Chandra X-Ray Observatory

by mostlydecaf, published

Chandra X-Ray Observatory by mostlydecaf Jan 12, 2015
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4439Views 1037Downloads Found in Physics & Astronomy


The Chandra X-ray telescope was launched by NASA in 1999. Now with 3D printing you can have your very own tiny little Chandra to add to your collection of orbiting observatories!

To learn more about Chandra, check out



Printed at 0.1mm layer height, 8% infill, 2 perimeters. Take a piece of 3mm filament (or dowel) about 6mm long and glue into the centering holes. Align the parts like in the photos.

The version that looks more photorealistic was made by doing a little prep work before gluing together with CA. Loosely ball up a piece of Al foil and smooth it back out again. Secure it around the cylinder with some glue joining the seam with a little CA. Trim off the excess and smooth it down. I started with silver PLA but sprayed the base with silver metallic spray paint. The gold trim on the base is a "Ready Gold Leaf" product from the craft store (sprayed with "matte finish" after finished applying to keep it stuck on). In the small top piece there are a few small supports that can optionally be removed. I used the silver spray paint on all parts before the foils and a silver leafing pen to do touch ups after the foils were applied and before gluing together. For the solar panels I used blue T-Glase but black works well also.

Update for the foiled version: Instead of Aluminum foil use the thin foil from the craft store that is often used like tissue in a gift bag. Ball it up and flatten out to make crinkles. Use good old rubber cement to attach it to the main body. Apply to back of foil and to the tube, let dry, then wrap as best you can. Trim off excess. After it looks okay and any loose foil is glued down with CA then attach the other parts to cylinder with a short piece of filament with a drop of CA (test fit first). I glue the hatch on last with CA. Then spray a light coating of Matte Finish over the gold trim to keep it stuck and prevent oxidation. Attach the solar panels last (glue not needed - plus if they break you can easily replace the panels if not glued).

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