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I, like many, am fascinated by space.

I thought it would be awesome to have a sculpture of the space shuttle on my desk.

But, why buy a product when you can make one?

To recreate the shuttle at 1:622 scale I used the Tinkercad.

Tinkercad is a free online 3D modeling program that is extremely easy to use.

This build is super cool and great fun to make.

Step 1: References

To make this build as accurate as possible I first collected images of the shuttle from a variety of angles.

Having these references is really helpful for getting proportions correct.

The space shuttle (Space Transportation System) consists of 3 main parts:

• Boosters
• (fuel) Tank
• And the Shuttle

This video is insightful on how the shuttle works.

In a drawing app I layered screenshots from tinkercad making them translucent over the references to check the proportions are correct.

Step 2: The Boosters

Create a cylinder as the main body of the booster.

At the front use a cone and a paraboloid to create a smooth point.

A paraboloid, half sphere, and a cone will form the booster at the back.

Next group It all together.

Duplicate the boosters and put aside for now.

Tip: ctrl C - ctrl V to copy and paste

Step 3: Fuel Tank

To create the main body, you will once again you need a cylinder.

To the right of this is a slightly smaller cylinder.

Create the nose with a half sphere and a paraboloid.

A tip can be made with a small cone.

The tail end is made up of a cone, cylinder and a half sphere.

The colours in the image correspond to the shapes in Tinkercad.

Step 4: Shuttle Pt1 (Body)

Now for the trickier part; creating the shuttle.

To establish the main shape use a box, sphere, round roof and several paraboloids.

For a seamless fit use meta fillets, and boxes.

Tip: ctrl g = group

Step 5: Shuttle Pt2 (Wings)

To form the basic shape, cut around a solid box with hole boxes.

To have a nicer finish use a 'partial angle tube' to round off the edges.

Now duplicate the wing and place on either side of the shuttle.

Tip: You can use an online protractor for accurate measurements of the wing.

Step 6: Shuttle Pt3 (Fin)

Repeat the previous step again using holes to create the shape on a box.

For a rounded top I used a cylinder.

Place the fin on the shuttle turning it through 90°.

The difference between a fin and a wing is a fin provides stability and a wing gives lift

Step 7: Shuttle Pt4 (maneuvering Engines)

Use a box and curved roof to form the first shape.

Then, to make it 3D, use two meta fillets to curve the two sides.

Now we have a nice rounded shape put it on the Shuttle at a slight angle so there is no gap beneath it.

If the image is cut of click on it for an expanded view ↑↑

Step 8: Shuttle Pt5 (boosters )

Use a 3 cones to create the boosters.

Tinker around until you think you have the right angle.

Remember to have two lower than the other.

To make a cone like I have change the top radius in the shape setting (top right)

Step 9: Attaching Boosters to Fuel Tank

As we are not printing it in one piece, we have to create ways of assembling the parts together.

The fuel tank will connect everything together.

Use a cylinder and two boxes to build what will connect to the boosters.

Next create a hole in each booster with a box.

Make sure these holes are slightly larger than the previous boxes.

Step 10: Attaching Shuttle

Create a box on top of the fuel tank.

Next make a hole on the underside of the shuttle the same height as the earlier box.

Be sure that this doesn't go through the whole shuttle!

Step 11: Positioning for Print.

Line up the three parts side by side making sure they are level on the work plane.

Be sure to export the parts separately!

If you don't want to export separately you can skip the the previous 2 steps and connect the boosters to the fuel tank with a cylinder. (see image 3 ↑↑ )

Step 12: Stand (Extra)

I will show you how to make a basic stand but my stl file is more complex.

Use a cone as the main body.

To hollow the centre use a box and rounded roof.

For a sleek finish use a box at an angle.

To finish up duplicate the tank and make it a hole.

Next position it at an angle not touching the work plane and group with the base.

This will mean that the model will fit snuggly if printed at the same scale.

Step 13: Printing

This was a very easy print that in total took just under 3hr to print.

All of mine is printed in PLA.

This does require support material, but very little is needed so don't be scared to print.

Did you know the shuttles fuel tank used to be white until NASA realized that paint was to costly and heavy! The paint weighed in at a total of 600 pounds. The orange look is given by rust.

Step 14: Finishing Up

Everything should slide into place.

If not, a bit of glue or sanding can help.

This was a great to build and print and super fun.

Above are some images of the Shuttle↑↑

Here is my other space project!

I hope you enjoyed!

Stay safe!

Runner Up in the
Big vs Small Challenge

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