Cassini Space Probe (w removable Huygens)

by ottaross, published

Cassini Space Probe (w removable Huygens) by ottaross Sep 6, 2017


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Starting from a small Cassini model by ddThingz, I've enlarged and greatly elaborated on the design for this fun remix. Many changes made - adding more instruments, and details, and another set of antennae (you use paperclips or solid wires for those). I've worked extensively on the meshes to improve printability.

A version5 revisit has added a nice stylish boomerang-shaped stand, and altered the body of the spacecraft to take the stand's pin to display the model at a flattering angle.

The larger size (still fits in the palm of your hand) helped a lot. As did adding many fillets and chamfers broadly. Also the beefing up various smaller features that otherwise came off easily (eg main thrusters).

The peg-based assembly is working well for me. I know dimensions vary a bit from printer to printer, but with mine the pegs allow for a nice snug fit. The peg holes can probably also take a small magnet to make a great fridge enhancement!

A final assembly with a hot-glue gun might be a good approach. A bit of gold paint might be a good plan. :)

Thx again to Dave for the starting point on this.

As I shared this project, Cassini still existed. A few days later it tasted the outer substance of Saturn and was gone forever. Enjoy your own model to remember a great project.

UPDATE version 5a adds a display stand! You can assemble the stand with a bit of hot-glue. There's also a screw-hole as another way to hold the base together – untested, let me know if you try that, and if it worked :)

(V4 version without stand-pin hole remains available for now for those who may wish to use that version instead).

For those that would like a fabricated version to assemble without having to 3D print it yourself, see my Shapeways Shop: RossGK Tangibles.

Check Out Some of my Other Space Probes

Print Settings


MP Select Mini










I've worked to make the model printable without supports, just because they don't always work so well with my MPselect mini, on small models. Try it on your device perhaps.
As well, you want to ensure good planar bed adhesion, as any warping will make assembly leave some spaces at parting-line.

My low-end printer doesn't do retraction well, so I print without, meaning there are lots of hairy bits for me to clean up. If you can print well with retraction it should come out nice and clean.

Haven't tried it with a raft - seemed ok with a brim only. Let me know if you get better results with a different setup.

See below for some pointers on assembling, if you want the two halves as a whole unit (instead of as fridge magnets or something).


Clean-up & fit antennas

As mentioned above, you can use the pegs to assemble the two halves together, or you can stick a magnet in the peg holes and make a nice fridge magnet out of each of them (maybe print two main mast antennas - one for each). The pegs worked well for me as a snap-together model. For some that will be all you need. Others might want to glue it together permanently.

As there is a lot of detail, you might need some time with an exacto knife and tweezers to clean up tendrils and bits. Auto-generated supports will make that even tougher, probably. I've printed without supports, but you might play with manually generated ones. Or at least 'just-to-build-plate' ones at most. I was happy without.

If you do opt for a permanent assembly with some hot-glue, instead of just snapping together with the pegs, you can compensate for any gaps with a bit of squeeze-out. But a good alternative to hot-glue is to use an old soldering-iron tip and melt the edges together with a 'scribbling' motion along the parting-line. Careful not to linger in one spot too long, as bits turn to wet-pasta texture pretty fast.

Finally you can stick straightened paper-clip pieces in for the 3-axis antenna bits. You may need to clean the holes with a tiny drill bit. Or you could probably heat the paperclip tip (use pliers to avoid burns) and push the hot metal into the holes. Trim to an appropriate size based on your favourite pics.

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Need a Cassini for your desk, office or classroom but don't have the equipment, interest or experience to print it yourself? I've added this model to my Shapeways shop, so you can buy it there.

The material is a white nylon currently. The Shapeways guys offer a range of other materials, at various costs. If you desire a solid gold or other version, feel free to let me know and I'll spin a variant of it in the shop.

Just search for Cassini at Shapeways to find my Shop or use this URL:

I am in need of a Cassini space craft. I do not have a 3D printer and would like to purchase this already complete. Can anyone help me on how to purchase this ?
Joe Lacks
[email protected]

I'd been meaning to load this model onto my Shapeways store. I'll add a link here if it sets up okay, then you can easily buy it complete from them. The bonus is that their fabrication technique is quite good in Nylon.

Awesome model! Have you designed a stand or base for it? A base with the dates the probe was active and with a small model of Saturn would be spectacular!

A good idea. :) It stands pretty well as shown, but yes a nice display stand would be a good addition.
Perhaps I'll add that at some point as time allows - or maybe someone will do a remix with that addition before I can find the time - also a good outcome.