Star Wars X-Wing Technical Presentation

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  • From Screen to Solid:A fans journey recreating the

    X-Wing starfighter from Star Wars

    Danny Lee

    mechanical engineer

    3D printing enthusiast

  • Agenda

    About Me


    3D Modeling

    - Proof of Concept

    - Development

    - Positional Representations and Final Renderings

    3D Printing

    - Attempt 1

    - Attempt 2

    Lessons Learned

    Final Remarks and Q&A

  • About Me

    B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Connecticut

    M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

    3.5 years of aerospace manufacturing experience @ Pratt and Whitney

    2 years of product development experience in power distribution @ GE

    Spent last 4 months of 2015 teaching myself SOLIDWORKS and Autodesk Inventor to transition into a mechanical design role

    Currently mentoring students in entrepreneurship @ Charlestown High School through BUILD Boston

    Interests: CrossFit, yoga, film, art, 3D printing

  • Technical Showcase - Objectives

    Validate my competency in Autodesk Inventor as a new user

    Highlight challenges related to 3D printing complex geometry and removal of support material

    Fulfill my destiny as a Star Wars fan by designing and making my very own X-Wing starfighter replica

  • Incom T-65 X-Wing starfighter

    Fictional single-pilot assault spacecraft Named for the unique X shape of its wings Iconic status in the Star Wars universe Appropriately complex to be suitable as a 3D modeling

    exercise for a three-week time frame Officially cited as 12.5 meters in length

  • Reference Photographs

  • Proof of Concept

    Establish correct proportions and look Determine key dimensions (length,

    diameter, draft, angle, etc)

  • Total of 19 Key Dimensions

  • Forward Fuselage

    Extrusions (Join, Cut) Work Planes (Orthogonal, Angled) Mirror (Features, Solids) Multi-Body Solids Sweeps (Cut) Split Face Loft (Join)

  • Wing, Basic

    Extrusions (Join, Cut) Work Planes (Orthogonal, Angled) Revolve (Join) Direct Edit (Size) Circular Pattern Fillet Loft (Join)

  • X-Wing, Version 1

  • Wing, Advanced

    Extrusions (Join, Cut) Work Planes (Orthogonal) Revolve (Join) Direct Edit (Size) Circular Pattern Loft (Join) Direct Edit (Draft) Multi-Body Solid, Combine Split (Body, Face) Fillet

  • Rear Fuselage

    Extrusions (Join, Cut) Mirror Features Work Planes (Orthogonal) Rib Loft (Join) Chamfer Fillet Circular Pattern

  • X-Wing, Version 2

    Assembly Constraints (Insert, Angle, Mate, Flush) Positional Representation (Attack)

  • X-Wing, Version 2 (contd)

    Assembly Constraints (Insert, Angle, Mate, Flush) Positional Representation (Cruise)

  • Fuselage-Wing Interference

  • Forward Fuselage Update

  • Rear Fuselage Update

  • Wing Update

  • Version 1 vs. Version 2

  • Joints > Constraints

    Top Port

    Top Starboard

    Bottom Starboard

    Bottom Port

  • Cargo Bay

    Assembly Joints (Rotational, Cylindrical) 2x two-piece hydraulic pistons 1x door

  • Cargo Bay Interference

    Open Closed

  • Cargo Bay Update

    Open Closed

  • Front Landing Gear


    Assembly Joints w/ Limits (Rotational, Cylindrical) Assembly Constraint (Mate) 2x two-piece landing strut 2x half-doors

  • Rear Landing Gear



    Assembly Joints w/ Limits (Rotational, Cylindrical) Assembly Constraint (Mate) 2x two-piece landing strut 2x half-doors

  • Cockpit and Canopy

    Cockpit: Project Geometry, Work Planes (Orthogonal), Extrusions (Join), Loft (Join), Direct Edit (Move)

    Canopy: Shell, Assembly Joint (Rotational)

    Open Closed

  • Cockpit Update: Loft > Project Geometry + Extrude





  • Canopy Update




  • Cockpit and Canopy Updated

    Open Closed

  • Positional Representation (Attack)

  • Positional Representation (Cruise)

  • Positional Representation (Land)

  • Ray Tracing (10 min render time)

  • Lighting Effects (Country Road)

  • Country Road (contd)

  • Country Road (contd)

  • Robo3D R1+Plus

    Robo3D is a San Diego-based startup that makes desktop 3D printers

    Purchased R1+Plus printer in August 2015

    Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printer

    Cartesian coordinate system

    100 micron (0.1mm) resolution

    10 x 9 x 8 print volume

    Accepts 1.75mm filament (PLA, ABS, Nylon)

    MatterControl 1.4 is my printing software (open source)

  • Print Attempt 1

    1.75mm PLA filament

    210C extruder temp, 50C printing bed temp

    6% of original size (1/16th scale)

    0.3mm layer height, 0.2% fill density

    1 piece, 4 hours cumulative printing time

  • Print Attempt 1 (contd)

    1. Laser Cannons broke off too easily

    2. Cargo Bay Doors and Landing Gear Doors did not print (features are too small)

    3. Engine features did not print properly

    4. Support material difficult to remove

    1 2



  • Proposed Solution

    Simplify geometry

    Reinforce thin walls and cavities

    Increase scale from 6% to 9%

    Increase print resolution from 0.3mm to 0.2mm

    Print as two pieces, glue together later

  • Model Simplification

  • Print Attempt 2

    1.75mm PLA filament

    210C extruder temp, 50C printing bed temp

    9% of original size (1/11th scale)

    0.2mm layer height, 0.25% fill density

    2 pieces, 14 hours cumulative printing time

  • #epicfail

  • Fuselage Assembly

  • Fuselage Assembly (contd)

  • Finalized Replica

  • Lessons Learned 3D Modeling

    1. Planning is important: proof-of-concept model was instrumental to success. Should experiment with layout sketches, top-down design, equations and adaptive modeling next.

    2. Part files should be stable: a good part model does not collapse due to frequent dimension changes. Still learning how to do this well.

    3. Assembled parts should not interfere: check for interference often, especially for all states of moving parts

    4. Geometry does not project correctly from an angled plane: in separating the canopy from the fuselage, a loft is a lossless cut. An extruded cut loses fidelity. Would like to learn how to split a solid with a 3D sketch.

    Future tasks: bill-of-material, engineering drawings, animation

  • Lessons Learned 3D Printing

    1. Test prints save time and money: if unsure how a complex model will print, use low quality settings and a small size ratio. This will produce the worst case conditions, to which you can compensate for later.

    2. Reinforce delicate geometry and remove non-functional voids: engine walls and laser cannons were too thin, cargo/landing gear bays need to be filled

    3. Print delicate features separately and with a higher fill density: laser cannons were a prime example of this. Next time try 1% fill density?

    4. PLA should be printed at 200C to minimize stringiness: read about this in a 3D printing blog. Will try next time.

    5. Super-glue, epoxy, electrical tape and zip ties are your best friends: (obviously)

  • Lessons Learned MethodologyWhat insights did I gain about how I think/work/learn?

    1. Carefully define project scope: Dont bite off more than you can chew, but dont sandbag either.

    2. Plan for chaos: I penciled in about 20% of buffer time into my three-week schedule for unanticipated setbacks (e.g. getting sick, breaking my 3D print)

    3. Assess feasibility before committing resources: In both the model and the 3D print, I did a trial run as validation before devoting time, energy, money, etc

    4. Fix high priority problems as they come up: The issues I presented happened organically. Their resolution was critical to working on subsequent tasks.

    5. Be methodical, rigorous and disciplined: A systematic, detailed approach is often the best way to do things (assuming time is not a pressing constraint). Consistent performance is key to success.