Change – Go to settings -> Environment. You can now change the color of the background and make the model pop in new ways. This can be useful before printing it or to just see highlights easier. 
  • Want the CAD models as a STEP – just click the link to the cad assembly files and you can download the files in an arrangement of file types from the top left of the screen. 

NovaSM3 requires lots of 3D printing, so get ready for nearly 100 hours or more of listening to your printer whirl and whizz!

For most parts, especially structural ones, I suggest the following 3D printer settings:

  • minimum layer height of .15mm
  • shell and top/bottom thickness of 0.8 to 1.2
  • infill of 15% to 100%

Each part is different, and will require some thought and trial and error regarding printer bed orientation and support material settings.

Some parts, like the yellow body shell parts, should be printed at 1.2 shell thickness and 100% infill, since they are thin, and for maximum strength. And the black bone framework parts should also have moderate to high settings, for strength and for fasteners.

Here is a video where I share my general printing advice and technique, along with a demonstration of how I use Tinkercad to make design changes.

The Bones

The black colored parts are the “bones” of Nova. They provide the base for the structural integrity of the robot, along with the 12 high-torque, all-metal-gear servos they are attached to. They are assembled using various length 3mm and 4mm cap head screws, metal servo horns, and careful servo wire routing of the leg assemblies.

Below is an assembly view of Nova’s bone / framework structure:

The Body

The yellow colored parts are the “body” of Nova. They provide some structural integrity of the robot, and a good part of her aesthetics. The top and bottom covers are printed as two parts each, since they were too large for most common 3D printers. These parts are easily glued together, with angled seams and glue tabs included in the design. The body parts are mostly fastened by their adjoining black bone parts, along with only 4 main body panel screws on each top and bottom side of Nova.

For best results, outside surfaces of most of the body parts should be facing up when 3D printing. The only exceptions to this are the Top and Bottom Covers (which are best printed standing vertically), and the MidArm Covers (which are best printed outside surface downwards with support).

Below is an assembly view of Nova’s bone / framework structure:


The assembly of the bones, body, and servo motor parts is pretty straightforward. The only moderately tricky part is assembling of the MidArm & MidArm Cover together with the Wrist. Here are a couple of videos with assembly guidance and some tips. CORRECTION: Please use BLUE Loctite thread lock and not RED! Red is permanent, and blue is not – you’ll be better off if and when disassembling.

And finally, here is a recent video showing all of the latest body and bone parts, and their assembly:

Be sure to subscribe and check out my YouTube Channel for many more videos on assembly and design.