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3D Printed WWI Drachen Observation Balloon.

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Aww, I thought it'd be more challenging than that.  It is indeed a Drachenballoon.  1/144 (they're surprisingly large), designed in Solidworks and printed on my Photon.  And far and away the most explicitly phallic looking modelling object I've ever seen!  😄 


The full balloon is done in two halves so it's a simple assembly.  Roughly placed together here, but after grinding out the base and giving the halves a quick sand, it's a perfect fit.  (the halves are hollow, with 2mm thick walls so it's very robust, but the base of each half cupped slightly when curing.  easy to remove with a dremel, though)  





I've given it a subtle droop with some puckering underneath the main ballonet, as was typical in-flight.  My first pass was straight, more or less per the drawings, but it felt a little 'wooden', so I re-built the model with a slight curve and some weight and shape to the fabric sections to give it a little life.  Fairly pleased with the result:




Note the small hole on the side, necessary as a vent hole during the printing process.  It'll be simple to plug, either with a length of styrene rod, or I may apply some tape over it and back-fill with a dab of UV resin.  A bit of a necessary evil, but it's certainly easier than filling/sanding the seam lines if it were a plastic kit.


Oh, and for the 3D printing nerds out there, the sections were printed straight on the build plate at .05mm layer height with mid-level anti-aliasing.  There is some slight voxellation on it, but either a light pass with some fine sandpaper, or a coat of levelling pimer (like Tamiya or Alclad) and it should be good to go.


Next up: drafting the various rigging lines and figuring out a way to depict them.  Debating between etching them, or having them laser cut in card stock.  PE would be more 'traditional', but laser cutting should be faster and more forgiving, and if it's impregnated in CA, every bit as strong.



(geez it was a challenge to write that without everything seeming like a double entendre, given the appearance of this thing...)

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  • MoFo changed the title to 3D Printed WWI Drachen Observation Balloon.

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