How 3D Printing was involved in creating Peter Nikoloffs massive 1 / 7 scale model of Australia’s first Satellite launcher!

Author: Matt Tyson/Monday, 11 September 2017/Categories: 3D Printing News

How 3D Printing was involved in creating Peter Nikoloffs massive 1 / 7 scale model of Australia’s first Satellite launcher!

In July, Peter Nikoloff from Nova Group engaged our 3D Printing Solutions printing service to assist with 3D Printing sections of his 1:7 scale model of Australia’s first satellite; the WRESAT Launch Vehicle. This accurate scale model of the WRESAT was created for the State Library of SA exhibition “From outback to outer space” which tells the story of the men and women involved in the Woomera Space Range which brought Australia into the space age.

For this massive model, Peter had planned to make the main body of the launcher with PVC Piping, the nosecone would be turned in timber and he wanted the taper in the body to be 3D Printed.

Peter was able to supply us with samples of the PVC piping that the printed parts would connect too; along with detailed measurements so designing the 3D files for this project was easy. We had originally planned for the design to be hollow with a thickness of 4.8mm however after printing a small section of the launcher we were able to confidently lower this thickness to 2.8mm, minimising print time and weight with no effect on rigidity.

To minimise the risk of facing printing issues which can occur during such large prints, we designed the tapered body to be printed in 3 separate pieces with recessed joints which allowed for easy assembly with the PVC piping. Manufacturing the parts with these joints wouldn’t have been possible if these parts were made with sheet metal

We printed each part in Polymakers affordable PolyLite PLA with a layer resolution of 0.25mm and each part took between 40-60 hours to print.

Last weekend we visited the “From outback to outer space” exhibition to see the display and Peters finished scale model looked incredible. If you are in South Australia we highly recommending visiting the exhibition to see Peters incredible model of the WRESAT, and the entire exhibition is a great opportunity to learn about the history of the Woomera Space Range, Australia's involvement in the space age and the controversy and secrecy that surrounded the facility at the time.

You can visit the “From outback to outer space” exhibition for free from Aug 23, 2017 - Nov 12, 2017 at the State Library of South Australia.

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