Gnomes, Gnomedozers, Spoonriders, and Zen Gnomes

Why are there so many gnomes available for 3D printing?

Anyone who gets involved with 3D printing online soon wonders, “what is it with all the gnomes?” While some people love garden gnomes, for many people gnomes are silly or perhaps scary. The thought of little men standing around doing nothing when we look at them is odd. We’ve all watched TV shows about homicidal tiny men that look like gnomes.

With 3D printing, however, gnomes have one huge advantage: they make the perfect test object.

Gnomes usually wear heavy jackets and pants with a thick waist belt. Their faces are round with heavy cheeks and chins. Most have a triangular hat that slouches. Plus boots. Plus beards and bushy eyebrows. All these details are perfect for testing how well a 3D printer works and prints.

Add in a jet pack, googles, and a logo and you have the MakerBot gnome, probably the most common 3D gnome you’ll find online. It also helps MakerBot runs Thingiverse, one of the bigger places to find and share 3D projects online.

Here are a few easily found examples of 3D models of gnomes. This guy looks like he’s sleeping, or worse:


This gnome has a beard so thick he’s got a pigeon inside:


While this gnome has its own bulldozer, a Gnomedozer, you can 3D print:


And this is the standard MakerBot gnome, colored up, with googles:


Finally, these little gnomes can ride on your spoons. Why you would want one to ride your spoon, I have no idea:


Learn More

Sleeping Gnome

Zen Gnome

Makerbot Gnome

Gnome Dozers



  • Tim Slavin

    Tim is an award-winning writer and technologist who enjoys teaching tech to non-technical people. He has many years experience with web sites and applications in business, technical, and creative roles. He and his wife have two kids, now teenagers, who are mad about video games.

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