Tag Archives: airplane

This week on Thingiverse


Here is a run-down of a few nice things I found on Thingiverse, ready for 3D printing. Clicking on the images will take you directly to the Thingiverse object. Let’s start with some transportation options. This nice rocket, by Gabor Vecsei, has that nice quirky vintage cartoon look:



And here is a nice model of the Edge 450 – the airplane used in the Red Bull air races – by mitchr:



And if you are more of a nautical person, here is a beautiful ship, by Grant Edwards:



3P3D published a model of a Chicago fire hydrant, created via photogrammetry. Photogrammetry is a process where you take an (ideally large) set of photos of an object, from different angles, and use software to deduce the original 3D contour. For those of you who have already tried it, you know how tedious and difficult it can be to get the result right. The hydrant turned out very nice, I would say.



Makers Empire, who are creating 3D printing software, have published this spider. I like how they balanced the naturalistic model with rounded, slightly abstracted shapes. Very nice use of 3D primitives.



And Ashwin Mandal created this beautiful model of the Sidney opera house.



Finally, something useful: Paulo Leandro dos Santos made a hard disk adapter from 3.5″ to 5.25″. These can be picked up very cheap in computer stores, but if you are in a hurry, it might actually be easier to print one.


3D printed airplane miniature


This was an experiment: I wanted to see how well Shapeway’s stainless steel prints turn out, especially for tiny details. For a test, I picked a model of the Lockheed Model 10 Electra – the airplane Amelia Earheart flew on her last flight.

I will be showing some paper airplane models at the Aero Expo starting on Wednesday, April 14, and I thought it would be nice to bring along a 3D printed steel model as well.

I had made a paper model of a similar Lockheed airplane before, and after tinkering with the schematics a little bit (more on this in a future tutorial), I had a 3D model that was fit for printing.

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Turns out, Shapeway managed to produce a very nice print. This is not plastic, but stainless steel. It’s bronze-infused, meaning it has an almost golden sheen to it.

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As far as I know, Shapeways uses a sintering process to print these, so there is no need for support material, and thus no visible attachment points. Being used to working with plastics, the weight of a stainless steel model feels great, too.

The details turned out very nice. I was concerned with the propeller blades, as they are very small and thin, but they printed nicely and don’t feel like they will break off easily.

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So, all in all I would consider this a success, except maybe for the price, which is not horrible, but not insignificant either – after all, this is a very small model (about 5cm long). Nevertheless, if you want to have one, too, you can order it from Shapeways. Mine took about one week for printing and shipping.