Klingon Bird of Prey
Step 1: Sketching and Dimensions
The first step with any good build is to have a plan of action and think ahead about what you will need. Taking measurements and size into consideration for the model is vital. Using the official Star Trek Voyager blueprints from the original creators as a reference, I was able to design an accurate model of the ship using Fusion 360. I calculated the size in order to accommodate my CR-10 3D Printer's build plate dimensions. I figured that the overall length of the largest print that has the most detail should be no longer than 12" to 15" to avoid warping (No pun intended!) and other difficulties with over-sized prints. Following this idea, I started to make my own dimensions and measurements with a pencil and ruler.
Step 2: Identifying Parts
After getting the dimensions of the ship, I needed to determine the number of parts that I would need to make to allow the print to be done as easily as possible. Initially, I broke the parts up by the look of the ship and what made logical sense by looking at it. Following this, I modified the parts list to keep the prints sturdy and make printing easier. After some trial and error, I came up with a parts list as follows:
Rear Connection Piece
Step 3: Designing Parts: Nacelles
I started off designing the ship's nacelles. Beginning at the front view, I made progressive and subtle changes to the outer shape of the frame while moving the drawing plane back. After each sketch, I would use the loft command to connect the sketches. When the shape of it was finished, I added fillets to complement the overall look.
Step 4: Designing Parts: Adjustable Wing and Rear Connection Piece Held by Rod
The adjustable wing was designed starting from the top view, with the the basic perimeter that was proportional through proper measurements and dimensions. Next, I extruded the object to the correct height and added in the details, like the venting system, as a sketch on the top surface. Continuing on, I created a hole along the side so that it could hold a rod. This would allow the nacelles of the ship to move up as far as a perpendicular stance, like it does in the television show before the ship jumps to warp. The rear connection piece also has a hole extruded along the side that connects it to the adjustable wing piece. However, the design of it starts out like the other piece does in the top view of the drawing. Also the same is the extrusion to the designated height and the details being drawn on the surface. The plating and shuttle landing bay in the far rear portion of the connection piece are the largest two additions that were made through the use of extrusions.
Step 5: Designing Parts: Body
The body involved taking more elaborate actions in order to get an optimal print quality. I split the body into two parts, a top and a bottom, after I completed designing the model. This allowed for a flat surface to start both prints and get a better end product. Beginning the design was similar to the steps taken in making the nacelles. I sketched a front view of the object, and then fractionally redrew the sketch to fit the varying size changes, as the body shapes itself to the aft section of the ship. At this point, I was in need of adding grade changes to the body in the very front and back to accommodate the ship's gradual tilts that fluidly connected the body with the other sections. By extruding and cutting out two rectangular shapes into both the top and bottom piece, I was able to create a solid connection. Connecting the top and bottom portions involved me creating a rectangular key that would prevent the two from sliding apart when I got to the assembly of the ship after the printing.
Step 6: Designing Parts: Saucer Section
This is by far the largest piece that I have printed out of all three ships. At first, I thought that it would be easiest to take the same approach as I did with the nacelles and body. However, I came to realize that building from the bottom to the top would allow me to have more design control over the build than building from front to back. Once again, I used the loft to connect the sketches to finalize the end product.
Step 7: Printing
During this step, there was more watching and observing. Although it seems less strenuous during this period in the build process, it is vital to pay close attention to the prints to make sure that the prints are going alright. Problems could be any of the following:
Not sticking to the build plate
Supports aren't strong enough
Build plate isn't level
Ensuring there's enough PLA to complete the print
Printing each piece involved different settings to be set to accommodate the need of the print based on size, shape, and job of the piece in the final model. For example, the rear connector was set at a 25% density because of the more solid shape and size relative to the other pieces. In contrast, the body pieces were set at a 15% density with supports because of the key holes in the bottom of both and the more difficult print grades.
Print Temperature: 220 Degrees Fahrenheit
Bed Temperature: 60 Degrees Fahrenheit
Step 8: Organizing Parts
Before constructing anything, it is smart to check to make sure that everything will fit together, and all pieces needed for the build are in front of you. This way, they are ready the second you have glue and are ready to put things together. After checking that my parts are all printed, I make sure that all my tools are at hand when they will be needed. I have glue, sandpaper, a file, putty knife, needle-nose pliers, and clamps to hold the pieces together during dry time. Next, I clean up the pieces of any imperfection caused by broken supports or other filament oozing during printing. At this point, I am ready for construction.
Step 9: Construction
My first step was planning what would be fitted together first. I started with putting the rod into the rear connector and adjustable wings on either side. Next, the nacelles were glued to the adjustable wings. This created the connection in the image on the top right. After this, I glued the top and bottom body portions to one another and let everything dry for an hour before continuing gluing. After the pieces solidified, I slid the body on the back piece and glued them together, just leaving the Saucer and the back of the ship to be glued. I designed the Saucer to slide into the top portion of the body, and all that was needed to be added was glue.
Step 10: Voyager Final Product
Notice: The nacelles are capable of pivoting and locking into different positions, replicating the Voyager's pre-warp process as seen on the television show.
Step 11: USS Enterprise and Klingon Bird of Prey
Both of these ships, I designed and made under the same basic principles of design. I first brainstormed ideas of the size, detail, and overall look of the ships. I then took measurements to size the ships proportionally to the respective model. Next, I printed the ships and carefully observed the progress during the print. Following the completion, I then cleaned up the models and made each proudly presentable.