Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird

by oranhunter Jun 13, 2017
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Hey, was just trying to print this 1:1 but the printer keeps stopping halfway and mentions something about changing the filament. Is there any way to fix this so I can print it properly? Thanks.

Sounds like a slicer setting. A model cant make a message like that.

Thanks for all the info on this. I noticed that the cones in the front of the engines are not centered. I watched the modeling video and think I noticed the point it was pushed over (16:30). are they supposed to be off centered? I've sliced it to fit my Ender3. Final length should be about 900mm (200%)

Yeah, the shock cones are angled in just slightly on the real jet.

Please fillet the piece on the base that fits in the mid section of the plane. After taking the time to print the base I was disappointing that I needed to print a new one. Glue could not fix the issue. Everything else came out great!

Request: If you have some leftover time you maybe could also add the SR-71B (two pilots) cockpit. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_SR-71_Blackbird


This is amazing. Watched your videos and just mesmerised by your skills :) I don’t suppose you ever considered modelling the Alien APC? It would be incredible to see what you produce for 3D printing.

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Hi, first of all very good job. Could you also create a splitted version of the nose. For 100% Scale or more I have to split it for a standard I3 platform.

It now has a "sliced nose part 1 & 2" version. Print another joining key as you do for joining the original nose to mid section. The flattened cylinder shape. Cheers!

What's your z height limitation?

180 mm .. I think this 200x200x180 build space is very popular. Anyway I can cut it on my own. It's just a proposal :-) Looking forward to print the SR-71, probably a little bit bigger :-) Thank you very much for the nice model. Greetings from Austria

Yeah, I'll give it a cut. I'm sure others want to be able to print this as well. I know it won't scale very well, as the wings become too thin if made much smaller.

I'll give it a make :-)

Printed at 150% scale with no issues whatsoever. Used carbon fiber pla and got an amazing matte black finish off of it. Adding this to the collection for sure!!! Great work!

That's awesome! Share the make if you would! I'd love to see the matte finish.

which program did you use to make it?

I'm going to try and print this tomorrow... waiting on some black filament to come in. I have a MP Select Mini printer, so I'm able to work in a volume of 120mm x 120mm x 120mm. Had to adjust the scale for all pieces for them to fit inside the printing space, so it might be pretty small, but I'm excited nonetheless. We'll see how it goes.

Lockheed Martin makes some cool stuff. It amazes me that Lockheed was able to construct something so beautiful and technologically-advanced back in the '60s. Nice job on designing these, oranhunter. Cheers!

I wish you luck! Some people have had issues scaling things down to certain sizes in terms of the wing thickness. Let me know how it turns out!

I'm able to scale it down to 0.55. I'll have to let you know. Even if it doesn't work, I'll have fun messing with it! hahahhaa.

I'm currently printing this amazing plane at 90% on a Lulzbot Mini - full size just wouldn't quite fit even turning it 45 degrees. Great project, great files and thanks so much for providing this. Our school just got this as our first 3D printer and we couldn't be more happy. Going to have a design contest for students and staff for items to sell in our student-run store for school mascot stuff/clothing/etc.

I live about an hour from the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, KS and they have an SR-71 hanging in the main lobby and it is overwhelming when you walk in the front door! Still the coolest airplane ever made!

Thanks again!

That's awesome! I love hearing stories like this. It's definitely my favorite as well! Share the make when it's done!

I'm trying to print at 40% scale, but every time I run the tail section there is a point about 1cm up where it almost seems like the gcode stops extruding. I either end up with nothing printed above this point or a gap where the part fails because all the layers afterwords are floating. I've tried rotating the part, running with and without supports, and changing my layer height but it always fails. I'm running a prusa i3 mk2s, using prusa's slicer. Any ideas?

Same issue - at about 1cm with tail section. I'm new to printing. CR-10, Cura sliced, Nose and Mid sections printed fine (with plate adhesion), looks great! Changing layer from 0.2 to .15 and removing plate adhesion ... will see if that works with the tail.

I'm having the same issue with a Monoprice Select Mini sliced with Cura.

Also how do you recommend printing all the parts, like the orientation, is there a video?

I can make a video on my youtube channel, but basically the way you download them. If you print them with a 6-10line brim they should stay adhered to the printbed.

how do you print with no supports? my original prusa i3 mk2 isnt tall enough to print the nose upright?

Ah, I have a delta printer with a 400mm height. You could slice the nose section in half and print it in to sections.

is it possible to print it on its side or are the curves too steep

It's possible, but a shape like this will end up with crazy topographic lines. It will print for sure, but like I said, crazy lines that will require lots of sanding.

oh okay i see, would i need to also create a joint between the two parts like from the nose to the back or would just slicing them in half and superglue later work better

If you can figure out how, adding a joining cube is easiest. If not super glue works just fine.

Do you think it would be possible to print the whole model as one part?

How large is your printer? At 15 inches nose-to-tail its about 1-2mm at the thinnest parts of the wings. So if you have to scale down the whole object to fit a smaller print volume, the wings and verts would likely fall apart during the print.

I have a self built delta printer. Homed height is around 470mm, cylindric volume is d230 and h410... Will see if it would make sense and if i find the time.

Are rafts needed for specific parts of it?

negative on that one

1:77.59 is the scale. Its not a standard 1:64 scale model size or anything because every 3d printer is different, so most people end up scaling the pieces to fit their print volume.

Thanks! I'll probably shrink it to 1:144 scale (54% of default size).

the mid section wants to print in the air no matter what I do

That's very strange! I actually just pulled the mid section off the printer this morning myself. What printer/slicer do you have/use?

i cant find right setting for supports when printing base messed up twice already if anyone can help it would be appreciated. part that messes up is the rod that goes up and hold plane the overhang messes up the print

You shouldn't need supports for the stand.
If the overhangs are giving you trouble, you might want to check your cooling speed and print temperature settings. If your fan is blowing from one side only, it may help to rotate the model so the overhang faces the fan directly face-on.

Printing now at full scale on my CR-10. Everything is looking great so far. Just wanted to say thanks for the model!

Hey, thanks for the feedback! Hope it goes according to plan!

I'll post some pictures if I remember! :D

lol you have posted your model 2 or 3 days before mine and it is realy much better than mine: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2396518
(I don't take time for details)
We have got the same idea the same week I think. Maybe we have see the same TV show or I don't know.
Congrats. Realy good job.

SR71 A Blackbird

Haha, thanks, you too! I actually drive past a static display of this aircraft on a regular basis, and I just finally got to a place where I felt I could model it. Keep it up man!

Are you in Atwater by chance?

Nah, southern california.

Are you in Palmdale? I used to work at the NASA Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility and they had one of these on the main road there.

Yeah, there's an SR-71 and an A-12 static on display at plant 42.

How big is it? (cm) and how much filament will it take? Thanks.

My print is almost 44 cm long and weighs in at 256 grams.

Just printed this for my desk, incredibly detailed!.This is my favorite airplane and you brought it to life just as it is in real life, you are a very skilled designer.
Would love to see and F-22 raptor ;)

Thanks for the kind words. Wish granted, here's the F-22: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2417829 If you like the level of detail on my models, consider becoming a patron: https://www.patreon.com/oranhunter I'm going to be transitioning to patreon as my primary site for sharing my detailed models with my patrons. I will continue to upload my models here, but they will be the 1 hour models versus the 5-6 hour models that will be uploaded over there!

Thanks for supporting me Efren12!

F-22 Raptor

at 50% the stand didn't work very well but other than that it's a fantastic print. thanks for sharing

Glad you enjoyed it!

Excellent design! My friend made this on his first try https://tinkercad.com/things/aijDAXVnDd5 , I might see if I can put it on.

This is awesome. Good job.

Thanks so much!

I only have 1 problem with the model the cones on the air intake appear to be angled down. now correct me if I am wrong but don't they spin with the jet turbines? kinda hard to do when the axis of rotation is not the axis of symmetry. this is just me being nitpicky so please don't take this as me saying it is a bad model, it is a great model. just some constructive criticism. and do you think you could make an SR-72 model?

Never mind looking at some pictures they do point down a little

Haha, I'm glad you found the answer. The answer is they don't spin. They would extend out or retract based on airspeed. Their sole purpose was to make sure that the airflow through the engine wouldn't 'blow out' the combustion when breaking the sound barrier(which creates shock waves that need to be controlled at higher mach speeds).

so what are your thoughts on working on a SR-72 model?

I hadn't heard of it! On the list of things to model it goes!

The engines on the habu were a marvel all of its own. Check the all-knowing landfill (aka Wikipedia) for details: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratt_%26_Whitney_J58

Once my printer is fully upgraded and dialed in, this is going on my desk at Lockheed Martin. Awesome work.

Thanks so much! I have a few LM jets now, let me know if there's a specific one you'd like to sit beside it.

Ooh man, I gotta try this on my Tarantula!

I'm going to try printing this in a couple days, but I'll have to scale it down to 90% or so since the nose piece is about 12mm too tall for my printer.

Awesome, let me know how it turns out!

Printed the pegs tonight, since it's late and they'd only take an hour to print at my 0.8 scale (too small of a print area, unfortunately), printing the model for my dad, hopefully by Father's Day. He loves aircraft and stuff. I'll try to take pictures once it's finished and post them for you.

Awesome, I look forward to it. I'll do my best to rectify any issues you might come across asap.

I did have an idea, the base is printing right now and I thought to myself that it might be cool to have some inset text on one of the base's facets that says "SR-71A Blackbird" or just "Blackbird" or something similar. Just a thought.

I threw one up there labeled Lockheed stand blackbird.stl. Let me know if that's what you meant.

Yes, that's awesome! Now people will have more choice, for example if it's a display somewhere rather than just a desk knick knack, yknow? I appreciate you making it though.

Absolutely. Thanks for the input! Hope your dad likes it!

There were a lot of things we couldn’t do in an SR-71, but we were the fastest guys on the block and loved reminding our fellow aviators of this fact. People often asked us if, because of this fact, it was fun to fly the jet. Fun would not be the first word I would use to describe flying this plane. Intense, maybe. Even cerebral. But there was one day in our Sled experience when we would have to say that it was pure fun to be the fastest guys out there, at least for a moment. It occurred when Walt and I were flying our final training sortie. We needed 100 hours in the jet to complete our training and attain Mission Ready status. Somewhere over Colorado we had passed the century mark. We had made the turn in Arizona and the jet was performing flawlessly. My gauges were wired in the front seat and we were starting to feel pretty good about ourselves, not only because we would soon be flying real missions but because we had gained a great deal of confidence in the plane in the past ten months. Ripping across the barren deserts 80,000 feet below us, I could already see the coast of California from the Arizona border. I was, finally, after many humbling months of simulators and study, ahead of the jet. I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for Walter in the back seat. There he was, with no really good view of the incredible sights before us, tasked with monitoring four different radios. This was good practice for him for when we began flying real missions, when a priority transmission from headquarters could be vital. It had been difficult, too, for me to relinquish control of the radios, as during my entire flying career I had controlled my own transmissions. But it was part of the division of duties in this plane and I had adjusted to it. I still insisted on talking on the radio while we were on the ground, however. Walt was so good at many things, but he couldn’t match my expertise at sounding smooth on the radios, a skill that had been honed sharply with years in fighter squadrons where the slightest radio miscue was grounds for beheading. He understood that and allowed me that luxury. Just to get a sense of what Walt had to contend with, I pulled the radio toggle switches and monitored the frequencies along with him. The predominant radio chatter was from Los Angeles Center, far below us, controlling daily traffic in their sector. While they had us on their scope (albeit briefly), we were in uncontrolled airspace and normally would not talk to them unless we needed to descend into their airspace. We listened as the shaky voice of a lone Cessna pilot asked Center for a readout of his ground speed. Center replied: “November Charlie 175, I’m showing you at ninety knots on the ground.” Now the thing to understand about Center controllers, was that whether they were talking to a rookie pilot in a Cessna, or to Air Force One, they always spoke in the exact same, calm, deep, professional, tone that made one feel important. I referred to it as the ” Houston Center voice.” I have always felt that after years of seeing documentaries on this country’s space program and listening to the calm and distinct voice of the Houston controllers, that all other controllers since then wanted to sound like that, and that they basically did. And it didn’t matter what sector of the country we would be flying in, it always seemed like the same guy was talking. Over the years that tone of voice had become somewhat of a comforting sound to pilots everywhere. Conversely, over the years, pilots always wanted to ensure that, when transmitting, they sounded like Chuck Yeager, or at least like John Wayne. Better to die than sound bad on the radios. Just moments after the Cessna’s inquiry, a Twin Beech piped up on frequency, in a rather superior tone, asking for his ground speed. “I have you at one hundred and twenty-five knots of ground speed.” Boy, I thought, the Beechcraft really must think he is dazzling his Cessna brethren. Then out of the blue, a navy F-18 pilot out of NAS Lemoore came up on frequency. You knew right away it was a Navy jock because he sounded very cool on the radios. “Center, Dusty 52 ground speed check”. Before Center could reply, I’m thinking to myself, hey, Dusty 52 has a ground speed indicator in that million-dollar cockpit, so why is he asking Center for a readout? Then I got it, ol’ Dusty here is making sure that every bug smasher from Mount Whitney to the Mojave knows what true speed is. He’s the fastest dude in the valley today, and he just wants everyone to know how much fun he is having in his new Hornet. And the reply, always with that same, calm, voice, with more distinct alliteration than emotion: “Dusty 52, Center, we have you at 620 on the ground.” And I thought to myself, is this a ripe situation, or what? As my hand instinctively reached for the mic button, I had to remind myself that Walt was in control of the radios. Still, I thought, it must be done – in mere seconds we’ll be out of the sector and the opportunity will be lost. That Hornet must die, and die now. I thought about all of our Sim training and how important it was that we developed well as a crew and knew that to jump in on the radios now would destroy the integrity of all that we had worked toward becoming. I was torn. Somewhere, 13 miles above Arizona, there was a pilot screaming inside his space helmet. Then, I heard it. The click of the mic button from the back seat. That was the very moment that I knew Walter and I had become a crew. Very professionally, and with no emotion, Walter spoke: “Los Angeles Center, Aspen 20, can you give us a ground speed check?” There was no hesitation, and the replay came as if was an everyday request. “Aspen 20, I show you at one thousand eight hundred and forty-two knots, across the ground.” I think it was the forty-two knots that I liked the best, so accurate and proud was Center to deliver that information without hesitation, and you just knew he was smiling. But the precise point at which I knew that Walt and I were going to be really good friends for a long time was when he keyed the mic once again to say, in his most fighter-pilot-like voice: “Ah, Center, much thanks, we’re showing closer to nineteen hundred on the money.” For a moment Walter was a god. And we finally heard a little crack in the armor of the Houston Center voice, when L.A.came back with, “Roger that Aspen, Your equipment is probably more accurate than ours. You boys have a good one.” It all had lasted for just moments, but in that short, memorable sprint across the southwest, the Navy had been flamed, all mortal airplanes on freq were forced to bow before the King of Speed, and more importantly, Walter and I had crossed the threshold of being a crew. A fine day’s work. We never heard another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast.

Blackbird pilots were a rare breed.

As a former SR-71 pilot, and a professional keynote speaker, the question I’m most often asked is ‘How fast would that SR-71 fly?’ I can be assured of hearing that question several times at any event I attend. It’s an interesting question, given the aircraft’s proclivity for speed, but there really isn’t one number to give, as the jet would always give you a little more speed if you wanted it to. It was common to see 35 miles a minute.

Because we flew a programmed Mach number on most missions, and never wanted to harm the plane in any way, we never let it run out to any limits of temperature or speed.. Thus, each SR-71 pilot had his own individual ‘high’ speed that he saw at some point on some mission. I saw mine over Libya when Khadafy fired two missiles my way, and max power was in order. Let’s just say that the plane truly loved speed and effortlessly took us to Mach numbers we hadn’t previously seen.

So it was with great surprise, when at the end of one of my presentations, someone asked, ‘What was the slowest you ever flew the Blackbird?’ This was a first. After giving it some thought, I was reminded of a story that I had never shared before, and I relayed the following.

I was flying the SR-71 out of RAF Mildenhall, England, with my back-seater, Walt Watson; we were returning from a mission over Europe and the Iron Curtain when we received a radio transmission from home base. As we scooted across Denmark in three minutes, we learned that a small RAF base in the English countryside had requested an SR-71 fly-past. The air cadet commander there was a former Blackbird pilot, and thought it would be a motivating moment for the young lads to see the mighty SR-71 perform a low approach. No problem, we were happy to do it. After a quick aerial refuelling over the North Sea, we proceeded to find the small airfield.

Walter had a myriad of sophisticated navigation equipment in the back seat, and began to vector me toward the field. Descending to subsonic speeds, we found ourselves over a densely wooded area in a slight haze. Like most former WWII British airfields, the one we were looking for had a small tower and little surrounding infrastructure. Walter told me we were close and that I should be able to see the field, but I saw nothing. Nothing but trees as far as I could see in the haze. We got a little lower, and I pulled the throttles back from 325 knots we were at. With the gear up, anything under 275 was just uncomfortable. Walt said we were practically over the field-yet; there was nothing in my windscreen. I banked the jet and started a gentle circling maneuver in hopes of picking up anything that looked like a field. Meanwhile, below, the cadet commander had taken the cadets up on the catwalk of the tower in order to get a prime view of the fly-past. It was a quiet, still day with no wind and partial gray overcast. Walter continued to give me indications that the field should be below us but in the overcast and haze, I couldn’t see it. The longer we continued to peer out the window and circle, the slower we got. With our power back, the awaiting cadets heard nothing. I must have had good instructors in my flying career, as something told me I better cross-check the gauges. As I noticed the airspeed indicator slide below 160 knots, my heart stopped and my adrenalin-filled left hand pushed two throttles full forward. At this point we weren’t really flying, but were falling in a slight bank. Just at the moment that both afterburners lit with a thunderous roar of flame (and what a joyous feeling that was) the aircraft fell into full view of the shocked observers on the tower. Shattering the still quiet of that morning, they now had 107 feet of fire-breathing titanium in their face as the plane levelled and accelerated, in full burner, on the tower side of the infield, closer than expected, maintaining what could only be described as some sort of ultimate knife-edge pass.

Quickly reaching the field boundary, we proceeded back to Mildenhall without incident. We didn’t say a word for those next 14 minutes. After landing, our commander greeted us, and we were both certain he was reaching for our wings. Instead, he heartily shook our hands and said the commander had told him it was the greatest SR-71 fly-past he had ever seen, especially how we had surprised them with such a precise maneuver that could only be described as breathtaking. He said that some of the cadet’s hats were blown off and the sight of the plan form of the plane in full afterburner dropping right in front of them was unbelievable. Walt and I both understood the concept of ‘breathtaking’ very well that morning and sheepishly replied that they were just excited to see our low approach.

As we retired to the equipment room to change from space suits to flight suits, we just sat there-we hadn’t spoken a word since ‘the pass.’ Finally, Walter looked at me and said, ‘One hundred fifty-six knots. What did you see?’ Trying to find my voice, I stammered, ‘One hundred fifty-two.’ We sat in silence for a moment. Then Walt said, ‘Don’t ever do that to me again!’ And I never did.

A year later, Walter and I were having lunch in the Mildenhall Officer’s club, and overheard an officer talking to some cadets about an SR-71 fly-past that he had seen one day. Of course, by now the story included kids falling off the tower and screaming as the heat of the jet singed their eyebrows. Noticing our HABU patches, as we stood there with lunch trays in our hands, he asked us to verify to the cadets that such a thing had occurred. Walt just shook his head and said, ‘It was probably just a routine low approach; they’re pretty impressive in that plane.’

Impressive indeed.

Great! Being printed with Geeetech Prusa I3 Pro B (smaller at 80%)

looks amazing! i will try it with CF pla

I've always been a fan of the Blackbird, so when I saw your plans, it became a top priority. For someone who doesn't have a printer to test out the model, you hit the target dead on. I have printed the whole model except the nose portion and it has performed beautifully. I am using a new Robo R2 which can handle the model at 100% and using PLA CF filament. When it is fully completed, I'll upload a photo. The surface has a wonderful semi-matte sheen to it and the rafts have just peeled off without any issues. Great design job! Thank you.

Thanks! I just got a rostock v3 max finally, but I'm working on getting it working at the moment. I do have some experience making 3d printable models for a friend. I'm glad it turned out well for you!