Design of the Week: Starship SN15

By on May 16th, 2022 in Design, news

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The Starship SN15 3D model [Source: Starship 3D]

This week’s selection is the set of Starship 3D models by Yoan Soilen.

Soilen, based in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, is a commercial pilot that has long flown remote routes in Northern Canada, but is also a very talented 3D designer.

In 2020 Soilen was captivated by the developments achieved by SpaceX, who were then testing a radical concept: a fully reusable interplanetary rocket system they dubbed “Starship”. To many this is just another rocket project, but some realize the success of Starship will quite literally change everything, as its efficiency and capabilities will allow humanity to populate the solar system.

Soilen is one of those people.

To promote the project he undertook the herculean task of replicating the 3D design of Starship based solely on imagery found online. To complicate matters further, SpaceX continually changes the design of the vehicle as they iterate through multiple stages in their development program.

Soilen explains:

“I found lots of detailed renders and amazing animations but came up empty-handed when trying to find highly detailed and up-to-date 3D printed models of Starship. My interest in CAD and 3d printing pushed me to fill that gap. I thought I could design a series of Starship models following the different iterations of the real prototypes seen in Starbase, Texas.”

3D printed parts for the Starship 3D model [Source: Starship 3D]

Since SpaceX doesn’t release their CAD files, the entire project had to be built from scratch, and achieving proper accuracy was an incredible feat. Soilen explains:

“Hundreds to thousands of hours were spent on pictures, videos, and forums, trying to understand the way Starship was built and the way it works. Every time a new Starship was launched into the sky and crashed spectacularly; it was an opportunity to see how it was built on the inside. I had to update my design numerous times to try and include every small detail as humanly possible and printable.”

Incredible detail on the Starship 3D model [Source: Starship 3D]

The result is a dedicated website filled with a variety of highly detailed Starship 3D models ready for download AND 3D printing. The flagship 3D model at the site is that of Starship SN15, the first in the line to successfully perform a high altitude test and land successfully. The prior attempts all failed one way or another, some in rather spectacular fashion, something SpaceX chief Elon Musk describes as a “rapid unscheduled disassembly”.

The cutaway version of the Starship 3D model [Source: Starship 3D]

Solien offers the 3D models for sale in “whole” form and also a “cutaway” version so that you can see componentry inside the ship.

Pricing of the 3D models is high compared to many other 3D model downloads; Soilen sets the base price for the SN15 model at CA$100 (US$77) for a 1:50 scale model. But remember that this model is carefully engineered to print properly in sections on any 200 x 200 x 200 mm build volume 3D printer. There are other variations available, including versions at smaller scales.

Note that even at 1:50 scale, this is a very large 3D model. The real SN15 stands 50m tall, so the 1:50 version would still be 1m in height when printed and assembled.

Aft view of the Starship 3D model [Source: Starship 3D]

If you’re interested in SpaceX’s Starship program and want to have a model of your own, you might consider checking out Soilen’s incredible 3D models.

Via Starship 3D

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!

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