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.



Borosilicate Glass Storage Rack – A Modular Design

The Afinia H479 and H480 (I have one of each) comes with perf-boards to print on. These work fairly well for most purposes, but the boards warp with the stresses of cooling plastic layers, and it’s difficult to print something with a wide bottom that is truly flat, but this is often necessary.

Luckily Afinia also sells sheets of Borosilicate Glass that clamp down to the heated print bed. Alone they do nothing, but when the glass is coated with a thin film of ABS slurry (a mixture of 10% bits of ABS plastic and 90% acetone by weight) something actually magic happens: The print sticks to the unwarpable glass like crazy, and then when it cools, it pops up as if it was almost never attached. I mean I have no idea how this works, but man, it works!

I bought three sheets some time ago and that’s perfect to keep a print flow going. But one of my cats knocked one over and shattered it, and I dropped one, leaving me with one. So I bought three more.

Now I find that they are cluttering up my already cluttered work surface:


(And this is me organized!)

So I thought I needed some place to store the sheets of glass waiting to be used. I came up with a modular rack system.

Since my Afinia can only print a 5x5x5 volume, and the rack base pieces had to be over 7″ in length, I cut the parts up in two halves with jigsaw tab and slot design so they can snap together. This works very well, snapping very tightly with perfect matching tolerances!

Here you see the two halves apart,glass-plate-base-parts-01

then snapped together:glass-plate-base-parts-02

Screw holes on the sides allow me to screw this into a plywood wall that is just above my print table.

Then I created these slotted holders that can slide into the base pieces:glass-plate-base-parts-03

(I have since redesigned those a bit to allow easier insertion of the glass by flaring the apertures a bit, see the final pic.)

So I printed four sets, snapping them together. Since I designed the slot system to not come apart easily, I only need to screw in the top and bottom rack bases, though I could, if I wanted, screw them all in place.

This is the improved slot design. Slightly less wide, but flared so I can put the sheets in easier, yet they still hold well.glass-plate-base-installed-01

And here are the borosilicate glass sheets in place, perfect, out of the way, and easy to grab when I need one.



Bubble-Capsule Flying Saucer UFO-02

Introducing UFO-02. I have not given these names, just numbers in the order of creation. UFO-01 can be seen here, and UFO-03 can be seen here.



UFO-02 is a more hard SF flying saucer, with buttresses supporting the bubble-capsule dome.


It also has red surface detail printed in a beautiful cranberry-red translucent PLA material.


It has plated heat sinks on bottom, with a sewing pin which looks like some kind of 1950s energy weapon on the bottom.  The landing gear is also reminiscent of the era.



Bubble-Capsule Flying Saucer UFO-03

Introducing UFO-03. Yes, UFO-03. I created UFO-02 a while back, based on the UFO-01 posted here.


I adapted my original UFO design which uses small vending machine bubble capsules, so the system could be interchangeable, so that any top can fit with any bottom through the use of two peg holes which match.


This is UFO-03, a more colorful flying saucer with major parts in blue, with white bubbles underneath. When I had printed the first version (roughly printed at .25mm layer thickness) I thought it needed landing gear, so I adapted the bubble underneath to be landing gear.