In a galaxy far far away there was a designer who designed things… and stuff. So, Story telling is not our strongest point but we do know we one thing we’re good at, and that is bringing the props from your favorite movies to life. Enter then iconic fleet of space ships from Star Wars. In this tutorial we will be guiding on how you can use SOLIDWORKS and 3D printing to recreate your own replica Star Wars X-Wing fighter.
This iconic rebel ship may look simple, but the shapes that flow into each other can be a little tricky. We used some simple lofted shapes and edited the sketches until we were happy with the overall shape of the body. As the body is mostly symmetrical,we only needed to focus detail on one half.
When making models like these in SOLIDWORKS, use any ‘cheats’ you can in order to speed up the build time. The less time you spend on modelling, the more time you can spend on snacks. We were super excited when we noticed the wing only had to be done once and mirrored to create the other 3. Popcorn here we come!
To create all the little panels along the side of the X-Wing, we sketched out the pattern then extruded a surface. We used these surfaces to split the model up. We then applied chamfers on all the edges and merged the bodies back together. This gave an awesome paneled look on the surface. We would suggest test printing a part to see if the chamfers are deep enough to show in the 3D print. There is nothing worse than spending hours on detail that doesn’t show out in the end.
Once the model was completed and we were happy we split the files. We saved them as separate STL formats and printed them off. The printing for this went almost flawlessly. We had a little failure due to over extrusion, but all we had to do to correct this was relaunch and it came out perfect the second time. This is a good example on why you should always monitor your prints. This is especially true for the long ones as a failure could damage your machine or waste your time if it’s a 15 hour print and it fails in the first 20 minutes.
While building the model in SOLIDWORKS, we made a few holes on all the bodies. This is so we could drive plastic rods in the model to give it strength. Some of the parts (especially the tips of the wings) would be extremely fragile if there wasn’t a rod to support it.
Painting this model was an easy and the fun part of the project. The process we used is called griming. Since we want the model to look worn and like it had been in battle, this process is perfect. What you do is you take very watered down paint, mash it over the surface, and then wipe it with a paper towel. This leaves the paint in the deeper grooves and removes it off the higher surfaces and this gives a good dirty look to it. If you are unsure of this process take a failed part or print a part twice to experiment with different techniques.
Once you let the paint dry you can even add in some extra details like bullet holes or burn marks. Once you are happy with the paint job, your Star Wars themed space ship is complete and ready to rule the stars! We hope this tutorial will kick you in to hyper drive and push you to create more awesome stuff using SOLIDWORKS and 3D printing. The capabilities are endless, and you are only limited by how far you push yourself.
May the SOLIDWORKS force be with you!