Today’s Print – Tom Baker’s Sonic Screwdriver

Of course before Christopher Eccleston’s and David Tennant’s and Matt Smith’s Doctors, the Doctor (in Doctor Who) carried a Sonic Screwdriver.

Most famous is this model:


Oddly enough, someone modeled a version of this and uploaded it to Thingiverse. A user named InnovationByLayers uploaded a version. But it was solid. I remodeled it to print in multiple parts, and so I could make the bullet and the head different colors.


In my first print, I had issues. Notwithstanding the fact that I printed the bullet center of the tip in red first, and the cowl in silver, which is the opposite of what it should be, I also got an error into the 2.5 hour print (I was also printing some other things in silver, so the print took a bit longer.)

About 2/3 of the way through the print the printer stopped and the software declared a Jog Command Error which I have never seen before.

I was worried. Could it be a catastrophic failure of the motors? I started the printer again printing the parts that didn’t finish (the two taller shaft pieces) and so far it’s at layer 180 of 367, and it’s going ok. I still have an hour to go, though. I’ll let you know if it failed again.

But the result of this particular accident is kind of cool. I actually have a stubbier version of the screwdriver I can call a variant. Because two shaft pieces didn’t finish, I can glue them together for a shorter screwdriver, and the head/bullet colors can be reversed. NEW VERSION!!


This also gave me the opportunity to adjust a few bits to fit better, for the full-length one, which I also realized was not being modeled in the right colors. The ring around the eye bullet should be red. The front of the bullet silver, and the rear of it red. So I split the bullet and reprinted it in those two colors.

And here is the properly-printed one on the left, and the variant on the right.




Today’s Print – Tintin Rocket from Destination Moon

Tintin is a world-famous cartoon boy detective. He’s been in print for decades and probably for Americans is most known for the recent Steven Spielberg CGI movie, but that movie didn’t do terribly well because Americans were unfamiliar with the character.

One of Tintin’s books is called “Destination Moon” and was a favorite of mine. It was a two-parter, continuing with “Explorers on the Moon”.

tintin-cover-destination-moon tintin-cover-explorers-on-the-moon

Both feature a huge red and white rocket.

Over on Thingiverse, elk published a 3D version of the rocket, built in 12 parts of interlocking red and white.

This is today’s print. Scaled at 1:1 as it loaded in, I was able to print all seven of the red pieces in one single print run.


Tonight I printed the five white pieces and complete the model.

The model called for a metal threaded rod and a bolt, but who needs it when you have binary epoxy resin?

Here’s the finished product standing next to a die-cast blue Jeep (from the same books) carrying Tintin, Captain Haddock, the Professor and Snowy. The rocket makes a wonderful companion piece!



Today’s Print Project – Thunderbird 3

No, not my concept for Thunderbird 3, which I call TB3, and I’ve already printed a rather nice one of, but rather a concept done by someone else that blends the old, TV version with the new movie version in what I consider a very nice homage. It can be seen on Deviantart

That’s the concept. Here’s the model as interpreted by a Thingiverse user, VanAllesWat.

So I began by printing the most challenging bit, in case printing the lengthy struts was problematic. It wasn’t. It printed fine.

The model loaded into my Afinia software very tiny so I scaled it 15x, which will print a model just a bit smaller than you see in that photo.

Here’s the mid-section with struts:


It took about 2.5 hours to print this in .2mm slices in Normal mode.

I loaded in the nose cone and it came in much larger than the other pieces I have loaded in. I have no idea what scale it comes in at, so I loaded it in with the mid-section and moved the two parts so they line up and scaled the nose by eye.

I’m going to take this print opportunity to print some other smaller parts, too, like the engine pieces.

So I loaded all pieces in and they do not come in at a consistent size. So I imported the various STL files into Maya and re-exported them. Now they come in at a sensible size.

I am printing them, however, at 1.5x scale, to make it a bit larger.

So the print I did (above) today was wasted, and now I’m printing this section again, along with the nose cone and the three engine bottoms.


I loaded all of the .STL files into Maya and re-exported them. Now they all load into the Afinia software at the same scale. I decided to begin printing again and printed the above piece a second time at 1.5x the new scale. With it, I printed the Engine Bottoms and the Nose Cone.


Even though it took longer, I used Fine mode, which is a slower print. I did this because by the time the print was getting near the tops of the three strut rods, the print was wiggling them significantly. This may have affected the shape somewhat so I slowed the print down. For most prints this is not necessary.

Then I loaded in the Main Engine section and printed it. Almost two hours later I realized I forgot to scale it to 1.5, so it’s too small.

Then I printed it at the correct 1.5 scale for a 3+ hour print.


This morning I’m printing Vane section, the Engine Thrusters and Neck Ring in silver. On the above rocket they are black, but on the diagram they appear to be more silver. I’m thinking of mixing it up a bit by making the Engine Bottoms black, but the Neck Ring and Main Engine Bottom silver, with the Engine Tops white. I guess if you follow this page you’ll find out what I decided to do. I may print the same print in both black and silver so I can mix and match at assembly time to see which looks better.

A couple of hours later and the silver pieces are ready:


After a 14 minute print, I have now printed the Engine Tops, which I’m doing in white to be accurate to the original Thunderbird 3, and which the concept kind of hints at.

Then I decided to re-print the three Engine Thrusters and the Neck Collar in black, for contrast and variety.

Since some of the detail in the model went missing (due to the fineness of the widths being culled out by the slicing component of the software) I’m going to try printing these in .15mm Fine mode. But I doubt it will improve. That only determines how many slices, not how fine detail can get within any given slice.

Here are the parts all together in silver, white, black and red:


Before assembly I thought I would take a pic of the Main Engine Thruster just to show how fine the detail can get with the Afinia H479 printer.


Not bad at all.

And here she is in all her glory:


Heh. A true Thunderbird fan will know why the background items are significant in this photo.



3D Printing and Health Concerns

Yes. Depending on the filament being used, the 3D printer does emit fumes. Quite strong for some colors. Almost non-existent for others. At least by smell. This does not mean, however, that it’s not constantly filling the air with microscopic ABS particles.

And everyone I know has sent me the link this week, to this, or similar, articles. And I appreciate the thought, if not the sheer volume.

But fear not. I will now show you something. This is page ONE of a sketchbook I bought in order to jot down design ideas for my 3D printing. I drew this up several weeks ago, just after I got my printer.


I appreciate all the concern for my health. I do not take this lightly, as it is burgeoning tech, and can have unforeseen hazards. But I’m all over it.

This is a design for a hood to go over the printer, made from white PBC piping and connectors. And some of the connectors, if I can’t buy the exact ones I need, will be printed with my printer.

The printer at this moment is directly above an A/C duct, and directly next to a window which so far has been open during all printing. But it doesn’t suck the air away from the printer and out, so this hood design should do that for me.

You might say “I got it covered.” Well, not built yet, but I’m planning on upping the priority of building it.


Blade Runner M2019 Blaster Display Stand

One thing I’ve always wanted was a Blade Runner blaster, one of the most iconic weapons in movie history, next to the Light Saber. This past year, thanks to judicious sales of some of my collectibles, I was able to buy a very very nice one for under $300.00, which is low for this item. Some models can cost over a thousand, depending on the day, and how many eBay buyers are interested.

Known as the Off-World M2019 Blaster, it’s a lot of die-cast metal and plastic, has lots of moving parts, including an opening cylinder which spins, and can be loaded with fake bullets, and a working bolt. It has clear amber grips, and four LEDs that light up under the barrel housing.

It came with a silver plastic handle frame, trigger guard and pommel. I bought a custom-made die-cast metal replacement set on eBay, and what you see in this picture is my pistol, upgraded with that kit. What it’s on is the display stand I’m currently designing and printing with my Afinia H printer.


What you see there is the bare frame, which is modeled in 3 pieces (because the Afinia printer only does 5x5x5 volume, and the bottom strip is about 8 inches long or more. I printed it in two parts with a dovetail connector which snaps nicely into place.

The pommel (both the original plastic one and this gorgeous polished silver one) fits into a cuff at the back of the stand. Then a post rises up to cradle the housing under the barrel.

However, that’s very bare-bones indeed. It serves the purpose, but it’s not overly attractive.

So I opted to design a nice, iconic base for the stand, and I decided to base it on the tiles used in Deckard’s apartment.


Deckard’s apartment was shot in the Ennis House, built by Frank Lloyd Write in 1924 for Charles and Mabel Ennis.

This house has been used in dozens of films due to its iconic Mayan-inspired tile design.

You can see Deckard in his apartment here, the wall made entirely from these tiles.


So I put my M2019 blaster on my scanner and used the Maya measure tool to make various measurements, then modeled my 3D model to those specs.

I printed test pieces in ugly neon yellow (because I had a lot of this yellow and no desire to use it on anything finished) to test the fit, and once I had the fit right I simply had to design the aesthetic components.

What you see above is the structure of the stand that will fit under the block of tiles, and is really all you need for the display stand if you like minimalism. However, I’m going ahead with my block design, which will have a cut in the block to fit the trigger guard, which will also lend more stability. It’s unlikely this stand will fall over when I’m done, especially if I proceed with my plan to model it as a hollow block I can fill with pellets or BBs for weight.

Then I’ll put felt under it for a non-slip, solid standing.

Modeling it, however, proved to have some issues, as I modeled the back of the cuff a bit too close to the inner edge, and the printer didn’t like it, as you can see here.


So I moved some vertices around and reprinted it, and the one above is the one that I fixed, and is nice and stable. Perfect fit too.

3D Printing Stress Test – The Subdivision Bracelet

Today I’m printing an object I downloaded from Thingiverse called the Subdivision Bracelet. subdivision_l_preview_featured

It’s a particularly complicated shape, and will require a lot of support material. This is a bit of an experiment in just how well my Afinia printer can handle this complex an object, and a bit of an experiment in cleanup, and maintaining sanity, as I’m sure it will take me over an hour to remove all the unwanted plastic from this piece.

Here is a sample someone printed on the site:


The print is scheduled to take almost five hours.

Here it is on my print bed, just over half finished.


Note that while a lot of it is just planes of support material, you can see sneaky little peeks of the design in there, and I’m really hoping this works out.

I’m printing this for my daughter to wear.

This may also be a good example of an object to test the acetone vapor-bath concept – which involves laying down a layer of acetone in an enclosed container, with a metal rack sitting above it, not touching it, and the printed part goes in for a given amount of time. The longer it stays in, the smoother and shinier it gets, removing the stepping edges from the part. I haven’t tried this yet, but this object would look awesome smoothed out.

Will post updates when it’s finished, showing the messy cleanup and the final product, I hope.

Update: Apparently you can design your own complex cell shapes at this website: n-e-r-v-o-u-s.


Update: I printed it. Here it is on the print bed, completed:


Here, I begin the cleanup by pulling it off the raft:


Then I begin removal of the support material:


You can see the outer design showing through nicely here. Sadly, however, it is hard to remove the support material without breaking the structure of the bracelet. I counted twice where I had broken a valid part of the bracelet. I can always glue those pieces to re-secure them, but this is a lot of trouble so far.


It’s at this point, where I have the entire outer surface cleaned that I realize not only do I have the entire inner surface to clean, but the space between the two. There is a space between the outer and inner edges, and all of that is absolutely filled with support material, each little strand of which I will have to remove bit by bit with pliers.

And I printed it 1cm or so too small to fit over my daughter’s hand.

As I said. This was just an experiment. I probably will not continue to clean this one. I’ll probably print a larger one and clean that instead.

Airship One – My First Airship Ride in 3D Printing


Airships. Dirigibles. Zeppelins. They are a fascination to me, and always have been. I really feel I missed out on something when they went out of service in the late 1930s.

There is something amazingly romantic about the grace of an airship, a passenger ship so stable in air that you could put a pen on a table pointing up, if it had a flat base, and it would not fall over during regular flight.

Imagine one of these massive whales floating soundlessly above you (unless the rather loud engines were operarting)! It must have been quite a majestic sight.

The Graf Zeppelin (a longer than three-foot model of which hangs above my 3D printer) operated for nine years from 1928 to 1937, making many voyages between Europe and North and South America.


I have a 13″ model of the Hindenburg, famed for its use in Nazi propaganda, buzzing the German Olympic Stadium in 1936, but famed more for its disastrous end in New Jersey, when it ignited and went down on approach to landing on May 6, 1937.


I even found and built several paper models (created by the amazing Ralph Currell) of various airships. These assemble so well I am amazed at the quality. Printed at home on my own printer with card stock, meticulously cut and glued, they are near perfect model kits for an airship enthusiast.


On this shelf you see the card models of R-101, the R-100, and the Vickers Transoceanic Airships. I have his other models, just not built yet. The great thing about these is if you can find a larger printer, you can print them in just about any size!

Also on the shelf is a recent tin lithograph model of the Graf Zeppelin (greatly exaggerated proportions) reminiscent of a 1930s toy. Also, starting from the left is the airship from the cartoon series The Secret Saturdays which opens up to be a playset, but is a nice airship toy regardless of that feature.

Next to it is a very tiny four inch model kit of the Hindenburg, and then a small toy from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in which Indiana and Henry Jones take an airship trip.

Above those are two blimps. These are not rigid-body airships, but I like them anyway.

And between the blimps and the paper models is one of the nicest toys I own – the Magisterium Air Bus from the film The Golden Compass:


Think about it. The Empire State Building’s iconic tower was originally designed to dock airships, but the massive wind currents so high up made it impractical.


But not so to the creators of the film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. No, they did it anyway:


And make no mistake, they were not 100% safe.

This happened to the Los Angeles, a US Navy dirigible while it was attached to its mooring mast, when a large updraft came up unexpectedly.


The R-101 crashed in France on its maiden voyage to Karachi, Pakistan. It had been designed well, then changes were made to the design in mid-build, making it heavier and less stable.


I have a particular fascination of this one because it was featured in a Big Finish Doctor Who radioplay: Storm Warning which takes place aboard the maiden flight. The Doctor meets his new radio companion Charlie Pollard who has stowed away aboard the R-101 so she can see the world. What she doesn’t expect is that the R-101 has a secret mission no one’s talking about, and she and the Doctor discover what’s really going on at 10,000 feet: a rendezvous with a mysterious visitor.


Airships have featured in many movies, not the least of which about the disaster of the Hindenburg itself, but also in popular culture films such as the aforementioned Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but also notably in The Rocketeer. I have a small collection of films (Airship, The Hindenburg, Zeppelin). It even featured in an episode of The Waltons TV series. A very hilarious episode of Archer features a helium-filled modern airship, which Archer continually sees as dangerous because of its hydrogen, even after being repeatedly told there was no hydrogen in the ship but harmless helium.

After the Hindenburg disaster, airships almost immediately became a thing of the past. Seen as dangerous due to their body packed with incredibly flamable hydrogen gas, they could have used helium to nearly equal effectiveness, but due to the war with Germany, the US refused to sell helium to Germany. The US held almost all of the world’s helium stores at the time. Today, helium, which is sadly a non-renewable resource, is used mostly in children’s party balloons, but if put to use in airships again, it would make for safe, cheap, fast freight and passenger travel again.

And so my fascination with these craft continues.

So knowing I was going to buy a 3D printer, in part to build airships for myself, I decided to get to work on a whole line of airships.

Here is the first, the 3D model done in Maya, a program I work with at my job.


It’s meant to be fairly simple, though snazzy in design. A bit of a cross between the romantic past and the future. Note the interesting tail fins. Rather than have equally thick and large tail side elevator fins, I opted to go with smaller elevators both at the front and the rear, which would make ascent and descent much easier. The engines are not the clunky propellor-driven Maybach engines that drove the Graf Zeppelin; no, these are bladeless turbine engines similar to the ones made famous by James Dyson, who even more famously invented not a better vacuum cleaner, but a method to sell vacuum cleaners to men.

These engines each have an air intake just fore of their mounts to bring in the air it shoves out through the circular apertures. They also tilt. In my model the engines actually tilt. The elevators do not, but we can pretend, right? By tilting, the airship can lift off and land simply by aiming its engines.

I cut the body up into four sections which would fit comfortably on my Afinia 3D printer, which as a cubic capacity of 5 inches all-around. (Though I think I cheated the height. The tail section is slightly more than 5″ tall and printed fine.)

Here are the pieces needed to print the whole thing:

as1-3d-model-1-3 as1-3d-model-2-4 as1-3d-model-parts

There are four holes in each body piece where they join. This allows for pins to fit in to connect them snugly together without glue, if necessary.

I printed the whole thing (in red because I had a lot of red filament. You can see the initial result here.


Now I’m printing it again with my new silver filament.

So far I have the parts completed:


I printed one test ring of a portion of the body so I could test the engine tilt mechanism:


And last night, on July 17, I printed the second body section and attached the engines, and inserted the connecting pegs in the body:


Tonight I printed the nose section. Here it is, below, snapped (with pegs) to Section 2, with front elevators in place, wheelhouse (epoxy-glued in place because I hadn’t yet modeled a nice peg hold connection for it yet) sitting on the printer that is currently printing Section 3.


Note the small square hole in the bottom of the wheelhouse. That’s for landing gear to go, but I haven’t modeled that yet. There is a corresponding hole in the bottom of the tail fin for rear landing gear.

Here is Section 3 on the printer:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Looks good. I took it off the bed and attached it to Section 2 using the pegs. Here you see Airship One about 3/4 printed, next to its prototype:


However I noticed something I didn’t like. I got this once before too, when printing my friend Fred’s head – a stress crack.


I’m not sure what causes this, but it’s happened twice now, somewhere around the middle of a large, volumetric print. I wonder if it has to do with my choice if inner fill size. I wasn’t using the largest on this model, but also not the smallest. I may have to print this part again.

Update July 19:

I printed the tail section, Section 4 tonight. It’s essentially the same model as when I did it in red, but I did make some minor adjustments. Here you see how it prints support scaffolding inside the fin space in order to print the top part of the fin. Easily removed.


One thing that surprised me, however, is that where I put a crimp in the tail for the tail rudder hinge, this time the printer thought those crimps were too small, and it separated out the tail rudder on the outer section.


Nothing a bit of epoxy cement couldn’t fix, but it was a surprise.

And here she is, Airship One in all her glory:


Update, July 21:

I decided to try embedding the ship’s title, “Airship One” into the display base.

So I chose a font that was reminiscent of the Hindenburg title font and extruded it in Maya, then subtracted part of it from the base, as shoes for the letters to fit into.

Here is a test print (printed in natural off-white) of the letters which I printed when I printed the base. The letters would, if they fit, later be reprinted in red.


Silly me. This is why I test-print things. Some of these letters, when put onto the base, will only have the bottoms attached. So the letter “i” was going to be missing its dot. I also noticed some letters separated where they were very thin, making two pieces of plastic, some of which would also have to hover, which would not work.

So I manually thickened the font, moved the i dots down to touch the bases, and reprinted in red.

I still am not fond of the propensity of the Afinia to not print small textual letters as solid. They print with holes extruded down the faces. I wish they would print better at this small size. I noticed the same thing on my spool reel holder I modeled, with my name and the name of the spools it holds extruded in.

But overall, I’m delighted with the result. Each letter is epoxy-cemented in place just by their bottoms, most of them.


Guess The New Project

I’m usually working on a half-dozen projects at once, but today I decided I’m ready to begin printing my next project. I’ll print it in pieces and see if anyone can guess what it will be when done.

Here’s the first print. (I’m using red only because I have a LOT of it – Octave sent me a free reel of it when I complained about their plastic wrap fusing to the filament in my first reel. They not only refunded me 1/3 of the reel (I wasted about 1/8 of the reel unwrapping it cleanly) but they sent me a free new reel of red. (Thank you, Octave. That was good customer service!)

So here is the first print:


(One object did not fall over, I had removed it from the rafting before I thought to grab a pic.)

Any guesses?

Here are the parts together with one of four main sections:


I printed deep into the night and printed the four main sections. I didn’t take photos of the whole set of pieces, sadly. Forgot. But here you can see the front section glued together, being held together by masking tape until the glue (a clear binary epoxy resin) sets.

I had to redesign the elevator flaps because I had the base of them as part of the ship body and that was causing the printing of a lot of unnecessary scaffolding. Instead I made insets for them in the body and put the base on the elevator itself. Since they do not rotate for real, this works. Later, I will have to redesign this of I want them to actually rotate.


And here is the rear section being held for epoxy setting:


I have modeled a display base, but have not yet printed it. I’m currently printing something for a friend for his birthday. Then I’ll print the display stand while the two halves are drying.

And here it is with the display base I designed and printed.


The ship measures about 16.5 inches right now, and cost a total of 180 grams of plastic, which from a 1000g reel of Octave red, cost about $5.94. Not bad. It took about 14 hours, 20 minutes total print time, not including setup, etc. Printed at .2mm layers, in Normal mode.

Each of the four body sections is printed hollow, rather than use filler, and has a wall of about .8cm. It is glued together with clear binary epoxy for now, but eventually will have connection pegs for strength and alignment. I will be adding some necessary body detail.

If I cut the body up into even more segments I could print it at double this height. Since it is not quite 2.5″ in diameter, doubling the size would keep it in the Afinia 5″ print area, and cutting the body up will make pieces short enough to print.

Doubling the size, of course, quadruples the plastic used, so it would cost about $24 to print, using 3/4 of a reel of Value Line silver.

Update: Today I got another reel of natural white Premium Afinia filament, and a reel of silver Value Line Afinia filament. I’m having a bit of an issue with the silver reel because the walls of the reel aren’t quite tall enough to contain the filament for the first quarter-inch or so of printing, so the filament spills out over, and that can cause snags and breakages if the filament is not wheeling off nicely. I may have to cut a cardboard wall and tape it to the wall of this reel in order to get it to not snag.

I was a bit worried about the silver filament. It has a metallic sheen to it as expected, but not too much. When I extruded it for the first time, the line seemed unsmooth. Kind of chunky. Unlike most other filaments that extrude very smoothly.

But I printed the smaller bits of my Airship One in silver to test it out. I have to say I’m not unpleased with the silver filament now that I’ve seen it on parts.

Here they are, hot off the printer:


This lot may look familiar. You can see them higher up in this post in red. With some changes. I’ve remodeled some of the parts for the second version of the airship:

  • The elevators are taller, because they now incorporate the stub flange that attaches to the ship’s sides. Instead of printing those struts on the body (which requires scaffolding) I now print a hole in the body and these should fit in snugly, meaning I won’t have to guess at alignment when I assemble.
  • The engines now have some extra scaffolding. This is because I drilled a hole in the engine housing for a peg.
  • You can see five pegs (I printed one extra just in case) on the board. These will fit into the engines, through the body of the airship, so the engines will be able to tilt. The fit is a bit snug, but I think it’ll work. I may have to increase the size of the hole in the body, though. The engine hole is to be glued, so a tight fit is fine. It has, however, to rotate in the shaft hole of the body, so I’m printing a test part of just enough of the body to include the holes, to see how it fits.
  • The Wheelhouse now has a square hole in it, and the windows are inset further. I noticed on my first (red) print the windows were too subtle. No more. And there is a square hole in the floor of the Wheelhouse. This is to accommodate a later-modeled landing wheel or some other landing gear. I added a hole in the rear lower dorsal fin too, for a rear landing wheel to be modeled/designed later.
  • You can’t see it because I haven’t printed it yet, but I increased the scale of the detail on the air intakes, because the detail was getting lost in the print. Too fine for the resolution of the printer. (More on that when I print those body sections.)

The “fabric” texture of the print in silver is much more noticeable than it was in red, or some other colors. I guess I’ll have to live with that. I did not print the pieces in .15mm, but .2, which is what I printed the red version in. Perhaps I’ll reprint these in .15 to see if the texture is improved.

It’ll do for my purposes, though.

Next up: I have to model some detail on the ship, including top-mounted intakes, windows along the bottom of the body where passengers might look out, and other details that may be common on airships. I have a great book on the Hindenburg which also features other airships too. I’ll be using those as reference to add in some detail.

Update 2: This is the test-ring of the ship with the engine shaft holes modeled in, cleared of support, the peg inserted through the body and into the engines. The fit is snug, but because of the ringed nature, it grips fairly well without glue, and rotates nicely, and not at all loosely.


Update: July 16

I modeled connecting pegs and holes for the body pieces so they will fit together nicely.

I added housings to the top of the body, some ballast venting holes to the front, and some passenger windows in the body, and set out to print.

The silver Afinia Value Line filament has an issue: It’s a lot of filament. 1Kg, or 2.2 lbs. The Octave is the same weight, but it comes on a fat, stubby spool. The Afinia comes on a cardboard spool shaped much like their Premium filament spools.

The problem is that the filament, when it’s almost all there, slips over the cardboard walls of the spool, strangling itself in the reel holder, meaning it can halt printing because the printer is not being fed smoothly.

What’s weird, though, is that I was printing the full Body Section 2 (the small ring of which you see above.) Even though for the first centimeter the filament was feeding fine, the print is much rougher than the ring you see up there. I’m not sure if it was just because the printer was showing signs of the strangulation at the reel holder early, or whether the silver is just inconsistent in its printing cleanliness. It is a chunky filament.

Will have to find out by printing this piece again tomorrow night. (I wish it were the weekend…)

Update – July 17

It took about 3 hours and 20 minutes to print, but Section 2 of the body is done. I remodeled it to feature four peg holes, with printed pegs to snap in the holes. This will allow me to build the body without glue at all. The pegs snap in rather firmly.


This also shows how the engines fit. There is now a hole in each side of the engine flange, and a peg that snaps into a hole in the engines. These are in nicely, and can rotate freely, but not loosely. Exactly what I wanted.

I also modeled air intakes at the top. Real airships had these.

You can see that the silver sheen is going to work rather nicely for the finished model.

TB3 Rocket Display Base

For my TB3 Rocket I needed a display stand that would hold it on an uplifting angle. Without carving a slot into the body like many model kits do, I wanted to be able to hold and support the weight of this rocket with a stand that fit with the design of the rocket, but, when attached, did not detract from the design of the rocket, or make people think it was a part of the rocket.

With a 3D model, many possibilities present themselves. For example, you can take the actual rocket body model mesh and invert it to make a holding receptacle that will fit it exactly, in any countour. So I decided to make use of the heat-sink vanes on the side.

I modeled a holder that one of the vanes would slot right into, and on an angle that looks optimistic and impressive, I needed some way to hold up part of the rocket’s weight, so, again, using the model itself, I made a shoe that I could fit the butt-end of the rocket into.

I modeled up a first attempt, using the front arm of the rocket as a base model for the two supporting arms. They printed rather a bit thinner than expected, and the rear one broke from handling. It was too thin.

Note: I modeled it in ugly yellow because I have a full reel of that, and I really dislike the color, so many of my test parts will be in this ugly yellow:


As you can see, the front shoe holds one of the side vanes snugly – but not too tightly – I modeled in a bit of room – and it could be any of the vanes, so the angle I hold it at can be changed; and the rear shoe has a little tab to hold the butt weight so it doesn’t slide backwards.


This was a prototype, so I didn’t model the shoes to fit with the arms, knowing that later I would. This was to test the concept – could it hold it firmly? Could it support the weight? Would it fall over? Was the center of gravity ok?


Here is the original prototype next to the final modeled version. I modeled it in blue because several model kits I have had modeled their bases in blue, and as it is a nice color not included in the printing of the rocket itself, it stands out as more neutral against the rocket.

You will notice the weight-supporting arms are much thicker and the shoes have been made part of the arm design.

So what of the base itself? Why a pyramid?

That’s my new logo for my 3D printing hobby, and business if it comes to that. I’ll make a post on my logo later. But for now, suffice it to say I needed a broad base to hold the rocket without danger of falling over, and I thought my logo would be perfect for the job.

Here’s the rocket in its final stand: