3D Printing

Pathfinder will be made primarily of 3D printed parts, using PLA plastic filament in a variety of colors. You can get creative here and do your own color scheme for Pathfinder!

Sugru works very well to fasten PLA parts together as well as to form part extensions, and to smooth some surfaces. You may want to test Sugru bonding with alternate filament materials if not using PLA.

First, download the Pathfinder STL models from the .zip link button below, then get printing!

Note, any model file with a multiples suffix in the name, such as pathfinder_lens_protector_x2.stl need to be printed in those multiples.

Do not print the pathfinder_assembled.stl file, it is only provided as assembly reference.

Once the parts are printed (whew!) it's time to begin assembly.

This rendered turnaround of the model will show you how the parts will all fit together.

Abdomen Section

The abdomen section goes together with two main parts -- the abdomen base and the roller on which the torso will later rest -- and two brackets.

There are also four cylindrical press-fit plugs that join the parts. Use a small bit of Sugru in the receiving holes of the abdomen and roller to hold these all in place as shown.

Canister Build

Some parts need to be created as sub-assemblies before adding to the full robot.

The canisters on Pathfinder's shoulders can be assembled with a bead of Sugru rolled out and then placed on the top and bottom of the main cylinder.

Then, press it onto the base and place the lid on top as shown here.

You can cut off any excess Sugru that overlaps when the base and lid are pressed into place.

Use a small dot of Sugru to attach the handle as well.

You will repeat all of these steps for the second canister.

Add the canister handles and nubs, building up the nubs with some red Sugru.

Canister Magnets

Using a bit of Sugru, embed a small magnet into the base ball of each canister.

Mark the north sides of two magnets so the opposite magnet can be flipped and embedded later into the canister attachment cups.


To secure the shoulder ball into the shoulder socket, roll out a bead strip of Sugru and add it inside the socket.

Push the ball through from the inside, then sculpt and smooth the Sugru to create a nice, seamless joint.


Use your soldering iron to place M2.5 heat-set threaded inserts into the holes in side the monitor frame. You'll use these to secure the PyPortal acrylic frame and the PyPortal in place.

Align the PyPortal acrylic frame inside the printed monitor frame, then screw the PyPortal into place with the nylon M2.5 screws.

Sculpted Pouch Nubs

Pathfinder's three front pouches have red release nubs on them -- use red Sugru to sculpt these.

Torso Threaded Inserts

Use a soldering iron to place two M4 heat-set threaded inserts into the left torso half.

These will be used later to screw in the right torso half using M4 x 50mm screws.

Torso Electronics

Add the reset button, power switch, volume potentiometer, and USB power port extender to the left torso half as shown. Fasten them with their provided nuts. Then, reconnect their cable interconnects to the main proto board if necessary.

Use some Sugru to secure the speaker, battery, and electronics inside the torso. It will be a bit of a snug fit, so try dry fitting the halves together before allowing the Sugru time to cure in case things need to be adjusted.


Close It Up

Add one M4 threaded insert to each torso half so the monitor can be screwed into it from the top using the M4 x 14mm screws.

Fasten the two torso halves together with the longer M4 x 50mm screws now.


This is a good time to test all of the functions!

Head and Eye

Secure the lens to the inside of the head/eye socket with a thin bead of Sugru. You can use a shop towel or cloth when handling the lens to avoid fingerprints.

Secure the outer eye detail parts with Sugru as well.

Push the eye NeoPixel up through the neck and then secure it inside the head with Sugru. You can create a nice depth effect by adding a spacer between the NeoPixel and lens.

Shoulder Gaskets

To attach the shoulders to the torso, press fit them in place and then fill the connection with a gasket-like strip of black Sugru.

You can trim, sculpt, and smooth it with a tool or your finger to give it the appearance of a rubber gasket.

Neck Cowl

With the NeoPixel eye fed up through the neck tube and secured inside the head with Sugru, you can attach the neck and head to the torso.

Then, wrap the neck cowl form pieces around the neck and begin sculpting a Sugru cowl over the top of it. Pathfinder has a rubberized canvas cowl in the game, so this will emulate that look and have organic folds and curves in it.

Pouches and Mounting

Attach the mounting plate to the abdomen brackets and then affix the pouches to the mounting plate with Sugru.

You can place the torso on top of the abdomen roller and affix it with a dot of Sugru.

Collarbones and Canisters

You can now pop into place the collarbones and canisters using their magnets to hold them.

This guide was first published on Jun 24, 2020. It was last updated on Nov 29, 2023.

This page (Print and Assemble Pathfinder) was last updated on Jun 07, 2020.

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