Space Shuttle on launch pad

by RotoScan, published

Space Shuttle on launch pad by RotoScan Jul 21, 2011

Featured Thing!


This is a model of the Space Shuttle that stands over 12" high.

It started out as this model from Google's 3D warehouse.


All the parts come apart so you can configure it in many ways.

  • On the launch pad fully assembled

  • Launched with boosters attached

  • Boosters detached - just the Orbiter and fuel tank

  • Orbiter by itself

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Can you re-upload the base? The one provided here only slices half way. Even Netfabb cant fix it.

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Print, print and then print some more!

Tallest piece is about 115mm and the launch pad takes up nearly the entire build platform of a Thing-O-Matic.

Printed with a layer height of .25mm, 0 extra shells and 10% infill. You may want to print the launch pad with extra shells to increase the strength of the posts.

Each of the main parts, the Orbiter, boosters and fuel tank are comprised of three pieces each which are pinned together using bits of 3mm filament and glued. Gluing is optional, but recommended. I use acetone.

Attach the Orbiter to the fuel tank using 3mm filament. If the filament fits too loosely you can crush it slightly with pliers to make it wider. Attach the boosters to the fuel tank in the same manner.

The engine piece snaps into the back of the Orbiter and the nozzle pieces for the boosters press into place. A bit of sanding may be needed depending upon how flared out the bottom gets printed.


Can you re-upload the base? The one provided here only slices half way. Even Netfabb cant fix it.


Thank you!

When printing the fuel tank, the bottom section of the nose is printing with very thin walls or something. The bottom inch or so can just be crunched in because there is only a very thing outside layer. Any suggestions?

For some reason the aft section of the orbiter crashes my slic3r. Has anyone got a fixed version?

I just uploaded a fixed version of the ShuttleOrbiterAft.stl

I'm working on making this one, thanks for the great model! Is the Orbiter mid part missing a hole to connect to the fuel tank? It looks like your picture of the printed model has a hole, but the STL does not. Am I missing something?

The aft section is not slicing properly. The internal section of the right wing is missing as well as a chunk on the tail. I am using makerware software on the replicator 2. Any chance you can reload the stl file or load in a 3D format?

I just uploaded a fixed version of the ShuttleOrbiterAft.stl model

Slic3r is giving me an error on the aft section, self-intersecting facets in the model for the Orbiter.

Some of the facets are backwards in the original. This will confuse slicer programs. You can "reverse faces" in Sketchup and many other free editing programs.

This isn't supposed to be here, is it? http://imgur.com/jMXJqhttp://imgur.com/jMXJq

(the uploader complained about format)

I don't know why you have that notch there. My guess is that the model is sitting on your build platform in such a way that the fin is up against the corner which won't allow it to print that last little bit. But that is just a guess...

Thank you for the reply... Since it isn't in the model I did some repairs. I think I fared well!


I really want one of these that I can launch with model rockets. That would be awesome.

only one of my shuttle booters printer bad is there a way I can edit the stl files so I just print out that one booter?

Single Booster added.

You can import the stl into SketchUp using a plugin and edit that way. Or you could use Netfabb or... I'm sure there are other ways too.

What a great design! Now I have the shuttle so I can size it down to put it on the launch smoke Thing:10109 that I have already printed. Thanks so much for this and also I flattered you for this :-$



I scaled this way down to do just that but it did not work well. As I printed the launch smoke thing, the distance between the boosters needs to be only 5mm. My tiny shuttle looked quite terrible at that size.

I could print the orbiter parts but the build doesn't start for the booster parts. This happenned to me for other complicated parts before. I wonder if it is because of the new java updates. I using ultimaker replicatorg 24.

murat - in reply to murat

Thanks for the quick reply. I don't think that there is a problem with my connectors, as not even the simulation starts or the boosters. I can then load something else without disturbing the setup, and it would print. I have replicatorg 25 beta, which is not turning the extuder motor on... Maybe running the 25 did something to the firmware. I'll reflash and try again. I might even try on a linux machine rather then Win7...

I am using ReplicatorG 25 and did not encounter any problems. Sorry that I can't be of more help.

...although, completely unrelated to software, I have had builds fail to start but that is because the connector to the heated build platform failed. It waits for the HBP to reach operating temperature - which never happens.

In the picture you can see how the plastic was discolored from the melting. Inside the connector the end of the wire has a metal blade that is folded over to act like a spring. I think the metal is a bit too thin to carry the amount of current that is required by the heated build platform. It heat s up and the metal becomes annealed and loses it's springiness. That, and the plastic softening (allowing the blade to push itself away from the connection) causes the connection to be lost.

I fixed it buy cutting the connector apart into two pieces right where the melted part was. I flattened, the n soldered the blade onto the heated build platform's pin. That is why the wire appears higher than the other in the pictures. It is on top of the pin whereas the others are below.

Very well done. I like that it's multi-parted so things can be printed in different colors. Looks great. The tail section is very cleverly cut up for relatively no support printing.

Thank you!

It was printed with zero support.

Fantastic, I love big multipart things!