Design of the Week: Starman

By on February 12th, 2018 in Design

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 SpaceX's Starman on board his eternal roadster
SpaceX’s Starman on board his eternal roadster

This week’s selection is the highly appropriate Starman 3D model by Thingiverse contributor Stephen Graybill, a.k.a Oranhunter. 

This 3D model is specifically the payload portion of SpaceX’s first test launch of their massive Falcon Heavy super-rocket. As it was a first – and thus test – launch, no customer payload was on board. But to perform the test they did need something weighty, which is usually a chunk of cheap concrete. SpaceX decided to do something unusual, which is their habit, and instead placed Elon Musk’s personal red Tesla roadster inside the payload fairings. 

Sitting in the roadster, with one arm draped on the door, is “Starman”, a mannequin stuffed inside a prototype spacesuit. 

The roadster was propped up at an angle, and surrounded by camera gantries for the most incredible images I’ve seen from space since 1969. 

If you haven’t yet seen the launch video, I insist that you do. It is incredibly dramatic: 

Now you can 3D print your own copy of the Starman and roadster, thanks to Graybill, who has produced a number of other interesting 3D models based on real items, typically aircraft. The entire payload arrangement has been carefully reproduced in this design. 

 The Starman 3D model includes a separately 3D printed roadster (available with and without driver)
The Starman 3D model includes a separately 3D printed roadster (available with and without driver)

The 3D model is segmented to enable easier 3D printing; the roadster is separate from the base, and the wheels are printed separately. All should be easily put together.

 The solid version of the Starman base 3D model
The solid version of the Starman base 3D model

One issue 3D printer operators may encounter when printing this model is that the camera gantries are rather spindly, and could be quite challenging to print on some equipment. To overcome this, Graybill has provided a separate base 3D model that fills in the gantries to a solid state, making printing far easier.  

If you’re going full payload on SpaceX, there are a couple of other terrific 3D models of their equipment you can easily 3D print, all produced by Thingiverse contributor Brian Mernoff of Boston: 

SpaceX Falcon 9 Model Kit
SpaceX Falcon Heavy Expansion Kit for Falcon 9 Model
SpaceX Strongback (The launch tower)

There’s a parallel to 3D printing here, in a way. SpaceX’s recent accomplishments can inspire us all in that almost anything can be achieved; Similarly, 3D printing equipment can enable the production of almost any shape. 

 Hidden on the bottom of the Starman 3D model
Hidden on the bottom of the Starman 3D model

One more thing: there’s an easter egg in this 3D model. On the bottom is embossed the famous phrase, “Don’t Panic!” This is written on the actual roadster’s dashboard, and originates with Douglas Adam’s famous Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. 

And it’s always very good advice. 

Via Thingiverse

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!