Modeling and Printing a Workable T-62 3D Tank

Introduction: Modeling and Printing a Workable T-62 3D Tank

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T-62 is a main battle Soviet Tank that first entered production in 1961. The tank continued to be produced until 1975. It is a combat tank with 115mm gun.

Before embarking on this journey of modeling the T-62 tank, we had researched its design sketches. The big plus about T-62 for 3D printing is that the model includes full interior layout.

It was initially decided that this 3D model will be big in size. This meant that the model had to be broken down into many separate pieces to make sure that the model can be printed on the regular print bed. There are 62 parts in the 3D model – a pure coincidence, or maybe not ;)

One can’t say that a certain part was the most difficult part to model. The T-62 3D model as a whole was difficult to create, as it required a lot of attention to all the small details and the hinges, which are incorporated in the model to provide workability of the manholes.

Of course, there are a lot of small elements that are attached to the outer shell of the 3D model. But we will focus on modeling the following important elements of every tank:

- The hull;

- The turret;

- The caterpillar tracks;

- The wheels;

- And the hinge to the manholes that make them operable.

The 3D model was designed in Autodesk Maya 3D modeling software. All screenshots are from the program.

* Although the T-62 tank 3D model has a lot of outer shell details and a full interior layout, we will focus in this Instructable on modeling the tank’s shell.

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Step 1: Step 1. the Hull

Before starting, remember that every separate part is made by combining primitive solids. Each primitive must be combined into a single object. This way, you make sure that the model will print as one.

The modeling of the tank’s hull starts with a box. Draw edges, where the splashboard of the tank will be and use Extrude option to create the tank’s splashboard.

With the Bend option, create the front curve of the splashboard.

To create the front and the back of the tank, use the X, Y, Z axes to select the face which you want to remove from the cube. Once removed, the box will have a hollow space which must be filled. Select the two edges and create a bridge between them. Once the bridge is created (the part of brown-grey color), there still remain some hollow spaces (the spots in black, left and right) that must be filled. Select them and use the Fill Hole option. Do the same with the bottom front of the tank and the back. Play with the shape, until you achieve the one you want.

Use Bevel option for the lower line of the tank to make the edge “rounder” then prepare the object to be cut along its length and make the other half of it. For this, find the midline of the object, select the Faces you don’t need and use the Mirror Geometry Options. Thus, you create the entire hull of the tank. Cut the hull in half, to facilitate its 3D printing.

For the place where the turret will stand, create a primitive with the shape of the hollow for the turret, place it over the place where you want to make a hollow and use the Booleans-Difference option. Then, create the interior of the hull. Position a primitive box in the tank’s front interior.

The same applies for the rectangular hollows, where the engines are situated at the rear of the tank.

Step 2: Step 2. the Turret

In the MUDBOX or ZBrush programs, retopoligize a primitive sphere and sculpt the turret’s aspect, creating the places for the different manholes. Now that the places are nicely sculpted, use the Boolleans option to create the hollows for the manhole in the turret. Extrude all interior faces.

Step 3: Step 3. the Manhole Cover Hinge

The incorporated hinge gives the 3D model workability. The manhole covers can be opened and closed.

To create such a hinge, use a polygon pipe. Select the faces from its interior and use the Duplicate function. Make the resulting shape smaller, to create enough space for its rotation, after printing. Use Fill Hole option, to “cover” the other end of the primitive object. A cylinder emerges. To make the cylinder longer, select the vertices and drag them on the required axis line, in our case it is the Z axis.

Step 4: Step 4. the Caterpillar Track

The caterpillar track consists of different primitives, which are modeled to create the element of the caterpillar. To build a caterpillar track, use the Duplicate function.

For the naturally-looking curve, rotate de duplicated parts, one by one, little by little.

Step 5: Step 5. the Caterpillar Wheel

Another element of the caterpillar tracks is the wheel. Again, the wheel, just like any other tank part, is created from primitives.

To make the wheel, use a polygon pipe and a cone. Use Booleans option to incorporate the cone in the polygon pipe and bring the cone tip closer to the center of the cylinder pipe. Duplicate the element around the wheel’s interior. Use a cylinder and the Booleans option to create an additional hollow in the cone, for aesthetic reasons.

Create the other half of the wheel from a modified primitive, resembling a flower petal. With the Booleans function and the modified primitive make hollows around the wheel. Additional hollows can be created similarly for aesthetic reasons, using a cylinder.

Other elements, like cylinders of different sizes, are used to enhance the wheel, adding more details and reality.

Step 6: Step 6. Saving and Checking All STL Files for Errors

Save the model in STL files.

After saving the STL files, check them for potential errors. We use Netfabb. The software generates a no-error result.

Step 7: Step 7. Print the STL Files

Considering the tank, with all its outer and interior layout elements, consists of 62 pieces, their 3D printing requires time. Every part is printed separately or with other small parts on the 3D printer’s heat bed, as long as they all fit on its surface.

Step 8: Step 8. Assembling the Printed Parts of the Model

Here's the video of how to assemble the 3D printed parts.

The second video is the assembly guidelines for the same 3D model, with every part being numbered.

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    4 Discussions


    7 months ago

    It looks very well made and highly detailed for a 3D printed model but one question. Why is the front half of the gun lighter than the back half? Is this an error during 3D printing? I do a bit of 3D modelling but I have never 3D printed and never worked with the STL file format, though I'd like to get into it. Do STL files have materials assigned to the mesh that could affect tint of the printed product?

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    3 years ago

    Wow. this definitely deserves to be featured. Great job!


    3 years ago

    what 3D printer did you use?