There are a lot of planes which you can find on platforms for 3D printing, but I wanted to create something different, more challenging. It was my first project to design something in 3D and to print it.
The idea was to combine a 3D printing with a solar module to energize an engine for the propeller.
That is what I used to teach myself how to model in Creo Parametric. This tool tends to address more professionals; nevertheless you can do it in other tools on the market as well. In this instruction I’ll show you where the main difficulties are, what you have to print and how to assemble the plane at the end.
Because of the limitations of the printer to print different colors at one time, I had to take this in account during the design process.
At the end the plane consists of four parts which has to be printed. Regarding the color you use, you will get nice optic combinations. The main part is the corpus body. In addition to that, there are the big and the small wings at the end of the corpus. The smallest piece is the propeller.
Items you need:
- 2 rubber wheels
I used some wheels from Lego (Example of rubber wheel)
2 Solar modules SM150 (Link to a shop)
1 solar engine / micro motor (Link to a shop)
- Thin wire and soldering equipment
- Double-sided tape
Ability to print the STL-files :-)
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Step 1: Main Corpus
For this main part I designed 3 parts and combined them to one STL file:
There are 4 challenges to cope with:
- At the front, there must be a hole big enough to insert the solar engine. The hole is going through till the entrance for the pilot. That's the only possibility to solder the wires.
- The slide rails on both sides on the corpus must be designed in a way that the big wings can be moved from the front to the exact position in the middle.
- At the end of the body are some slots to insert the small wings.
- Beside the whole for the pilot are some small holes for the wire from the big wings.
Because of my learning status I designed the underbody separately, that gave me more control in die designing process.
The wheels are designed the fit on the pins of the underbody. There is some space between a wheel and the pin to make sure that the wheels can rotate, but they are printed in one way.
Step 2: Big Wings
For the big wings I started to create one wing, duplicated it and moved it up and a little bit aside.
Between the two plates four pillars hold the wings tight together.
In the middle of the lower wing a rectangle was sliced. This is needed to move the wings into the corpus.
As you can see on the top of the upper wing some rectangles are recessed to accommodate the solar modules.
In these sockets are wholes for the wire to connect the solar modules with the engine.
Step 3: Tail Plane / Small Wing
The tail plane seems very simple but it has to fit exactly into the slot(s) horizontally and vertically of the corpus.
Step 4: Propeller
There is nothing to say.
The propeller is very simple and has a whole for the pin of the micro motor.
Step 5: Putting All Together
After you have printed all the 4 STL files you just have to slide them together.
Be careful with the pressure in moving the items together. According to the quality of the printer, it could be possible that you have to file a little bit at the wings.
After soldering some thin wire at the poles of the solar cells, direct the wires through the tiny holes of the wing and fix the solar cells directly with tape.
After that the wires has to go into the corpus in the small holes. It's a little bit fiddling to pull the wires out of the pilot area. If you move the engine into the front of the corpus, also pull the wires out of the pilot's area.
Here you can solder the phases together and push everything into the pilot area.
Don't forget to pull the rubber wheels on the axle and to put the propeller on the engine axle.
Hope you made it!
Have fun on sunny days!