Thunderbird 1

by gadgetmind May 27, 2017
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This might be a dumb question but roughly what scale is this?

Not even slightly stupid, but hard to answer!

This prints to about 280mm long. See a remix for a larger one but that one requires finishing and painting skills!

There are multiple sizes for TB1 in various texts, with 24 metres and 35 metres being common. Assuming the former, that's 85:1. All the numbers in my SCAD files are in mm taken from an A4 print of a "blueprint" but I then scaled to get as big as I could print. The larger one is in more pieces.

Thanks that actually helps quite a bit. Now I have a starting point to re scale it. I belong to a model railroad club, and For the last year. I have been printing small pop culture items to hide on the club layout for our open-houses. When I get around to printing it I will be scaling it down a bit for a forced perspective view. I will post a make of it on our layout hopefully in the next few months.

Ah, OK, makes sense. I did a smaller prototype to start with, but the text would have been a real fiddle! If you're happy to tackle the makefile, you can turn off bits of detail and paint this on, and you can also change size from in there.

Thanks so much for this design. My son and I are having a great time printing it. He recently found the Thunderbirds episodes and now wants us to print their vehicles. I am struggling, however, to print the Wings_inc_Gear as one of the wings seems to snap from its brim and ruining the print job. I was wondering if you could generate these wings in separate STL files so I can print each one separately. I appreciate your help here.


OK, try TB1_WingL_Inc_Gear.stl

Sorry for the late reply. It's trivial for me to do this so I'll tackle it tomorrow. I'll just do the one as you can mirror for the other. Note that these wings benefit from plenty of supports and also good cooling to prevent any curling. I've printed maybe 10 sets of these and only had one go wrong.

Hi Gadgetmind, I found this model and was interested in how close it is to the tv shows studio mode, i recently built a TB2 from scratch, not 3d, more fibreglass and plastic, took me two years on and off and was looking for a TB1 to complement the 2 but didn't want to go through the same process again, I would possibly like to build yours, but have limited knowledge of 3d printing, and no printer as yet, and need to scale this up to around 17" long to be in scale with my TB2 as it is 36" long (see photo).
Can I ask how the wings fit into the body as its one piece, would they be moveable?, also I would not want any of the lettering as this would be applied after painting, I see you use David Sissons model as a reference, strangely I did too for my TB2.
I dont know if your interested, but I need someone to print this so that I can build the parts, paint and weather to match my TB2, is this something you can help with, obviously pay for time and materials, subject to you agreeing?
Regards Paul

The show had several studio models and deciding which parts of which to use was hard. The best close up views I found, and definitely one of the models that shows the landing gear the best, was the one from "Terror In New York City" and DavidS told me that he used this one a lot. However as Scott was shown looking out of a window, the nose was redesigned, and they even went for a plain "1" without the distinctive shape (that isn't on any font so has to be done by hand!) so they could cram everything in. I instead went for a nose more in line with other models, though even they moved the text alignment around often from shot to shot within a scene.

So, it's the best I could do from multiple sources (rejecting the oddballs for specific purposes) and I'm happy with it.

The wings fit using built-in pivots (bumps and gaps) which wiggle into place and do pivot.

Generating the parts without text is very easy, as is missing out detail like the black rings, as I already have variables for this. Some other parts that print separately are done not just to get the right colours but also because it's the best way to print them.

Printing larger is also easy as I just change the scale, but the main body would need to print in two parts on most printers. My model is 28cm long, and main body part is 15cm. So scaled up about 1.54 (1.5 would be nice!) the body is too large for my printer as it stands. I'd have to find a good spot to slice it, and it might even be better to slice vertically and lie it diagonally on the print bed. Hmmm.

If you're interested, then I can create a remix with the new parts. You'd need to think about which landing gear option, and generally look through the parts and understand how it goes together, but anything is possible. I can then also print for you, but finding someone local is always better.

Thanks for the reply Gadgetmind, that sounds great! I was thinking that splitting the body down its length would be the way to go, and yes I also thought that 1.5 x your size would be near to the 425mm/16-3/4" required, ideally with no lettering, panel lines, even the colours are not important on the small winglets so could be one piece as being painted, also I don't know if its possible, but the vented parts that you have attached to the large drum and nose cone, could they be separate as the attached photo? as for the landing gear, I was going to consider building this in aluminium tube for the more realistic finish, and the skids I'm hoping that the sewing machine feet are in scale, if not then the prints would have to do? here's my email and tel number mate, and maybe easier to talk this way and work something out? paulharrison990@gmail.com 07939 529501
Best Paul

What are the pictures of? Some different TB1 kit?

I can slice bits any which way but it all takes time. I'll play around over the next few days.

Yes its a guy in Belgium that made a 3d print, which is what sent me of to thinking this was the way forward to getting the correct scale to the TB2 that I have, seeing yours was close to this and thought maybe it could be modified, hence the contact, email me your number and I'll give you a call, easier to talk, but if your not comfortable with this thats cool. Paul

Ah OK. I was wondering as I hunted far and wide for a printable TB1 that was in separate parts to avoid painting, come up with nothing, and that's why I designed my own.

I'll email you shortly.

Hey Gadget do you think you could release the files for the mini print? The full size one is absolutely amazing but I don't have the time to print all the parts at the moment. Also maybe try making the base of the exhaust smoother without all the little bumps, that might make it look a bit more like smoke.

I can pop out STLs at any size as it's just changing one option in the make file, however, I switched to full size as things were getting very fiddly on the smaller size and you'll notice there is no text on the body. Quite how it would print and assemble, I really don't know, but if you're happy to try it ...

Hmmm, I could maybe have text as all equal depth (currently it varies as it all prints flat on the bed) and text could be painted in afterwards?

As for the smoke, it's all generated algorithmically, and is a bit of a hack TBH. I'm not sure this approach can generate anything better, and took some kicking to look as good as it does, but if someone has better ideas then I'm all ears.

The stand is nothing short of total genius!

I must confess that I stole the idea from here.


I am however pleased that I managed to pull off some primitive particle physics using heavy recursion in a language designed for constructive solid geometry! (Takes a while to render, mind you!)

Wow. You like rockets much, right? ;)

I've been on the engineering path since very young, and it's an occupation that's treated me very well, so I'm going back to thank all of the things that inspired me. Expect a lot more Thunderbirds before a new obsession kicks in. :-)

:D Yeah.
This reminds me to print the carrier, a walrus and some mantas :)

Wow, praise indeed coming from such a prolific and talented designer!