As a child I recall sitting at our kitchen table and spending literally hours on end putting together models of my favorite cars, boats, and military vehicles. Not only was the activity something to keep me out of both trouble and my parents’ hair, but it also served to educate me in an entertaining manner. Many of the models I would build came with a story detailing how that model fit into history. War planes were my favorite, followed by battleships, all of which I still know a great deal about.
These models, most which consisted of under 50 pieces, seemed like a huge undertaking to me as a 12-year-old child, but in actuality they pale in comparison to some of the projects we have covered recently on 3DPrint.com. You see, with 3D printing, model making has taken quite an interesting turn. Because all printers work with a limited build envelope, many designers are required to break their models up into sections in order to print them out. Once printed, these separate pieces require assembly in a similar fashion to those models I would build as a child. While this may be a pain in the neck to some, many individuals enjoy the assembly the most, and those with a 3D printer can fabricate thousands of different models which can be downloaded for free online, many of which consist of hundreds, instead of tens, of parts.
This enables nearly an unlimited build size, and model making projects which can extend over days or even weeks. One such project was just unveiled by MakerBot. It was printed and constructed by an unnamed model maker, and is a 1:100 scale representation of the Russian ship ‘Aurora’.
For those who aren’t history buffs, Aurora was a Pallada-class cruiser which was built in St. Petersburg, Russia for service during the Russo-Japanese War in 1900. The ship also went on to serve in both World Wars, and in World War I fired a blank shot from its forecastle gun signalling the start of the assault of White Palace (the beginning of the October Revolution). The ship, to this day, now acting as a museum in Saint Petersburg, is a symbol of the Russian October Socialist Revolution.
Aurora weighs a staggering 6,731 tons and measures 416 feet in length. If those numbers are an eye opener to you, then the stats on the incredible model of this ship, which was 3D printed on a MakerBot Replicator 2 and carefully assembled, certainly will be surprising as well.
The model (pictured above) was designed and 3D printed in 506 different pieces, using an old construction plan and photos from the actual ship. When assembled, it measured an incredible 132cm (4.33 feet) in length, with intricate details that would have been nearly impossible to realize using any other method of assembly.
The most surprising statistic of all, however, may be the fact that all 506 pieces were printed in just 34 hours.
“The free MakerBot Desktop Software virtually displays the build chamber, is structured comprehensively and you know how to handle it after a short time,” stated the designer. “Everything is easy-to-use and you quickly find your way. The required investment is small and the results are excellent. Desktop 3D printing will surely gain acceptance as a feasible alternative to traditional modeling as even modeling rookies can achieve outstanding results.”
By printing multiple parts on the same build platform, incredibly rapid fabrication was made possible. One of the biggest complaints we hear from newcomers to 3D printing is the lack of speed inherent within many print processes. This project goes to show that the fabrication of large objects is in fact possible if the designer is able to plan ahead and fit as many components of a model onto the build platform during each respective print.
Let us know your thoughts on this incredible model. Discuss in the 3D Printed Russian Cruiser forum thread on 3DPB.com.