Helicopters have always been an interest of mine. I looked around on the internet for 3d models to print, and due to the lack of content, I decided that I would make a model myself. I decided to use tinkercad as the CAD software.
Step 1: Choose a Helicopter to Design
The first thing in this project to choose is the helicopter you want to design. I decided to build a MH-47G, a Special Operations Chinook from the U.S. Army. As well as a Mi-14, a Russian Anti-Submarine Helicopter. In my opinion, it is better to model a helicopter that has relatively simple shapes, thus do start off by designing a AH-1Z (look it up) for your first try.
Step 2: Make a Tinkercad Account
Make a tinkercad account at tinkercad.com, then start a new design.
Step 3: Start the Fuselage
Start the creation of the fuselage, using an image for reference. This is accomplished by using a selection of cylinders to create the main body.
Step 4: Develop a Scale
Find the specifications of the helicopter in real life, then create a scale of the length of the helicopter to the length of the model. I decided to use every 1 ft in real life to 1 mm in tinkercad, yet I ended up scaling the helicopter model's size up before 3d printing it.
Step 5: Create the Nose of the Helicopter
Use a combination of paraboloids, boxes, and cylinders to form the nose (the nose is arguably the most difficult part to create).
Step 6: Create Holes Where the Rotor Assembly Goes (optional)
Place a cylinder block at the top of the fuselage, where the real life helicopter has it's rotor assembly. Make sure that the hole extends far enough into the fuselage to put a small rod to hold the blade. If you do not want to put this step in, you can attach the helicopter's blades by glueing the blades to the rotor, to make a stronger model. (I used toothpicks to make the rotors.)
Step 7: Create Holes in Fuselage Where Relevant.
Use a combination of different shape blocks to create air intakes in the fuselage, as well as any other places on the body that require more complex shapes.
Step 8: Create Small Rod and Rotors for Helicopter
Copy the hole you used on the top of the fuselage to build the rotor assembly, then make it a solid object, and scale it down by 75%, then put those on the side of the model, so they can print separately.
Step 9: Split Your Model Into Parts (so It Does Not Defy Gravity)
Use a combination of holes as well as cutting the model into parts. Then use these parts, and make sure the parts are on the plate so that you do not have issues when printing. Putting all the objects on the plate is difficult, yet the most effective way to print with would be to add support structures. Without the supports every time I printed, and issue arose.
Step 10: Post to Thiniverse!
Make a Thingiverse account and publish your design!