Are you space and 3D printing enthusiast? Or a STEM educator, or an engineer with some free time, or an Elon Musk fan? Either way, you may want to 3D print your own replica of the Crew Dragon space capsule, the one that SpaceX successfully launched into orbit, with two humans abroad, making history just a few weeks ago. If so, two studios that specialize in 3D printable designs have something for you: a Crew Dragon replica.
The first is Morethan3D. This studio designs and sells very (very) complex models to be assembled for fun but also as phenomenal STEM education projects. Morethan3D was founded by An Duong, a Nottingham University graduate who now works in the aerospace industry at Rolls Royce. Duong designed two models: a simpler one, the Dragon-M3, which he is making available as 3D printable STLs for free, and a very accurate and complex replica, the Dragon-MS. This one is available as 3D printable files for £40 and fully 3D printed and assembled for £200.
The Dragon – MS, is a 1/27 3D printed scale model based on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft which was used in the Demo-2 mission. “Inspired by the successful launch of the new SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, I decided to make this 3D printed model, which can be used not only to inspire more children to become astronauts but also to pursue STEM careers when they grow up.”, Duong commented.
This model was designed using publicly available resources from the internet including CAD models, videos and pictures of the real SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. The pressurized crew section was designed based on the existing Draco Pod model by Prot0typ1cal. The SpaceX Astronaut model, designed by Gil P. de Paulo on GrabCAD, helps people to understand the true scale of the real SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft in real life (as many of us don’t have the luxury to see it with our own naked eyes).
The interior of the model comprises of a ‘giant’ monitor, which is fixed to the ‘floor’ via a stand. On the real spacecraft, the monitor is actually mounted to the ceiling. There are 4 seats in total in this model, each seat can be adjusted separately (incline/recline and spin around the x-axis). Before lift-off, these seats are tilted backward and also raised upwards closer to the monitor). They are based on a racing seat design on GrabCAD by Badulescu Stefan. The trunk (unpressurized cargo section) was designed from scratch based on the photos/videos of the spacecraft available on SpaceX’s website. From the outside, the Trunk looks like it was printed as a solid block – however, if you spin the bottom of the Trunk slightly to disengage its simple locking mechanism, the bottom part of the Trunk will slide out very smoothly, revealing its secret compartment.
Fab365 is more of an e-Product Marketplace for 3D printing. Most of the available designs are created by the studio’s founder, Goo Sagnkwon, who is based in Seoul, South Korea. Sangkwon is a skilled designer and has developed a very interesting system to reproduce models of famous cars, planes, characters and rockets as a one-piece foldable unit that can be 3D printed without using any support. This makes them accessible even to the most mechanically and artistically challenged 3D printing fans (such as this yours truly)
The Crew Dragon inspired design represents a bit of departure in the sense that it is not printable as a single foldable piece but as multiple pieces to be assembled. They still can be 3D printed easily, without requiring supports. Fab365 sells all designs at very accessible prices, around $5. “Celebrating the launch of his successful spacecraft this time, I designed a dragon capsule and trunk,” commented Sangkwon. “This design is not foldable, but the capsules and trunk are fully structured and functional. The details were also made as much as possible. I plan to build a Falcon 9 rocket model in the near future and I look forward to an era where space travel is possible as soon as possible.”