We are starting to do deep dives into specific products that we sell on our site because there is actually a lot of interesting work that goes into turning your files into 3D printable products ready for the site.
Today we are taking a close up look at the Z-1 Space Plane! This design was one of our very first test models with Kerbal back in the day and so it holds a special place in our heart. I'm holding up our large size of the print in my hand. To see the regular size option you can check out our product listing on our site right here!
First off, let's take a moment and bask in the beauty of that space plane, am I right? Reminiscent of an SR-71 Blackbird with elegant wings and powerful engines flanking a sleek and speedy fuselage - exhaust nozzles flaring open throwing hot gasses out into the atmosphere and beyond. Stunning.
Want to fly this craft in KSP? Download the craft file here!
But how do you 3D print it? Well there's where Eucl3D's comes in:
First, we take the craft file for the plane and import it into our system - this takes all of the parts which make up the plane and reassembles it into the proper configuration. Our system lets us know where there will be structural integrity problems with the print and we resolve them - not unlike how a mechanical engineer designing the SR-71 Blackbird would have approached strength problems in the design.
Let's take a look at some of those examples:
1. The nosecone on both the wing engines and the tip of the plane are prime examples of this. Open up that part in KSP and you'll find a very thin cone and a very thin cowling around it. We have rules regarding how thin specific features can be and that didn't pass! So check out what we did.
On the large size we have more room for detail and so there is actually a gap reaching into the plane between the cone and cowling like you have in the real thing. Looking to the right however, the regular size print has no gap there. These changes ensure that for both sizes that no one will have a space plane show up with a broken nose!
2. Let's take a look at some other changes at the rear of the ship
Take a close look at the engine nozzles on the planes - see the difference? On the large ship there is a lot more room for detail to come out and so each slat gets very clearly defined and printed out. The inside is even hollow and you can see into the glowing engine interior.
Contrast that with the regular ship where the slats come together so that the whole structure becomes significantly more resistant to chipping off or other breaks.
3. Notice the engines on the wings now, on the regular size the engines help support the ailerons which are exposed and susceptible to chipping off. The two support each other really well! Then looking up at the large size, when the wings and engines each have enough meat to keep themselves protected they return to how the craft was originally designed - with gaps in between the flaps and engines.
4. Take another look at all of the photos, all of the wings have also scaled up in thickness compared to how thick they are in Kerbal Space Program. The wings would just fall off trying to take the ships out of the printer if we tried to use the stock thickness!
In general this craft is actually really printable just as is - still some changes were necessary - but some of the user crafts that we have printed are insane! You - the players - are incredible designers and we LOVE printing out your crafts.
Interested in 3D printing your design?
If you are a Kerbal Space Program aficionado and would like a full color 3D print of your own craft think about making a purchase with Eucl3D - just follow this link to make your purchase!
-Your friendly neighborhood Printability Engineer