Star Trek Enterprise NX-01 Warp Core




Introduction: Star Trek Enterprise NX-01 Warp Core

About: Freelance game developer and maker

This is a model of the warp 5 core from the U.S.S. Enterprise NX-01 of the series Star Trek Enterprise. It lights up and has a explosion effect. The model is meant for decoration.
This project can take up to 50 hours of 3D printing and a few extra hours for other processes.

I recommend you make this only if you have a basic understanding of electronics and using 3D printers and laser cutters/cnc mills.

Tools and materials:
- 3D printer with a minimal print area of 210x160x200mm (LxWxH)
- Laser cutter or CNC mill with a minimum work area of 200x80mm
- Acryl bending machine with a minimum width of 50mm, you can use a heat gun instead of a hot wire but this can be to inacurate.

Soldering iron
- Dremel
- Knife
- Sandpaper or other sanding equipment like dremel attachments


- PLA 0.5Kg
- Acryl 110x3x40mm (L*H*B) or 2x 110x3x20mm
- PMMA sheet 1,5mm+0.1mm black coating
- Multiplex 65x50x3mm
- 6x 4pin RGB Common Anode led 5mm
- 15cm (15Led's) RGB 5050 WS2812B Ledstrip 5V
- Bison kit contact glue transparant (for sticking the 3D prints together)
- Dremel tool set (sanding,cutting,polishing,drilling)
- Gluestick (for 3D printbed adhesion, optional)
- 24x Male-Female 10cm dupont cable
- 8x Male-Female 20cm dupont cable
- 6x Male-Male 10cm dupont cable
- 3x 220Ohm resistor
- Arduino breadboard power adapter MB102 + 2A/5V adapter

Machine settings:
3D printer
- 0.1mm layer hight
-20% infill
-50mm/s speed
-layer cooling fan on

Laser cutter, this depend heavily on what machines you are using so this information may be completely useless to you. Try experimenting with your material to see which settings are right for you.
- engraving 100 power 80 speed
- cutting 100 power 3.5 speed

Acryl transparant
- cutting 100 power 1 speed

Step 1: Designing

Design process

I spend about 150 hours designing the model in Fusion 360 with the use of pictures taken from the series. I began by making a paper prototype to see how big the model should be. After this I made a few sketches of parts with the right dimensions. After this I began to make the model in Fusion 360.

I chose to use a combination of led strip and RGB led's to light up the model. I use an Arduino nano as controller because of its size and it can easily be mounted on a breadboard which makes it easy to wire everything up.

I made a few changes to the model because this made it more easy to print and laser cut/bend. The main deviation from the original model are the warp plasma conduits (the 2 pipes sticking out at 45 degrees) the original model uses round pipes but I made them so I could place a simple piece of acrylic over them for lighting. I designed the original ones but this required me to bend 2 pieces of acrylic 180 degrees which was impossible for me.

Step 2: Assembling the Components (testing Phase)

Before we build the whole thing we should test all of our components so everything works.

Start by soldering the wires that need soldering, these are:
- The wires to the vibration motor (this part is optional if you want an audible effect with the explosion effect)
- The wires to the RGB strip (+, - and signal)

Now you can connect al the wires and components together as a test fit te make shure that everything works.
Note that I wired the RGB led's in parallel, this isnt the best way to wire them since some leds will draw more current then others, but this isnt that big of a problem, in fact it helps give each RGB led a slightly different color which makes in more realistic to the on-screen core.

Also make shure u use COMMON ANODE rgb led's. because common cathode led's are wired up differently.

Uploading the files
Now plug the Arduino into your computer and upload the program called: Warp_core_code.ino.
Now when you plug in the cable to the power socket your led's should light up.

Do not just use usb power or the power input on the Arduino since this cant deliver enough current to all of the led's. This circuit can draw up to 2 Amps, the seperate breadboard power board can provide this.

Step 3: 3D Printing the Body

If everything works you can start on the housing.

I made a excell sheet with all the parts that you need to print and how much each part costs to make and the average printing time.
I used PLA, and I would reccomend you use this as well.
The files are in a .rar archive, unzip this and open the files with your slicer of choice. I use Cura.

For finishing the parts you can use sandpaper or other sanding tools to clean the surfaces. You can later use spraypaint to paint the parts but I chose not to do this.

After all the files are printed you can glue them together according to the images

Step 4: Laser Cutting Acrylic and PMMA

After finishing the 3D printed parts it is time to cut out the plastic parts on a cnc mill or laser cutter. I used a laser cutter.

Cut out the parts in the .rar archive. The lines to cut are red and the surfaces to engrave out are black.
The parts to make out of clear acrylic are:
- Front plates
- Middle plates
- Plasma conduit
The parts to cut out of the wood are the warp reactor grates.
The parts to make cut out of the PMMA with the black coating that you engrave off are the rails plates.

I sanded the clear acrylic parts with some 500 and 1000 grit sandpaper to make them opacue, this gives a nice effect when light shines trough it because you cant see the led's and wiring inside the model.

I made the wood parts black with a black permanent marker so make the match the model.

Bend the 4 pieces called Plasma conduit (cut them out 2x) to fit over the printed parts. You can do this with a heat gun but this is very hard and inaccurate, I did it with a hot wire. Heat the place you want the bend to be for about 1 minute and then bend it.

Step 5: Assembling the Model

Now it is time to put everything together. I left the part open in the front for easy acces to the electronics.

Now the model is done! plug it in and enjoy your warp core.

Step 6: Known Problems and Limitations

This model is not perfect
First of all this is a fanmade model so it is not 100% acurate to the model in the series.
Some parts may not fit together perfectly at first, this can happen because alle 3D printers have slightly diferent tolerances.

The design and idea's are property of Paramount Pictures, CBS Corporation. I just recreated a model based on screenshots.

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    6 months ago

    I'm making this model as well. I've scaled up to 170%. This will allow me to install an actual screen and more interactive lighting. Ive started sanding the parts and will prime and paint them a dull copper like the original prop. I will use opaque resin for the lighted areas. Thanks for your hard work. I hope I can do this project justice.


    Reply 5 months ago

    Main components finished. Almost a meter long!

    Roel Versteeg
    Roel Versteeg

    Reply 6 months ago

    Thats awesome! cant wait to see the finished project!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I am very impressed with your project. As a maker, I am a long way off from your skills. 3D printing and CNC projects like yours amaze me. Your project confirmed a lighting idea I had using LED strips and RGB LED lights with an Arduino or Raspberry Pi board. The changing lights of your model are elegant and entrancing, even without sound. I will use your work to guide how I design my project. Thanks for sharing and you do great work!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Just find it funny that there was great error made to be precise and yet inaccurate is misspelled.


    4 years ago

    Nice Roel! Now all we have to do is put the rest of the ship together and we're off.


    4 years ago

    It's that i don't have 3D printer or else i would have made it in a heartbeat, great work on it, i really love it!


    4 years ago

    That's an awesome model and you were meticulous in your design and execution. I've just starting watching that series again on CBS All Access .. so recognized this right off. Trip would be impressed.

    Roel Versteeg
    Roel Versteeg

    Reply 4 years ago

    Tnx! Im glad U like it. I even removed some detail in the model because I wouldn't be able to 3D print it otherwise haha.