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space shuttle stack accurate flight deck question

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Hi Tim,


Yes, I have tried cutting styrene sheet a little, and it worked quite well. I cut some 0.010 inch thickness styrene sheet with the fine point blade that comes with the device and it worked just fine - the results were clean and certainly better than what I could do by hand.  I bought the more robust knife blade but haven’t used it yet.  The product information states that you can cut thin balsa wood with the knife blade, so I believe that it should work as well with thicker styrene sheet.



You can customize the pressure that the machine exerts for a given substance and blade,, and while I haven’t tried fiddling with that setting so far, if you do put down some thicker styrene sheet, you might have to run some test cuts a few times to get the pressure setting where you want it.  You can use that adjustable setting to score and create panel lines instead of cutting all the way through the substance.


Something I didn’t appreciate until I had the device is how much time it saves me with cutting pain masks.  My airbrushing skills are not that advanced, but now when I goof up, I just sand down the paint layer I want to remove, cut another set of paint masks and try again.  This represents a huge improvement over my prior laborious hand-masking efforts.  Drawing the paint masks is pretty easy with a vector graphics drawing program, and instead of using relative expensive vinyl paint masking material, I just stick some 1 inch wide blue masking tape on the cutting mat and have the Cricut machine cut the masks out of that.  When you set up the cuts, it will allow you to position the pieces on the mat on screen first, so you will know how to position the material so that it is aligned correctly for the cut you are trying to do.


Let me know if I can help answer any further questions you might have on this.  I am very satisfied with this purchase.



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That's brilliant info, thanks. I do have one more question, do you reckon it would cut 0.005" aluminium.

if you dont mind me asking which vector graphics program do you use, i have been playing about with Inkscape a bit, purely because it was free.

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Hi Tim,


I am skeptical that the Cricut Maker would reliably cut metal any thicker than aluminum foil.  In addition to blunting the blade quickly, I think the bigger limiting factor will be due to the adhesion mechanism they use to stick material to the cutting mats.   The mats are coated with a sticky Post-It note type glue.  If you try to cut a material that is above a certain level of rigidity, I am guessing that the piece will detach from the mat under the shearing force imposed by the blade.


I end up using Illustrator mostly for the vector graphics design.  I have Affinity Designer on the iPad which I also use on occasion, and I imagine that the desktop/laptop version would also be more than adequate as well.  The Cricut software recognizes vector graphic images only in SVG format.



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Thanks for your input again, much appreciated. You have confirmed what i thought about cutting Aluminium sheet. I did think that it might cope with something in between foil and sheet, specifically the aluminium that food trays are made of. Maybe the other option would be a light scoring cut which would then give an accurate guide for actually cutting the pieces out by more traditional methods. 

At work i am fortunate enough to have access to a full Autocad package, so i have been able to convert a fair few PDF's into SVG files then clean them up, rescale them and import them into the Cricut Software, really just playing about before i made the plunge and bought one. The reason i was asking which software you used is that i am wrestling with justifying the cost of illustrator versus the use i would put it to. This is all related to a project i have on the go at the minute and not really Shuttle related.


Something that is Shuttle related, and in particular with this thread is about lovely 3D printed parts you have made. I was recently fortunate enough to lay my hands on some memorabilia from STS-27, namely a small section of tyre from the orbiter landing gear. So my next project will be Atlantis STS-27 on the pad. I have obtained the Monogram 1-72nd  kit. Would the parts that you have on shapeways be "consistent" with Atlantis at the time of STS-27 


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Hi Tim,


Thanks for the kind compliment about my shuttle parts.


The flight deck in my model is patterned to simulate the glass cockpit upgrade to Atlantis that occurred in 1998:




Thus, STS-27 took place 10 years before this upgrade occurred.  I suspect that you would be able to modify my decal sheet to make the screens up front look more like the older cockpit layout without too much effort, but if you want to backlight the displays, that might look a little funky since the cutouts to permit light to shine through won’t align with the simulated screens on the decals.


I based the flight deck model on the 3D model that is included with the Orbiter open source space shuttle simulator:




This might give you more information on how I patterned the interior details, and from what generation shuttle design they derived their 3D model.

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  • 3 months later...

My apologies for the long delay in updates.  I was working on another build and am currently in the process of moving so I had to pack up the model shop.  I anticipate that I won’t have a model shop again until October when my household effects get delivered to my new location.


In the meantime, Hotdog brought to my attention that cutting the fuselage kit halves to accommodate the beanie cap and RCS insert can be quite unforgiving to end up with the proper alignment with the payload bay doors, so I wanted to post the measurements that I came up with here.  These are based on Dutycat’s recommendations for his beanie cap modification.


First, measure and mark 2.5 mm from the payload bay door edge here:




Then, draw in the line on the fuselage more anteriorly that delimits the border between the black tiles and the insulating quilts.




Finally, extend that line aft to the 2.5 mm mark you made previously.




The RCS insert fits in the existing panel lines below.  I think that this piece will be more tolerant of pitch alignment adjustments with a little sanding of the cutout space edges.


I made a template for Hotdog to serve as a guide when aligned with the door on the port side, but I think the above instructions are more reproducible and accurate.  On the template for Hotdog, I used a 3 mm step as the alignment marker, but as he pointed out, he thinks he’s going to pitch his cut even further towards the horizontal, and when I compared sides on my build, the starboard side step was 2.5 mm and aligned better with the payload door edge than the port side with the 3 mm step.  So, I encourage others to dry fit first with the payload bay doors attached before you glue so you can make further adjustments.  This template linked here has been adjusted to utilize the 2.5 mm step.


https://www.dropbox.com/s/i2z75mev157besb/cut template 2.pdf?dl=0


Please be aware that the beanie cap will not fit the existing payload bay fore bulkhead wall that comes with the kit.  I don’t think the beanie cap will work with models where the modelers expect to be able to open and close the bay doors.  The replacement fore payload bay bulkhead part I made will collide with the door edges if the modeler tries to close them, although with some careful sanding of the fore door edges, it might be fixable.


Also, please keep in mind that in light of the poorly engineered existing kit doors, like Dutycap I anticipate modelers will need to do a lot of putty work to model them more realistically in the closed position (as in, glued shut permanently).  I don’t know if the one piece closed payload bay door model I have started working on will actually work (I wanted to try to simulate the recessed hinges on the real shuttle versus the hinge mechanism on the kit that protrudes laterally), but I should be able to make some progress on that piece if I can get access to a 3D printer after my move.


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  • 1 year later...

Hello all,


Thank you to those modelers who have purchased these parts.  I hope that they are useful to your builds.


After a brief(?) hiatus, I resumed work on the flight deck.  I was unhappy with the monochrome orange color that resulted from painting the ACES outfits with acrylic, so after much trial and error, I followed some guidance from more experienced modelers and used oil washes.  This way, the pigment collected like a wash in the crevices and folds, and added depth, or at least, didn't obliterate any of the surface details.


After priming with white, I applied some latex masking around the base of the helmets, and then applied an orange wash diluted in odorless mineral spirits.






The effect looks terrible while the oils are still wet, see below.  I applied several coats, and then let it dry for several days.




Once the liquid carrier has evaporated, the pigment highlights the raised surface details much better than the acrylic did.




I sealed the oils in a matte varnish, and then tried to paint the skin tones, helmet visor, and other details with acrylics.  I applied some Future to the visor after painting a scale black on it.




I watched a shuttle launch video on YouTube, and realize that the mission patches and other insignia are taken off for flight, and it looks like the astronauts just have their flag insignia on the left shoulder.  I tried to put those on and also put on the name badges, just to add some detail to the figures.  I don't think I could have cut the round or irregular decals very accurately, so it's probably a good thing I stopped here.  While I printed these on white decal paper, the white backing slid off, so these are pretty much acting like they were printed on clear decal paper.  Not that anyone will really notice.




Finally, I tried to do the pen through the paper wormhole maneuver with Neil's figure.  I used some strands of electrical wire that were 0.8 mm thick, so I twisted two of them together and painted then with gray primed to get them to seem like they were part of a pen.  The paper is some 0.05 mm thick baking paper folded on to itself.




This is all rather ridiculous because I doubt any of these details will be really visible when it's all assembled and sealed up.


I glued the figures into place on the flight deck.  Neil is a tight squeeze, so I popped off the pilot's seat in front of him and then reglued it into place after positioning Neil.




Well, you might be able to see Neil doing the wormhole thing from the overhead window if the lighting is adequate.




On to the HUDs.  After many trials and goof ups, I aligned the microscope cover slip on my template while using the loupe.  I should have realized that aligning a clear thin piece of glass over black and white paper was going to be difficult.  I scored the glass with my carbide tip scribing tool.


Then I put some canopy glue in the slot on the dashboard.




In this image you can see the reflection off of the glass after insertion.  Otherwise it's really hard to see the coverslips, even in real life.




I then primed the HUD frames in black.




More canopy glue along the edge of the HUD glass and the little slot where the frame will insert.  The part of the fret that attaches to the inferior portion of the frames should be left on (i.e. the "sprue"), since that locates the frame into the corresponding slot that is cut in the dashboard.




The overflow canopy glue actually vanishes quite nicely when it dries, even if you are a messy when applying the glue like I am.






Here are all four HUD frames installed.




Finally (for today) I cut out some window blinds for the aft windows, since they should be dark at launch.  They were light blocked with black and then glued into place also with canopy glue.








The overflow white glue internally should be pretty clear once it dries, and easy to remove if it detracts from the appearance of the windows.

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Next installment, cap assembly.  Here are the pieces.




Please note the layout of the numbers for the overhead bags here:




I slid the ceiling portion above into place over the flight deck, and ran a bead of cyano around the edge of the aft wall.




Then I slid the assembly into its slot on the beanie cap base.  I clamped the ceiling and applied cyano around the join in the front.




On the underside, I inserted the interdeck hatch plugs into both sides and glued them in place.






Then I glued in place the window insert.  I took this photo after I had started to paint some light blocking carbon black in the seams.




More light blocking painting:




Here is some I did before I slid it into the base:









Now it was time to cut the glass windows for the front.  My template is a little off, so there was some trimming of the glass after initial cutting.



In a sign of how clear the microscope cover slip glass is, the glass is pretty much invisible in this shot.  The glass is all installed here with canopy glue, which you can see around the margins of the windows.




I'll try to continue work on this tomorrow.  I will need to assemble the hull of the shuttle to test out the lighting placement.


In one of those "I wish I had access to this back at the beginning of this project" moments, the Smithsonian released some fantastically detailed 3d scans of Discovery.  These should really help with the thermal blanket placement pattern, as well as decaling:




Primed Model Works has some really helpful construction videos (as well as DutyCat) that will help me to avoid making unnecessary assembly errors:



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On 8/19/2020 at 11:56 AM, Homer said:

In one of those "I wish I had access to this back at the beginning of this project" moments, the Smithsonian released some fantastically detailed 3d scans of Discovery.  These should really help with the thermal blanket placement pattern, as well as decaling:



The page has a nice gallery of still photos too.

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I'm so glad you returned to this build Homer ... and the results you're getting are just spectacular!

When I did my Cutaway I put as much into the cockpit as I could, including the bags on the ceiling so I really appreciate what you're doing.

Yes, they're not visible but I know they're there!


And thanx for the 3d scan of Discovery ... WOW!


And just FYI, Dutycat, passed away 2 or 3 years ago  ... 😔


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Thank you Aussie and K2 Petes for the encouragement, and I'm moved to hear of DutyCat's death.  He was quite a kind correspondent via e-mail when I started this project and encouraged me to press on with my attempt to make a more ambitious beanie cap.


Okay, so brief detour into following Primed Model Works' excellent recommendations for straightening the cargo bay and creating a little slot and tongue to align and reinforce the bay doors.





So, as usual for my mediocre modeling skills, I got ahead of myself and primed and light-blocked the hull since I wanted to try lighting the flight deck and see how it looked:




But then I realized that the surface contours of the cap didn't match the adjoining contours of the payload bay.  I gave up for the evening and ruminated on the problem overnight.


I realized that the fore cross brace was about a mm too wide, so that the contours of the cap wouldn't align with the contours of the bay doors.  Plus, I needed to lower this angle a bit to reduce the step-off in height between the cap and the payload doors at their highest point:




So it now measures 2 mm from the bay door angle.




With regards to the width of the foremost crossbeam right at the front of the payload bay, it's roughly this width:




I removed the old beam and inserted this new one:




Also, in terms of poor fit, please note that the aft portion of the beanie cap base impinges on the cargo bay doors by about a millimeter.  It needed to be sanded down a little.




On to the next problem resulting from my mediocre 3d modeling skills: I didn't design much tolerance into the parts, so there isn't much play or wiggle room to accommodate deviation from perfect alignment.  This is most apparent when I tried to dry fit the tiled outer cap over the rest of the assembly, and it really didn't seat correctly.  The reason was mostly because of the window glass overlapping in one space (I wasn't careful in inspecting my work), and more importantly, using too much white glue to stick the window insert down, which added width.  I probably used too much canopy glue on the microscope cover slip glass as well.


So, two steps forward, one step back, I removed the window insert and glass and tried to remove as much canopy glue residue as possible with some IPA on a Q tip and the tweezers:



Additionally, I sanded down some of this beanie cap base window layer over the middle and lateral windows where I could tell that the window insert wasn't sitting as flush as I wanted:



This required some repainting to restore the scale black area that would be visible:




One more looming problem that has been plaguing me for the past week: I tested out the lighting last week with three surface mount LEDs, one in the recessed area above the ceiling, one in the nose, and one aft.  The lights were too dim, way too dim, to appreciate anything inside the flight deck.  The "glow" from the ceiling was woefully inadequate to light up the flight deck interior.  Furthermore, I hadn't wanted to flood the flight deck with an LED shining directly downwards, because then the interior light would be too strong to appreciate the glowing instrument panels, at least with three LEDs.


After a week of denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, I realized that I would need to open up the ceiling of the flight deck to let the light shine in, and would need to compensate for the brightness inside the flight deck with more LEDs outside.  This will likely require an AC power adapter (I had been hoping that I could get away with a Li ion battery hidden internally) to run far more LEDs outside of the cap (I am sure that some other modelers on this forum have a better idea of how to do this).  I found inspiration (or resignation) thinking of Manfred's inexhaustible supply of courage in revising work he's already done, so I plunged ahead and destroyed the ceiling of the flight deck.




Well, that sized hole was inadequate for providing adequate illumination, so I enlarged it.  It was painful to really destroy this part, but thinking of Manfred gave me the strength to persevere:




I glued on some light diffusion sheet and threaded an LED into place:




I still wasn't sure if the light from this skylight would illuminate the flight deck in a soft, diffuse manner, or just cast a harsh directed beam that would leave much of the flight deck in shadows.  So I dry fitted on the window insert and the tiled cap, took a breath, and applied current:










Oh thank god it worked.  If this attempt had failed, I would have had a hard time finding the motivation to keep going.


Will press on tomorrow.  Dog needs a walk.






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Thanks Manfred.  I think it's safe to say that your work motivates a lot of us during our builds, and hopefully not just in our moments of despair.


Okay, so I am being more careful this second time with the window glass to cut my panes to conform closer to the actual visible portion and not extend to the edges of the polygonal flat surfaces, so as not to create any unnecessary volume that will mess with the proper seating of the tiled cap.




I am only applying four dots of canopy glue to the corners to secure the glass, since the panes are going to be sandwiched in place and not subjected to a lot of movement.



I also inserted the glass into the overhead windows and sanded down the insert a little so that it would fit in the space, then primed it in gray.




The insert went in easily, but I had to make sure that it was seated as far in as possible since one of the monitors on the aft wall protrudes into this volume of space.  There is a cutout of the frame of the overhead windows in the tiled cap to accommodate this protrusion.


I cracked one of the panes when I pressed the insert in a little too forcefully, but since I was using canopy glue, it was pretty easy to remove the fragment and replace the glass.




Okay, now we're approaching the point where I have to seal it all in.  I applied a thin bead of Blu Tack around the edges where light leakage might be a problem, hoping that it would squash down nicely when I pressed the cap in place:




I am worried that I'm going to have to remove the cap at some point, so I am going to try this with canopy glue instead of cyanoacrylate.  I put a generous bead of canopy glue all around the base and sanded off most of the insertion tabs on the cap; the tabs weren't really helping to hold the cap in place, and actually were getting in the way, since the direction in which I was going to place the cap was to insert the aft end to align the roof of the space over the rear astronauts first, press down, and then slide the front of the cap forward.


Here is the unit still clamped together.  The cap appears to have seated better than my previous attempts, so I think the extra effort to minimize glue volume and glass pane size paid off..  I lit up the LED to check for light leaks.  So far, so good.  I'm going to leave it clamped overnight.




Now that the cap is aligned properly, I think I share Manfred's opinion that the interior cockpit lighting compliments the work and doesn't detract too much from the "realism."  I think I will be able to adjust the voltage to the overhead light to dim it enough so that the viewer will be able to see the glowing displays, but that's a project for tomorrow.





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Much to my relief, the canopy glue seems to have held.  The tiled cap is seated close enough to the beanie cap case that I think the step in the seam will be hidden underneath the thermal blanket layer.






I cracked the tiled cap from all of my fiddling to get it to seat correctly that I will have to disguise.




Now, the test is to see if the backlit displays and control panels will be visible despite the interior light.  First, I needed to make a scaffolding to mount the warm white SMD LEDs outside the cap.  Rather than mount them to the hull, I wanted them more precisely located on the underside of the cap itself.  I had to make the scaffolding so that it would mount underneath the fore crossbeam.  The glue gun comes in handy for this part of the project.






I used the glue gun to affix the two posts of the scaffolding without LEDs attached to the beanie cap base.






Here is how the whole assembly will mount in the body of the model.




And now for some lighting tests that my wife helped me with.  I'm sorry that the focus of the iPad isn't quite sharp, but the backlighting worked!  The amount of glow from the panels was about right.









The glowing blue screens in the image below are the CCTV monitors for the payload bay.




Out of focus, but the glow from the glass cockpit displays is visible even with the overhead light shining down on them.





I think it could use two more LEDs to illuminate the panels next to Neil and Dr. Stone, and raise the LED that illuminates the CCTVs, but I'll leave that for next weekend's project.


I'm cautiously optimistic now that I'll be able to power this with rechargeable batteries hidden in the wheel wells (which are large enough to hold an AA battery internally).  I have a total of 8 LEDs presently, and if I add 2 more, that will bring my total current draw to about 250 mAmps, which is well within the capacity of NiMH or Li-ion batteries.  The LEDs presently are running off of 3v from my voltage generator, but for weight considerations (this had to mount on the ET supports in the launch position), I think I'd rather power this with a single Li-ion 3.7v 14500 battery, which is the size of a AA cell, rather than two AA NiMH 1.5v batteries.



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Thanks Pete and Manfred.  I am waiting for the arrival of the Li ion battery and the battery holder, so I won't be able to make much more progress with the build until those arrive in a few weeks.  I did place two LEDs inside the beanie cap (not on the scaffolding), one underneath each starboard and port panels in the aft portion of the compartment.  I ran out of warm white so the port side has a cool white LED, as seen here in the photo.




I also raised the port rear LED that illuminates the CCTV monitors by a little bit.  Previously the light from this LED wouldn't illuminate the lower CCTV screen as well as the upper one.




Here are some more feeble attempts at beauty shots with my iPad trying to capture the illumination effects.  These illuminated panels here are due to the newly inserted starboard LED.



In this shot I try to capture the console illuminated between the pilot and the commander:




You can appreciate how the cool white LED on the port side provides a different hue compared to the other LEDs..






Much to my surprise, you can actually see the details from the front windows of the aft portion of the compartment, like the little joystick for the robot arm under the lower CCTV.






While I'm waiting for the arrival of the battery, I'm going to take advantage of access to a 3d printer at work to see if I can create a 3d model the OMS pods.  I'd like to have a tile pattern on the pods that looks similar to that on the beanie cap.  Already, it's a challenging project not only because of the complex curvatures involved, but also as I discovered the asymmetry of the two OMS pods of the orbiter model.



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I put in some more design time this week to try to make some improved OMS pods with the tile detail.  Here is what I have so far:








If anyone could help me, please, I could use some assistance finding more images that show the details on the medial edge here adjacent to the tail (circled in green):




This is the best one I could fine online of this area:




And also blueprints/diagrams/images that show the tiling detail on the aft surfaces here, including on the pedestal that the AJ10 nozzle is mounted on:




This is the image I used to try to simulate the tile work you can see in the above screenshot, but the rest of the tiled faces are too obscured to really help reconstruct the pretty extensive tiling pattern on all of these flat surfaces without the AFRSI.




I'll do a test print this week on the Ultimaker we have at work to see if the replacement part fits correctly in the space.



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  • 4 weeks later...

Okay, I finally received the Li-ion batter, the AA-sized battery holder, and pushbutton switches for the project.


While a AA-sized battery seems to fit easily in the wheel well, I didn't calculate the extra volume of the battery holder.




To keep the height of the holder within the size constraints of the space, I would need to mount it sideways, partially in the main fuselage space.




Furthermore, the battery holder had these little retention wings that would make it difficult to pop the battery in and out from this angle, so I trimmed those off.




To secure the holder in place, I had to build a little backstop for it.




The crossbar bracing on the port side of the fuselage look like this.




I tried a few types of glues to secure the beanie cap in place, but couldn't really get the results I wanted with CA or the glue gun.  Finally, I masked off the edges to prevent spillover and used 5 minute epoxy.  I dry fitted the payload bay door assembly into place to confirm that it would fit.




I plugged the circuit parameters into V=IR with 9 LEDs in parallel and 4.1 volts produced by a fully charged 14500 Li-ion battery, and came up with a resistor around 8 ohms, but when I tried it in real life it was way too weak.  The right resistor for this circuit turned out to be around 82 ohms.  Fortunately, the circuit and the switch worked and I didn't inadvertently burn out any LEDs when I was testing various resistors.  I threaded the switch into the port wheel well but didn't secure it in yet.




I put some Blu Tack in this light gap space before closing it up.




I adjusted the payload bay door assembly to minimize the step off fore and aft, and glued it in place with Plastic Weld.


There are two step offs that will need attention, but they are both going to be underneath the AFRSI thermal blankets, so I think it won't be too hard to disguise with some thin shims on the beanie cap side of the gap to match the step.







I then mixed up some CA and Mig gunmetal pigment and tried to seal some of the gaps.  While the CA was setting, I tried to adjust the joint between the beanie cap and the payload door fore edge to minimize any further step offs before it dried completely.






Finally, while that was drying, I used some Vallejo acrylic putty to fill in rest of the gaps at the payload door hinged area.  This area will also be covered with AFRSI quilts and hinges, so it's really not critical to make it look flat, either.







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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello all,


So after some sanding and filling, I think I have the cargo bay doors adequately positioned.  As luck would have it, it's not the border between the beanie cap and the bay doors that has a step off, but actually the aft edge of the bay doors and the start of the OMS pods that doesn't fit correctly.


The slight step off here I tried to address with some shims.  This will all be underneath some thermal quilts, so I think I can get away with this level of crude approximation of the interface.




My heart stopped when I lit it up and had a huge light leak where the aft wall of the flight deck separated from the curved ceiling.  Argh.




After ruminating on it, I realized that I couldn't leave this one unaddressed, so I cringed as I proceeded with some pretty drastic surgery.  I was not sure if I was going to be able to make this look pretty when it was all over.




If you look closely, you can see where the pieces separated.




I resealed the join with some CA mixed with metal pigment, and the squirted some glue gun glue into the hollow space between the ceiling part of the flight deck and the shell of the beanie cap in the hope that that would keep the join from splitting open again.




One more round of CA mixed with metal pigment to seal it back up, then sanded down the excess.




Miracle of miracles, it actually maintained correct alignment and sealed up without a lot of trouble or step-offs.




As I mentioned above, the real fit issue was at the aft edge of the cargo bay doors.  I'm not sure if this is my poor alignment when I glued the bay doors in place or bad design by Monogram.




So, I tried to approximate the curve with successive layers of strips of 0.13 mm thick styrene sheeting.











After some sanding:






It's not quite smooth enough yet (there are some pits and bubbles in the sheet styrene where I think it didn't complete weld to the styrene underneath it, but I think I'll leave it in this state for now and try to finish it more precisely once I'm at the priming stage and can visualize more easily the degree to which the defects need to be corrected.


I then resumed work in Blender on designing the replacement OMS pods and SSME mounting assembly parts.





While the OMS pods look symmetrical here, their bases are different enough that I had to do a bit of fudging and approximation to get them to seat correctly.



Here is my progress on the SSME nozzle mounting assembly (I am unsure of the correct terminology for these components, so if someone knows better, please feel free to correct me).  I'm not sure that the resolution of the fine detailed plastic print will be high enough to capture the textured, quilted surface on the SSME nozzle insulation rings that I was trying to simulate.




Here is a close up of one of the insulation rings.  Each one of those little quilted bumps in the insulation is about 0.4 mm wide.




It looks like these parts printed in fine detail plastic will be expensive via Shapeways (like $60 for the mounting assembly alone).  I have some more work to do to confirm the fit using the Ultimaker I have access to at work.  The body flap part in the Monogram model is shaped incorrectly - the kit part is shaped like a V where it connects to the main shuttle body.  The real flap is a rectangular with flat surfaces, so this may require some more surgery and creation of a replacement body flap completely




Here I took off the angled aft edge of the body to better simulate the real shuttle body flap interface.  In the background are some test prints of the OMS pods.




I glued in some thin styrene strips to provide a backstop to my replacement for the SSME mounting assembly.




Here is a dry fitted test print of an earlier version of the SSME mounting assembly in place.  You can see how the artifact from the layer lines of the Ultimaker at this resolution render the part unusable.  This was printed with the 0.25 mm nozzle at a 0.1 mm layer height.  While I thought I might be able to get away with using these prints instead of sending off my paycheck to Shapeways, I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and pay for the higher quality prints. 




In trying to come up with the body flap tiling pattern I've been looking for a high resolution version of this document that I found here that are from the Shuttle Operational Data Book, which doesn't appear to be available online in its entirety anymore:




Does anyone have this document that they would be willing to share?


I have some of the other images from this series of external finish/external insulation from the data book in pdf format:







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On 10/24/2020 at 1:03 PM, Homer said:

Does anyone have this document that they would be willing to share?


Look here (updated):




Specifically, the drawing you seek:




and the tile layout for the aft face:





I would recommend copying/downloading all the drawings in the first link.  :thumbsup:



Edited by habu2
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I updated a link in my previous post, it is a snapshot from a different date that includes the link to the left side of Columbia (2-2b.pdf), missing from the earlier snapshot.




Edited by habu2
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  • 2 weeks later...

I have tried to create parts to simulate the ports on the underside of the shuttle that connect to the external tank LH2 and LO2 umbilicals.


I used the images in this document as my main reference:




Also, when I used the excellent reference documents that Habu2 linked to above, scaling the diagrams to 1/72 results in a door dimension edge length of approximately 19 mm, but that turns out to be too large for the width of the space on the Monogram model; with the doors in the open position their inner edges would overlap (i.e you would need 19 mm x 4 = 76 mm width to accommodate them, and there isn't enough space to do that without some messy cutting through the side walls of the orbiter central hull section).  So I fudged the door edge lengths to 17 mm and moved them a little inboard so that their edges don't collide with the edge of the hull.


Here are my 3d modeled parts so far.



Here was a test printout on the Ultimaker before I squared off the edges.  Surprisingly, the quality didn't differ perceptibly to my eye between printing with the 0.4 mm nozzle and the 0.25 mm nozzle.




Here I tried to mark the areas where I would need to perform the cutout, attempting to get proper alignment of the ET LO2 and LH2 umbilicals.  Manfred's work on his LH2 and LO2 umbilicals really puts my efforts to shame here.  I also wish I had seen his trick with the flour and ribbing to simulate the insulation foam before I did my build.





Here are the parts with the squared edges to make it easier for me to get them to mount.




Here they are dry fitted into the hull.



I'm not sure anyone else will notice, but the alignment of the LO2 and LH2 umbilicals into their respective ports on the parts looks close enough.






I will work on modeling the umbilical doors, but that shouldn't be too difficult.


I'm pleased to find that the quality of the Ultimaker prints for parts like these that are geometrically simple for an FDM printer (i.e. no supporting lattice, no sloping surfaces which would show the layer lines) will suffice, and I won't need to send these off to Shapeways for printing in fine detail plastic.  Surprisingly, with the 0.4 mm nozzle you end up with details that are superior to what you would get with injection molded kit parts.  However, for the OMS pods, you can really see the artifacts of the printing much more readily.

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