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  1. I've wanted a 3D printer for years: I first came into contact with them decades ago - but the cost was absolutely prohibative. They were very expensive/complex beasts that were the domain of industry, not the individual. However, the price/performance equation has radically changed, making such technologies the affordable domain of the common man. Now - several influences have come to play in my thinking this year: Tim Perry (@wunwinglow of this parish) is a good, and very patient, friend. As many will know, he was the man behind PP Aeroparts, the inovative, and pioneering, accessory company from the '80s. For the last couple of decades his day job has been in the rapid prototyping world - so his knowledge/experience/expertise in the field of 3D Modelling and 3D Printing is right up there with the best. And he's been nagging encouraging me to take the plunge for years. I'm currently building a Tornado F.Mk 3 with parts that Tim has designed and printed, using both FDM and SLA printers - and playing to the strengths of both. He's also been experimenting with printing HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene - the same material as plastic kits). Earlier this year I took delivery of a 1:32 Hawker Siddeley HS.780 Andover, designed and 3D Printed by Toshihiko Shimizu of One Man Model - the process of design and print of a small batch left me absolutely mesmerised by the process - and very inspired! As many will know, I've been researching/working on a fix for the wing cross section on the HobbyBoss 1:32 B-24s. I'd come up with an airfoil fix, but was looking at ways of producing a viable 'correction' set, originally looking at a series of longitudinal formers to be used with a modified spar - but modifying the kit spar to work with the new sections proved almost impossible and I parked it. Until I got the Andover - and until a few conversations with Tim - and I had that "light bulb" moment. Design as a 3D Model in CAD - print in several pieces on an FDM printer - in HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene) - the same as kit plastic! But I didn't have a printer... Well, I do now - a Creality Ender 5 Pro - with a 220 x 220 x 300 print volume and capable of printing HIPS (and ABS) filament, as long as the printer is in an enclosure to keep ambient temperatures around the print high and constant, in order to prevent distortion and shrinkage. So I purchased a thermally lined and fire resistant enclosure too: OK - so new printer - needed to test print, obviously! I didn't have anything ready yet as part of my playing with CAD software - and, being a kid a heart, wanted to find something other than a cat, or frog model to do some test prints. A bit of Googling and I found a pre-drawn model of a 737-800 available to purchase and scaled to print at 1:100. The model looked really good - so I bought it! Then, well, you know how you do, I thought 'I wonder if I can scale that' - so I did - to 1:32 scale and did a few test prints of the engine, using the free PLA filament that came with the printer. So, this CFM-56 engine pod was the very firstest thing I printed with my new printer - and I was very pleased with the results: It's not small! Ignore exhaust angle - that's just loose in pod. But shapes look well researched: Now, it just so happens that the P-8 Poseidon is based on the 737-800... Can you tell where this *might* be heading? Back in a mo... Iain
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