Laser Cut TIE Fighter Model

Introduction: Laser Cut TIE Fighter Model

About: I'm an architecture student and I love to build/design/assemble/cook/reuse/transform stuff. Among other stuff I make/made/do an electric guitar, beer, electronics, arduino, furniture, models, effects pedals...

Hi everybody!

After the many help I found on this website, I finally decided to start sharing stuff too. This is my first instructable, so I hope it will be clear and well explained.

Also I'm french, so if you spot any mistakes let me know.

It is certainly not the first laser cut TIE Fighter model you'll see, and some of them are great, but they all shared a "mechanical" look due to the assemblage method. So I decided I'd do one myself, with a more "volume" feeling.

I found the 3D model on the excellent website SciFi3d and it was made by Al Meerow, which portfolio is here.

If he comes here one day, I'd like to thank him for the amazing work!

With the model cleaned and separated into body and wings, I used 123D Make (which is free!) to get the pieces.

I chose to separate the wings and the body for different reasons. Firstly, I wanted to have the canopy clearly visible, so the slices were necessarily on the Z axis. Knowing that, I didn't want to stack infinite numbers of pieces to do the wings so I switched the slices axis to X. It allowed me to engrave details on them, and the burnt color wouldn't ruin the aesthetics. In the end, the normally gray parts are the burnt sides of the pieces, and the normally black parts (solar panels and canopy) are beige, which is greatly improving the overall impression of the model due to the color difference.

The material used is 1,2mm thick pulp-board. I'm not really sure of the term so if any of you recognizes it I would be glad to correct.

The glue I used (see picture) is for me the best for glueing cardboard for models I do at my architecture school. (see picture) You can even glue two Rhodoid sheet on the edge with it! Plus it doesn't smell anything, and it cures fast.
I recommend it for this model too, as many small parts with limited glueing surfaces are present.

For those not living in France (a whole lot of people), you might try with "acrylic polymer emulsion". Good luck!

So you'll need :

- a laser cutter/engraver,

- 1 or 1.2mm thick pulp-board,

- "acrylic polymer emulsion" glue if you can find it, else it will be slightly more difficult,

- a barbecue stick to hold the pieces together (optional but strongly recommended),

- a pair of tweezers to manipuate small parts,

- patience!

Step 1: Files

Here are the files for the laser cutter.

Black lines are to be cut, and green lines engraved only.

Step 2: Body

Let's start with the body.

The cockpit and wing pylons assembly is pretty straightforward.

Firstly, assemble the numbers from 9 (engine exhaust) to 38 (cockpit front).

Don't forget to keep the numbers on the same side and orientation.

The small hole in the center of the pieces is 3mm in diameter and I strongly recommend to thread a barbecue stick into it to help adjust the pieces together !

When all of the pieces are glued together, cut the barbecue stick on each side so it is flush with the surface and sand it if necessary.

(Sorry I do not have pictures of that part!)

Then you can glue the small engine section (numbers 1 to 8). I prefered to do this separately and glue it to the main assembly later so I could adjust the parts better.

(This section is visible in front of the cockpit in the picture)

Next comes the cockpit window. Glue part 39 on the main assembly, then (preferably with fine tweezers) 40-1 and 40-2 on it (they are separated because I found it more beautiful :) ).

Finally, glue part 41 on top of the others. Good luck with that one!

Once you've done that, you can go on and glue the small "T" shaped pieces (part 49) on the pylons as seen on the second picture.

WARNING : DO NOT glue parts 50 as in the picture and keep them for the final assembly !

Now you should have a nice center part ready to support the wings !

Step 3: Wings

The wings are a bit more of a pain to assemble, due to long and thin parts that might deform or break.

I'll explain the steps for one wing, you'll just have to redo it for the other.

First thing you've got to do is to glue the two solid hexagons (parts 42) together (with the engraved details outside of course !).

On top of each side you must glue the two emptied hexagons that outline the wings (parts 43), then inside it put the part 44 and then 45.

Put the part 46 on the side that'll receive the body pylon, and parts 47 and 48 on the outside.

Voilà! I hope your fingers aren't covered in glue for the final assembly!

Step 4: Final Assembly

Now that you have your TIE body and two wings, it is time to join everything together.

You might have to bevel the sides of the small "T" pieces so they fit in the part that receives it on the wing.

What I did is glueing the body on one wing only and eye guessing its right position.

Once the glue cured, which took about 20 minutes, I glued the other wing and set the TIE standing up so the wings would be (almost) perfectly parallel. You might need to adjust it a bit before letting it rest.

Then, optionally, you can glue parts 50 in the right position.

If the glue you used is strong enough, you should now have a nice model of a TIE/ln Stafighter ready to stand on your desk or suspended in your room !

I hope you've enjoyed this Instructable. Any comments, questions, critics (and pictures of your models!) are welcome, and if you spot any mistakes please let me know.

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    5 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Speaking as the designer of one of the "mechanical" TIE Fighter models, this is really friggin' cool. Especially the wings.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks a lot!
    What models are you speaking of?


    Reply 2 years ago

    this one:


    4 years ago

    That is a lot of detail!


    Reply 4 years ago

    Thank you! And thanks to Al Meerow for the model too!