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How can I build a structure that looks like the thruster cone on a robotic space probe? Answered

I'm hoping to make something that looks like the thruster cones on a robotic space probe.  Something that looks similar to this cone. I'd rather it not be metal but something that can let some light through, like a lampshade.  Can anyone suggest something that looks similar to this?  It would be awesome if there's a solution that doesn't require much assembly. Thanks!

Here's another example: Thruster

5 Replies

rickharris (author)2011-07-28

Cardboard - cereal packaging

Buy a plastic kit for the space shuttle



Some hobby shops may sell lampshade parchment.

A translucent plastic vase.

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lemonie (author)2011-07-27

You may be able to find plastic glasses that have a similar shape...
For example

and more


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Burf (author)2011-07-27

I would start with a large plastic funnel and a piece of ABS or PVC plastic pipe of the right size. Glue them together and use Bondo to shape the details and a few metal pieces as accent. Finally, give it a paint job with some flat black paint. Looks like a fairly simple build to me.

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orksecurity (author)Burf2011-07-27

The top of a plastic bottle might also make a good exhaust cone.

Basically, look around the house and in your recycling bin. Find stuff that's about the right shapes. Cut, glue, wrap, and otherwise build up the shape you're looking for (or something else that looks plausible for the purpose, if you aren't trying for an exact reproduction). Paint.

Junk sculpture, basically.

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kelseymh (author)2011-07-27

If you just want the cone part, that shape was pretty common for lamp shades back in the 1960's (what with the Space Race and all :-). You could try thrift stores and see if you can find actual glass or plastic shades in that shape, or go to a lamp store for a modern "retro" version at ten times the price :-)

If you want to make something yourself, the simplest approach might be to start with cardboard and cut out two or three flat sheets with the cross-section you want, then slot them together in the center to make a skeleton. With the skeleton, you can wrap a warmed up plastic sheet around it to get the actual shape, and trim off the excess. Practice with a sheet of heavy paper or light card stock to get the technique down.

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