JANI-TOR Updated

Twice now, my JANI-TOR 3D printed robot model has broken. Once I dropped it while carrying it, and once it toppled over seemingly on his own on my bureau. Perhaps he’s a bit front heavy.

This second time, the head came clean off, so I took this opportunity to redo the head.

The original head disappointed me because the whole point of this model is JANI-TOR is contemplating a ball. But my original model was not looking at the ball, he was looking far too up and forward:


So I took the opportunity to make an alternate head that is looking towards the ball. Here you see his new head attached, and his old one detached:


There. Fixed it.

Re-Introducing JANI-TOR


In the late 1990s I created a robot in Lightwave, and called him JANI-TOR. The idea was that he was a menial sanitation robot sweeping the floor of a lab he’s not necessarily supposed to be in. His broom bumps a ball (a familiar one to Canadian children in the 1970s, and is NOT, I repeat, NOT the PEPSI logo!) and follows the ball to where it rolls to a halt under a huge Van de Graaf generator, where he reaches down to pick it up as the sparks get increasingly closer to him, and then he stands up, the generator waning, and examines the ball, tosses it in the air where a huge spark disintegrates it, turning it into dust. Undaunted by any of this, JANI-TOR continues about his business.

I put the video together but never did the sound.

This week I decided I wanted to 3D print him. Actually, I decided this many years ago when 3D printing became possible.

This week I remodeled him (can’t find the original Lightwave files), updated a few things, like his hands, and beefed up his feet, and printed him in his broom-carrying, ball-surveying pose.

Here is a tray filled with all of the parts: The dark teal of the original was not available, so I used a lighter version, and I still think he turned out well:


And here he is, printed out. As you can see by the parts, it’s all tab and slot connections, and so he’s not articulated. He’s a statue. But a nice one.

jani-tor-01 jani-tor-02


I posed his eyes looking a bit too high. I can fix that by printing a new head for a different version.

Note the broom. I could have 3D printed that too, but guess what? Sometimes 3D printing is not the only, and not necessarily ideal, method to make something. This time I used two paint brushes (one for the wooden base, and one for the bristles) and a piece of wooden dowel. The hand has a cylindrical space in it so the broom can slide into place easily.

Here are the movies, one is a walk test, and the other the full video. These are tiny because it was the late 1990s and this size took long enough to render. It was also a test only.

Here is a series of single frames from the animation. Each one mimics the storyboard frame I created for them very closely. I stuck to my storyboard fairly strictly.

shota shotb shotc shote shotf shotg shoti1 shoti2 shoti3 shoth1 shoth2 shotj shotk shotl1 shotl2 shotl3 shotm1 shotm2shotm3 shotn1  shotn2 shoto1 shoto2 shoto3


UFO 04 – Jetson Cruiser

The Jetson Cruiser

This is my latest UFO print:


Admittedly, I grabbed the idea from this wonderful model I saw on the web:


I did make my own alterations and adjustments, though.

What I was aiming for was something out of the Jetsons, a flying saucer that invoked a 1950s car feel with fins and chrome lights. I have no chrome, so I was stuck with a gray filament that is called silver but is not.

Here are all of the parts that make up the Jetson Cruiser:



Gluing the bumper to the bottom half:ufo-04-cruiser-assembly-bumper-01

Here the cockpit assembly (console, pilot seat and comfy couch for five passengers) is attached to the bottom of the saucer:ufo-04-cruiser-assembly-cockpit-01

Then the semi-spherical bubble capsule cap is put in place. The fit is so perfect I don’t need to glue it:ufo-04-cruiser-assembly-cockpit-02

Then I blue the six clear translucent lights to the light covers:ufo-04-cruiser-assembly-headlights-01

And I attach those to the body:ufo-04-cruiser-assembly-headlights-02

The tail-light rims go on next:ufo-04-cruiser-assembly-tail-lights-01

Followed by the customary navigational lights, green on the left, red on the right:   ufo-04-cruiser-assembly-running-lights-01

And then the actual tail lights:ufo-04-cruiser-assembly-tail-lights-02

I glue tires into the three wheel housings. Note: These wheels are printed in a flexible black, so they feel like rubber and have some bounce. In a future version I may add axles and allow them to roll:

Inserting the vertical thruster. The thruster is printed in a translucent glow-in-the-dark icy blue. So when it’s glued to the underneath, it shows the orange (and gray from the cockpit) through. To avoid this, I attached a circle of tin foil to reflect light back out:ufo-04-cruiser-assembly-tin-foil-01

Then I glue the thruster in place underneath, and attach the wheels:ufo-04-cruiser-assembly-bottom-01

Now the two halves get joined, for a completed model:ufo-04-cruiser-assembly-main-body-01

The Showroom

ufo-04-cruiser-01 ufo-04-cruiser-03 ufo-04-cruiser-04 ufo-04-cruiser-06 ufo-04-cruiser-07 ufo-04-cruiser-02



Cute Prototype

When I prototype, I use colors I normally have a lot of, but don’t use a lot of, like purple, pink, neon yellow, etc. In the first print of this model, I used purple and pink with green and white.

It was intended only for fit and to determine what issues the model would have.

But my daughter loved the color scheme and basically demanded it, so it’s now hers. Here it is.


New Rocket – Apollo 42

apollo-42-complete-engines-extended-03A couple of years ago I bought a Pegasus Hobbies model kit called “Apollo 27” because it looked awesome. I haven’t built it yet, but I will get to it.  It has these four rocket engines offset from the body with a solid structure holding them in place. I looked at it and thought “Hey, what if they swung in and out?”


Apollo 42 is born. (42 – Reference to the Ultimate Answer.)

I changed the design naturally, but I liked the original enough to keep the basic shape.

Here are the parts: One engine has been assembled to show how the parts fit together.


A bit about the design:

Like many of my rockets, it prints in multiple colors. I design it so that body stripes are individual cylindrical pieces, and I use holes and pegs to align them for gluing (the black mass in the picture is a group of pegs.)

Each hinge arm has a hole in either end. In the body of the rocket and in each engine, there are four hemispherical bumps that the hinge arms get pushed onto. Once in place, this acts as a very solid hinge. In a future design I may change how this works, but for this one it works well. A careful eye can detect that at each end of the hinge arms there is a funneled channel carved in to make sliding these onto the bumps a bit easier (though it’s no easy task.) Once snapped on, however, they work very well.

The number 42 is inlaid using four individually printed numbers, booleaned into the body and angled correctly. I do this by making the letters, the making a cutting tool object that is just a bit larger all around, so the number can slip into the cavity without too much difficulty.

I designed the rocket with two hinged arms for each rocket engine. Each engine retracts to a recessed section of the main body, and extends outward to a maximum distance.

As it is now, each engine can be pulled in and out individually, and because each uses two hinged arms, the angle stays correct as you extend them and retract them.

apollo-42-complete-engines-retracted-03 apollo-42-complete-engines-retracted-04 apollo-42-complete-engines-retracted-01 apollo-42-complete-one-engine-extended-01 apollo-42-complete-two-engines-extended-01 apollo-42-complete-three-engines-extended-01 apollo-42-complete-engines-extended-01 apollo-42-complete-engines-extended-02


I will note that during assembly I came up with a great way of making it so that when you pull out one engine, the other three will also pull out, and in. I will be working on that in the future, perhaps Version 2.0 of Apollo 42.

Vending Machine Bubble UFO – Flying Saucer – 04

I wanted to make another UFO, this time using a 2.25″ spherical vending machine bubble capsule, one of the newer versions, not the acorn-shaped ones.

So I perused the internet for ideas and found one that I really really liked. I admit I took a lot of the design directly, and then added some stuff of my own, including re-using legs I created for Thunderbird 1’s display stand, with some alteration.

Here’s the final result:


Here are the constituent parts:


The bubble is clearly not 3D printed – it’s the clear half of a vending machine spherical capsule.


Two halves of the saucer, along with the purple interior console and green seat:ufo-04-assembly-01

Front grill and green headlights:ufo-04-assembly-02

Green vertical thruster and legs:ufo-04-assembly-04

Five green tail lights:ufo-04-assembly-03

Beauty shots:
ufo-04-finished-05 ufo-04-finished-02 ufo-04-finished-03 ufo-04-finished-04


I am often inspired by models, things I see in every day life, and in searching the web. I found this one and liked it so much I only made small modifications. Apologies to the original artist. I loved your work so much I had to use it.



Luxury Rocket

In my continuing series of rocket designs, I spent some time last week designing a sleek rocket whose fins sweep down the entire length of the body.


It’s hard to see, but rivets line the body on either side of each fin, and along both rims of the engine section. The window is printed in glow-in-the-dark blue because I like how that looks as reflective glass.

Here is the underside, showing re-use of an engine detail that I modeled for an entirely different purpose but have used in several projects since.


It was first designed for a GI Joe project, an ice blaster.

at-ice-blaster-front-view-01I used that central core (fused into one part) to create a jetpack for a Corgi which I designed and printed for a friend. (I did not design or model the dog, I just used it with my own jetpack design.)

I also used it on my Jetpack Rocket:


My rocket collection so far:


Left top right: Luxury Rocket, Rocket Jockey Ship, Silver Bullet Rocket, Fathers Day Rocket, 3DAGOGO Rocket, Jetpack Rocket, Regular Joes Rocket(s). (One for me and one for each of the Regular Joes.) (That’s the Regular Joes Podcast, which, if you’re not listening to it, you’re missing out.)

Rocket Jockey Rocket – My Unapologetic, Blatant Rip-Off

I admit it. I really liked coolrockets.com‘s Space Tub. I have one here. I’m thinking of selling it, though, as I really have to get rid of the bulk of my toy collection. Here it is:


So before bidding this one a fond farewell, I opted to make my own version of it, with minor changes, so I don’t have to be lonely no more.

Here are the parts:


Body in two pieces, rear and front, pegs to fit them together, a cockpit which has two window sections, unlike the original, a cowl to fit around the cockpit, with a fin slotted into the cockpit, and two on the sides, which form a perfect triple rocket. Top it off with an engine and nose spear.

And it looks like this when completed:


And to finish it off, to be like the original, I added a sewing pin:


And here he is alongside his larger brother (printed at 1.44x scale) with a slightly larger sewing pin:



Thunderbird 4 – A 3D Print


I have been looking for good models of the Thunderbird rescue craft that I did not want to bother to model. Thunderbird 1 and 3 were ones I wanted to model, and thought I could do a good job. However, the curves and nuances of TB2 and TB4 made me not want to go through the trouble. TB5 I could do easily, but I’m not sure I want to.

So recently I found a model of Thunderbird 4 on Thingiverse. But it had some issues.

First, it was solid. I wanted it to be printed in colors. Also, various bits were just thin polygons placed in the mesh, not combined and not closed.

I remodeled those bits, then split the body in half, adding detail, and 3 screw holes to fasten the two body halves together.

All parts

Yellow: Front, rear, engine hoods, fin, nose, lightbar arm.
Red: Stripes and engine housings
Silver: Grill engine inserts
Blue: Windshield and dome
Clear: Lights – raw filament

Adding red engine housing stripes and grills:tb4-grills

Attaching front and rear with 3 screws:tb4-body

The screws:

Nose stripe:



Attaching engines:

Adding fin:

Adding light bar:

Windshield and dome:

Clipped filament strands to fit the light fixtures: (Fuzzy picture, sorry.)

Result is rather nice, even though I had to work hard to get the flat bases (where the body halves meet) to print flat. My printer has been warping up things with large flat surface areas. But it’s not a bad model.


MPC / fundimensions Revised Moonbase Alpha Model Kit

How I envied my friend back in the 1970s when he got the model kit of Moonbase Alpha from the TV series Space:1999. It featured a moon diorama base with the radial iconic Moonase Alpha, with three Eagle Launch Pads, six miniature Eagles and as a bonus, a larger model of the Main Mission room complete with tiny figures.


Some years ago, AMT/ERTL reproduced the kit, fairly accurately, but notoriously with a vacuum-formed base that was not very good. The tubes leading out to the launch pads were molded into the base and badly defined, and the launch pads themselves had issues: they were too large (by 20%) and there were only 3 of them when there should be 5. This meant that the tubes were incomplete, since the pads needed to be connected to base by transport tubes.


Nonetheless I snapped up a copy of that repro kit for later construction.

I decided the base itself was not going to cut it, and what I ultimately wanted to do was make a square, framed wall hanging of this moonbase to hang on my wall.

Last year I took it upon myself to take the moonbase parts (the base itself is not bad) and make my own lunar landscape, lay down the moonbase, then use coat hanger wire (the only thing I could find to scale – but heavy) and 3D print smaller launch pads, and lay out a very accurate Moonbase Alpha.


I cut a 50cm x 50cm piece of styrofoam pink insulation sheeting (a go-to favorite for project work) and spray-painted it. Spray-paint eats away at styrofoam, so the result was a rough lunar landscape with craters and mountains carefully sprayed in. Then I used craft paint with a roller to paint it and cover the pink pock-marks I made with the spraypaint.

Here is the rough layout before I put the transport tubes in place:


The Alpha Moonbase patch was to be part of the display.

I began this project before I got a 3D printer, so the first thing I had to do was create two more launch pads or buy them. I bought some molding putty and epoxy resin and molded and cast a few pads:


I printed the landing crosses on a color laser and glued them down. Not a stellar casting job…

I also needed more pips, the housings that terminate and join the transport tubes, since the kit did not come with enough:


I printed this diagram out on several sheets, taped it together in scale, then used a piece of plastic over it, drew out the tube layout and base placement, and taped this to my lunar base for layout, just test-fitting the pieces on the layout:


I was about to glue everything down when I got my 3D printer and decided to scrap the cast bases and model my own at true scale, complete with docking tubes (a piece missing from the originals) and re-lay it out again with minor changes needed to adjust the scale.

First, I reproduced the original launch pad, adding the docking tube, at original wrong scale:


Later, I printed several of them at 80%, which is closer to accurate.

I was preparing those when I noticed that my styrofoam layout had been attacked by one or more of my three cats.


Oh, sure, they look all nice and peaceful and harmless lying there… but believe me, they are vicious diorama killers!

So I gave up on the project, it being winter now, and I had no way to recreate the moonbase effectively. Spray painting outside in winter is not a great activity. I gave up the project.

But then AMT/fundimensions go and announce they are again reproducing the original Moonbase Alpha kit – only get this:

This time they are producing it properly! The lunar base diorama will be more accurate, better and easier to assemble, fit together properly, and would not have the transport tubes molded in.

They would provide transport tubes to lay out.


They would give us 5 launch pads, not 3, and at proper scale, with docking tubes! As well as the originals for those who wanted to reproduce the original inaccurate model kit.


They would remove the Main Mission component from the layout and make it a stand-alone section of the model kit.


They would give us not only the original overscaled Eagles, but six new properly-scaled Eagles as well!


And this whole kit would cost under $40.00. Did I fall asleep and dream this?


It arrived two days ago! I will be spending some of this fall building it, and framing it when I’m finished. More as news develops!

Dinky Scaled Freighter/Pallet Pod Containers

In Space 1999’s first episode “Breakaway” we see Eagles transporting nuclear waste containers in freighter or winch pods for storage on the dark side of the moon. When the nuclear material begins to become unstable, winch pods are used to distribute them to alleviate the approaching critical mass.


Here are a few of the real Nuclear Waste Canisters as seen in the episode:

Here is someone’s (sorry, I forget who. If you know, I would like to attribute it to the proper person) custom-made Freighter/Pallet pod made from parts of the Product Enterprise Eagle, to fit those models:

A couple of months back I spent some time modeling a Winch Pod and a Freighter/Pallet Pod for my 4″ Konami Eagles and also for my 10″ Dinky Eagles.

One thing I modeled was the nuclear waste container. It was a single piece, a fairly simple 3D printed cylinder, with rings and a cap. I would paint the rings and create my own water-slide decals to give them the warning label the canisters had.


You can see I found painting the black rings to be quite difficult. Getting anything consistent or even was near impossible for me. I’m not that skilled at painting models.

So I decided – hey, I have a 3D printer after all, I don’t have to print these as a single piece. In fact I can print them in two colors in their individual rings.

So I set out to break the simple model down into a base with a post (that also forms the center of the cap at the top) with two black rings, a central body section, and a cap.


Here, the first black ring is slipped on over the base post/cap:

Then the central body ring slides on:

Flanked by the top black ring:

Topped off with a white cap that snaps to the central hub:

I used clamps to hold them while the Super Glue was drying. Then I applied water-slide decals I designed and printed myself.

Here you see the painted version on the left and the printed version on the right: (I think I can probably thin out the rings a bit…)

And here is what the finished Dinky Pallet/Freighter Pod looks like:


NOTE: For anyone who buys these models from me at my shop (Fourth D) on Shapeways, you may want to print the decal sheet I created. The two links below are to PDF files you can print.



You can print them on white waterslide paper either in laser or inkjet (make sure you have the right paper and follow instructions that come with the paper) or you can print them on simple white paper and use simple glue if you like. The decal sheet has both the Konami and Dinky scaled decals. Also, the instructions for the decals (for waterslide) are available here.