Introduction: Building a 3D Printed Model of a Dutch Windmill (in 1:100 or 1:160 Scale)

This instructable walks through the building of a 3D Printed kit that models a type of windmill found throughout Northern Europe but usually thought of in respect to the Netherlands. The idea was born in a conversation about the type of scenery that would be useful for the table top war game Flames of War which is done in 1:100 or 15mm scale. This kit can actually be printed in either 1:100 or 1:160 (or N) scales.

The sails will turn on their axel and the top of the windmill can be pivoted to "follow the wind". In it's 1:100 scale size for Flames of War there is room for two units, on medium bases, on two floors of the lower structure with the tower being removable. A third unit, on a small base, could also be put into the tower though this is not a feature of the model as designed.

All files for this project are on Thingiverse and some copies will be available for sale on eBay with all proceeds going to the MS Society. Auction will be started later today (Sunday April 10th, 2016).

Step 1: Assemble Parts and Tools

You should have the following parts (Definition Name, Quantity):

  • Capstan, 1
  • CapstanTripod, 2 (spare not shown)
  • Floor, 1
  • Lower, 1
  • Orbital, 1
  • OrbitalSupport, 8
  • Railing, 8
  • Roller, 4
  • RollerPlatform, 1
  • RotatingPlatform, 1
  • Sail, 4
  • SailsHub1, 1
  • SailsHub2, 1
  • SailsHubSpacer, 1
  • Top, 1
  • Tower, 1

You will also need a short length of 1.75mm filament if you want the top of your Windmill to rotate smoothly.

The tools you will need are as follows:

  • Hobby knife
  • Sand paper
  • Small files (flat and circular)
  • Tweezers might also help (and is mandatory for the 1:160 version of the model).

You will also need some instant glue or epoxy and model paints of your preference.

Step 2: Secure the Railings to the Orbital Platform

There are eight railing segments that need to be installed around the platform that orbits the windmill. They each have two tabs that should be inserted into the platform. The very ends of these tabs may protrude from beneath the platform and will need to be cut off using a hobby knife. Once the railing segments are inserted into their slots the ends of each segment should be just touching the railing segment next door. They should be glued at this point and where they are inserted into the orbital platform.

Step 3: Mount the Orbital Platform

Once the railings are mounted that Orbital Platform can be slid onto the top of the lower section of the windmill. The eight orbital supports should be attached at this point as shown above. There are no grooves or slots so don't be looking for them! It is up to you to be neat and precise.

Step 4: Assemble the Roller Platform

The roller platform allows the top of the windmill to rotate just as does the full scale windmill. The wheels should be put on axels cut from a length of 1.75mm filament. The ends of the filament can be melted and compressed to keep the filament from slipping out of the roller while still allowing it to turn. If the 1.75mm filament does not fit through the holes then that small file I recommended will do the trick.

The roller platform should now be secured to the top of the tower with the grooves on the underside of the roller platform mating with the top of the tower. If it is not a good fit then some sand paper will come in handy.

Step 5: Assemble the Sails

The two parts of the hub for the sails should be glued together carefully ensuring that the slots for the sails are not clogged with adhesive. The sails can be glued into the hub on not depending on wether you expect to transport the windmill. If they are not glued they should pressure fit into the hub securely.

Step 6: Complete the Top of the Windmill

The top of the tower can now be assembled. There are two pieces that need to be fixed together. There are registration marks on both pieces so that you can line them up before gluing them together. The fit should be pretty exact but you may need to sand the join. Some modeling putty might also help.

The sails hub can now be mounted on the axel that protrudes from this rotating top. That axel will probably need a little sanding for a good fit.

Note that for an "N" scale model you will probably want to break the printed axel off and find an appropriate screw that could be used.

Step 7: Add the Capstan and Its Braces

This step is a bit fiddly. The capstan wheel should be attached to the bottom of the braces tripod (where the three bases join). The axel on the capstan can actually be inserted such that the capstan will turn though this is highly optional. The middle brace has an open square at the top that should be fit around the securing point on the top of the windmill (opposite the sails). The other two braces should be secured to the other two securing points such that the capstan itself is in the center of the orbital walkway. Achieving that is the fiddly bit.

The plastic this tripod of braces is printed with can be softened with heat and then bent. I print using PLA which gets pliable around 60c. Some bending may help to ensure the capstan is oriented correctly in the orbital walkway. Be careful though...my kits from eBay will include a spare. If you have your own printer then you may want to be prepared to print a spare!

Step 8: Paint the Windmill

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