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designing and printing parts specifically for models ...

red Dog

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Buy 3D printer: check

Buy resin: check

Buy IPA: check

Buy cleaning and curing station: check

Learn Fusion 360: In progress

Calibrate your exposure time depending on your resin type: check

Learn a slicer software (chitubox for now): check

Design and Print your first part: check


To learn 3D design in fusion 360, I decided to model a 1:1 Flight data recorder for the Aces 2 ejection seat. 
Incidentally that part is missing from my 1:1 aces 2 seat replica and is a perfect candidate to learn the basics of 3D modelling and printing.

The box is super simple, but the connector presented quite a few challenges and I learned a great deal trying to replicate them.











This was a fun project that taught me basic fusion 360 use and the 3D print flow.
I can say now that I can use probably 5% of the Fusion 360 feature. And I'm not intimated anymore by the 3D printer. 
Lots of stuff remains to be learned but I'm on the road pointing forward.



But then now what? 


Obviously I want to use this for aircraft models. I found some stl files (mostly made by Fancherello) on Cults 3D and printed a few of them with success 
(Corsair windshield frame, SH-60 wheels, hornet stuff etc etc)


I'd like to design my own parts and have a few projects in mind:

- adding missing part for my U552 project, that's quite easy to design as the shapes are rather easy to design.

- converting a Tamiya F-16C into a MLU. Parts for this are hard to come by and I really have a lot of MLUs waiting to be built

- ultimately doing pilot figures to add in my cockpit - I'm a bit tired of the usual pose the commercial companies seems to always offer. That is a crazy goal, I don't think I will ever succeed with that considering I cannot even draw a face

But then comes the challenges:

It seems designing aircraft parts is quite more advanced. How to do panel lines:
How to do complicated shapes like airfoil, curves, ....
How to ensure the precision in the process to ensure a good fit with the kit's parts?
How to manage supports: it seems scale model parts have no support or at least as few as possible (the reason is obvious) but that implies another design philosophy, especially in the slicer

Where to get correct dimensions to replicate the parts


So the first part I want to try is the tail of the F-16 MLU - more specifically the parabrake container.

It's a rather small part, with a complicated profile and it needs to match the Tamiya forward tail section. It has panel lines and rivets.


But I'll take any advice you guys might have, links to tutorial for this specific process, tips, hints, anything  :)


Many thanks





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Exciting stuff. 


Good luck on your adventure. I'm confident that you'll get to grips with everything based on the results so far. :thumbsup:


If I were setting out on this voyage of discovery I think I might not worry about little details like panel lines and rivets at first. Those are simple to replicate on a plain panel or component. I believe I would concentrate on getting the shape and appearance right at first and then begin to add more detail as I become more proficient.


It would be interesting to follow your progress. 

Please don't be shy about sharing your experiments whether they are successful or not. 




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Ok, Well I guess my questions might have been a little too generic :)


The first experiment I did was to create some bed bunks and closets for the U-552 project.
That's pretty basic and worked well. 






Then I printed some STL grabbed on cult3D (thanks Fancherello who creates outstanding free models for us)

That's a good exercice for example to work the slicer and play with supports.


Now here's a real question. 

For the U-552 project, I need to make 88mm gun rounds tube. Easy enough to design in 3D


But what about printing them?


These can be printed vertically and more often than not do not require much support from the slider software
That said, I often see these 3D parts being protected by side poles or side walls like pictured below



What is the purpose of these side poles and are they created in the 3D models or the slicer software?

My guess is they are part of the 3D model. But since I don't see much support from these poles to the 3D parts, what purpose do they serve? 

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The poles and walls are not created by the software. Many people design everything, supports and all, in their model and then print it directly on the build plate without software generated supports, or add some manually placed supports within the software.


Those poles serve two purposes, IMO.

1. When you SLA print small diameter things vertically, or small things in general, there isn't a lot of surface area touching the film at the bottom of the resin vat. In order to work, there actually has to be some adhesion to the film at each layer. Ever hear that quiet POP or thunk sound when the plate raises up? That's the piece pulling off the film. If it doesn't have enough resistance, the print will fail. The poles add surface area to increase adhesion. 2. They also help protect the prints during storage or shipping. 


The print in your photo was almost certainly built entirely in the model, then printed directly on the plate - note the slight deformity along the bottom edge. That happens a lot when printing on the plate. 


If you want to design the "tree style" supports in your model, I believe you can take the part into the slicing software, generate your supports, then save it out as an STL file. Then import it back into Fusion 360 and build the poles and walls before the final export to print. I personally have not done this yet, but have read about it.


I hope this makes sense, and is of help.



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Awesome work. I’m currently reworking the entire interior of the 1/48 CH53 GS/ G for a pavelow conversion kit as well as the 1/72 pavelow model. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

The solution to all your questions is.....


Practice, practice, practice!!   Sorry, there are no short cuts, you can certainly learn from other folks mistakes, and be forwarned by them, but ultimately you just have to get stuck in, then work out why it didn't quite work when it fails, and then do it again. There are so many variables between software, printer types and material characteristics, your own requirements and expectations, th surest way is just to bash on, not expect too much to start with, and treat every mash-up as a learning experience. 


And you NEVER stop learning. I've been 3d printing for nearly 25 years, and I still get surprised, in both ways, every time I print. Or design. Or clear a mash-up.....


But crack on, because when it all comes together, and you realise you can make ANYTHING you want, the realisation will induce vertigo!


Happy printing!

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18 hours ago, wunwinglow said:

But crack on, because when it all comes together, and you realise you can make ANYTHING you want, the realisation will induce vertigo!

What a euphoric state to reach Tim…..the world at your feet!  Omnipotence! :D:P

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@red Dog I just purchased a 3d scanner, this will make the fitting of the 3d parts much easier as for example you can scan a kit cockpit tub and then design around it to make sure it fits.


Or an A-10 nose.

Or an Stubby Lightning Fuselage.

Or a mishappen Harrier wing.

Or a mishappen F-14 intake.


I have many ideas. :)


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Posted (edited)

nan, that's cheating :)

A-10 Nose... THAT is really needed for all these poor guys not willing to get their warthog out of the stash



Practice, practice, practice!! 

Oh I get that. I'm a fervent adept :)

But I was more like looking for the starting point transitioning from designing simple parts to more complicated airfoil parts. 

A bit of advise I was looking for example was to insert 3 plan views into Fusion and design your part from that. 
That's where I am at the moment as I try to design the parabrake of the F-16 MLU


Edited by red Dog
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That’s pretty easy in Fusion.


Once you have the drawing, you insert them using Canvas. Once in Canvas you calibrate the drawing to the scale you want.


You set them using the origin work planes (X,Y,Z)

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