Gen5X Generatively Designed 5-Axis 3D Printer

An educational 5-axis 3D printer that teaches Generative Design, Additive Manufacturing, and 5-Axis Machining.

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Generative Design, Additive Manufacture, and 5-Axis Machining are increasingly essential techniques in the toolkit of future engineers. The Gen5X project aims to develop these skills by providing a hands-on learning experience that inspires and empowers the next generation of engineers to tackle complex design challenges using cutting-edge technology.

Fundamentally, by engaging in the design, build, and further development of the Gen5X platform, users can gain a practical, applied understanding of these different techniques and their relationships, from the computational design of a part and its fabrication, to the mechanics of the manufacturing process itself.

Further detail on the key themes and scope of the project are given in the following sections. More info on the Gen5X can currently be found on the project website whilst this page is being updated ( Design files can be found on the project GitHub.

In simple terms, the idea behind this project is to create a machine that can re-design itself. 

Let's say that you want to build this printer, but have 5 slightly different motors that are all different shapes and sizes (within reason). By using this concept, you could regenerate the machines structure to work with the hardware that you already have, and not need to find or wait for new ones.  


This was originally submitted to the re-engineering education challenge, the information below relates to the previous submission but in principal it's the same thing, more or less, just spun differently.  


The Gen5X project contributes to both a procedural and theoretical understanding of the concepts and methods shaping the future practices of mechanical engineers. 

At the procedural level, the project aims to develop a working knowledge of generative computational design methods, additive manufacture, 5-axis machines, and their application within a conventional design and manufacturing framework. 


  1.  Design: Using generative design methods to create and explore the design of highly optimised functional parts and complex systems.   
  2.  Manufacture:  Additive Manufacturing methods to slice and fabricate complex generatively designed shapes (using 3 and 5-Axis FFF 3D printing). 
  3.  Manufacturing process: The mechanics and control of the multi-axis additive manufacturing machines at the core of distributed manufacture.  

On the theoretical, and much fuzzier project level, the project offers a platform to explore the emerging concept of self-designing, 'generative machines'. Machines that not only have the ability to design and manufacture products, but can also create their own updates and upgrades. Here, the following areas for research and development are identified:

Theoretical / Research:  

  1. Self-optimisation. Could embedded sensors enable a machine to learn about itself, and further, use this data to drive the generative design optimisation of its own parts? (a very literal take on machine learning). 
  2. Parametrically defined generative design inputs. If a system of parts is defined parametrically, could new designs be generated to incorporate any working parts that you already have, and therefore not require as many new ones! Enabling, and also promoting re-use methods. (This will be better illustrated at a later point). 

Ultimately, these research findings would feed back into the procedural knowledge that the project supports, allowing for the continued development of new skills.     

The video below shows the first working prototype of the Gen5X 5-Axis 3D Printer. 

Gen5X V1 Parts list.pdf

Parts list and build instructions for the Gen5X 5-Axis 3D Printer.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 723.92 kB - 04/25/2023 at 15:31


  • 1 × A full list of components can be found in the parts list doc.

  • 1
    Getting started with the Gen5X project

    Download the parts list and assembly instructions file provided in the page files.

  • 2
    Downloading part files

    Parts for the current V1.0 design of the Gen5X are available to download on our GitHub page. 

  • 3
    Exploring the Design

    Fusion360 design files are also available to download on the GitHub page. These files can be freely downloaded in a range of different formats to allow design exploration and development. 

View all 3 instructions

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