Design of the Week: New Horizons

Design of the Week: New Horizons

This week’s selection is NASA’s 3D model of their New Horizons spacecraft. 


It is totally appropriate to select New Horizons now, as this week the spacecraft’s mission truly begins after an incredible nine-year voyage across billions of kilometers of cold, empty space to the former planet Pluto. (If you hadn’t heard, Pluto was demoted to “dwarf planet” status by official astronomical committees in 2006.) 

The 3D model is composed of several pieces, as the geometry of the spacecraft would be problematic to print directly: it has multiple and severe overhangs. Breaking the model into parts also permits printing larger scale versions of the spacecraft. 

Design of the Week: New Horizons

Our approach was simply to print the parts on a relatively small scale to see how well the model prints. As you can see, it is easily printed, even on a single print job. Our sample here took only 44 minutes to complete all components. 


The parts must be glued together. NASA recommends using 0.5” wooden dowels to join the parts together, for which appropriately-sized holes appear in the model. However, their default model sizing is quite large, so we scaled it down considerably. The half inch wooden dowels are no longer valid when you resize the model, but we found superglue works just as well. 

Just don’t touch the protruding Radioactive Thermal Generator (RTG)! No, it’s not actually radioactive; but it is attached in a delicate manner. Don’t break it off! 

Via NASA

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest

Behold: Pico CAD

Game developer Johan Peitz posted a tweet recently with an animation of a project he’s working on called Pico CAD, an 8-bit 3D modeling tool.

Read More »

Email us

Feedback, Tips?

We’ll use the details you provide on this form to contact you regarding your inquiry. You can read our Privacy Policy here.

Be Informed!

Keep up to date on the latest developments in 3D printing and additive manufacturing