Rocket Jockey Rocket – My Unapologetic, Blatant Rip-Off

I admit it. I really liked‘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:



Silver Bullet Rocket

I love retro-designed rockets. I’ve done several now, and I’m just getting started.

This one is designed after some 1930s ideas, and is even similar (though mine has fins) to the one that took Bugs Bunny into space to meet Marvin the Martian for the first time.

Here’s mine, the parts laid out:


Which assemble to form:

rocket-silver-bullet-pose-02  rocket-silver-bullet-pose-01

So far I have designed and printed a rocket based on a Fathers’ Day Card my daughter gave me:


Then I did one from the 3DAGOGO T-shirt from a contest I won:


Then I did one for the Regular Joes Podcast after their new logo, a white and gray rocket:


Then last weekend I designed the Jetpack Rocket (based on the jetpack I made for my friend, which I modeled on a corgi dog for him.)


UPDATE: May 2, 2015 – PLA Version

A while back I got a reel of Afinia Premium PLA filament in gray. I had never used PLA before, and for some reason I had some issues printing on my H479. I don’t know why. I more or less abandoned it as a material after a few tests. Then I got a Makerbot red transparent PLA not realizing it was PLA. I thought it was ABS. I used that a couple of times with similar results. A lot of spiderwebbing (very thin traces of filament stretching between spans between parts.)

This week I revisited the PLA with my H480 (basically the same printer with some nice extra features, but more or less the exact same printing system) and this time I got really good results. So I thought I would do a more comprehensive test print of my Silver Bullet Rocket.

So I printed each piece in Fine (slowest, most accurate) mode, with .15mm layers (highest resolution) in PLA.

Here are the results:

The Parts: (minus the door window, because I forgot I needed it when I took this picture.)silver-bullet-pla-test-parts

The door, with aforementioned window (printed in blue glow-in-the-dark ABS. This is the only ABS part on this particular print) – But look at it close-up. It printed very nicely!silver-bullet-pla-test-closeup-door

The engines and caps: (I have to say, I really like that translucent red!)silver-bullet-pla-test-engine-closeup

The nose section. (At this size, the cone was a little untidy)silver-bullet-pla-test-nose-closeup

The finished print.silver-bullet-pla-test-full

Claus-Bot – New Bot Shoppe Robot


It was Carol’s idea! I swear! She envisioned a Santa Claus robot, and of course its main feature would be disproportionately large claws.

So I set to work designing a slightly retro look, with white helmet reminiscent of the Battlestar Galactica Viper pilot helmets (original series) with a fin that looks like it belongs on a bullet train from the 1920s.

I was originally going to give him skis and a jetpack engine, but I thought better of it. I thought of snow-cats, which have very wide treads, and completed the design with white jet intakes down the front  and a headlight beam on his belt buckle, and snow goggles.

claus-bot-02 claus-bot-03

ZoomFloppy Case

ZoomFloppy is a great little circuitboard I bought for $35.00. It connects to a PC through USB and allows you to connect Commodore 64 disk drives (1541, 1541-II, 1571, 1581) directly to the PC for reading and writing to .d64, .d81 files, etc. This allows you to use a Commodore emulator (like VICE) which uses these files as images of the original disk.


It’s a great way to archive your old disks too, but also to revive your interest in the Commodore 64 without having to go out and find an old C64. Any PC (or Mac, or heck, even a Raspberry Pi) can run the VICE emulator and you can have a fully functional Commodore 64 at your fingertips.


To start, I measured the distance between the mounting holes on the circuitboard:

(Note, the numbers on the calipers are not accurate… this was for visual reference only.)

Then I printed an X-shaped test strip with cones where the screws should go, so I could test fit it onto the circuitboard and see if I had the dimensions just right:

zf-screw-test-confirmation zf-screw-test-fitting

Once I knew the test cross fit, I could be confident those dimensions would work on the case.

I measured the connectors so I could cut spaces for them, and printed a rough frame that should fit the ZoomFloppy:

zf-case-test-1-bottom-frame zf-case-test-1-bottom-test-fit

Then I did it again, refining the spaces in the gaps for each connector, and rounding out the hole for the LED, since the square hole was just for position testing.

zf-case-test-2-bottom-frame zf-case-test-2-test-fit

When that was secured, I printed a completed bottom:


Then I printed a test top, though this print came out less than perfectly, I was able to use it to test position:

zf-case-test-top zf-test-case-top-fitting

It was time to print the first test print in color – white.


I printed these floor down. My printer was having some issues with warping and the case top and bottom did not come out perfectly flat, but I think that’s a print-bed heating issue I’m working to resolve. But it worked out fairly nicely. Printing it “upside down” allows the connection between the top and bottom halves to fit just about perfectly. The warping would only affect the case top and bottom, and not be a major issue.

I etched out a space for a Commodore logo, and a strip at the top that would have a smaller version of the logo with the rainbow color strips familiar on the Commodore 64’s case, then the ZoomFloppy logo on the right. Each strip was printed in a separate color, and fits into a thin slot on the logo strip.


Next I secured the two halves with screws, sandwiching the ZoomFloppy board perfectly.


This shows the bottom, with the four screws and the four rubber feet I attached to prevent slipping. (Bought in any craft or hadware store.)


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.


The More Printers The Merrier

This is a short video (no sound, sorry… my iPhone’s front microphone does NOT work when shooting video) showing my new H480 printer (left) working at the same time as my H479 (right).

It is currently printing two halves of a case designed to house a circuit board called ZoomFloppy which allows PCs to read and write to Commodore 64 disk drives.