3D Design and Printing: Star Wars TIE Bomber

The objective of this project was to design and print a 3D object that was at least 50% of our own design. I chose to create a TIE Bomber from Star Wars, and I recreated it 100% using shapes provided in TinkerCad.

Concept

In brainstorming project ideas, I went on Thingiverse and searched around for inspiration. I like Star Wars, so it was one of my search queries. There were lots of models of different space ships from the universe, but I noticed some were missing. One of them was the TIE Bomber, which I settled on because the design seemed challenging, but not impossible.

TIE Bomber from Star Wars.
TIE Bomber from Star Wars.

Design

To recreate the TIE Bomber, I studied images online and took things one piece at a time. If you look past the embellishment pieces, you’ll notice the components of this spacecraft are made up of basic geometric shapes: cylinders, semi-circles, thin rectangles, and trapezoids. There are a good amount of each, but this made the base of the TIE Bomber fairly simple to create within the TinkerCad interface. I created the embellishment pieces by combining various shapes from the “Shape Generators” shapes tab in the TinkerCad interface:

The major chunks of this build.

My process was as follows:

  1. Build the general shape of the TIE Bomber
  2. Choose a part of the craft and embellish it according to internet pictures

Pretty simple huh? It worked very well, and it wasn’t very hard to synchronize the level of detail across multiple components of the build. The end design:

After designing the build in TinkerCad and saving it as an ‘.stl’ file, I used the Dremel Print Studio software to convert it to a ‘.g3drem’ file for the Dremel 3D printer to work with. Print Studio made it easy to scale, add structural supports to the build, estimate the build time, and visualize the build:

I would estimate that the entire design and file formatting process took me about 5 to 6 hours to complete.

Result

I only realized after printing that I got the geometry of the wings wrong. The top and bottom slats are supposed to be a trapezoidal shape, not a rectangular. Despite this oversight, the three-hour print went decently well. There were a lot of supports, and you can see the remnants.

I had a couple problems with printed features:

  1. The under-hanging device fell off
  2. One part of a wing is noticeably bent
  3. Some small details are missing entirely
  4. Embellishment slats on the wings are missing
  5. Embellishment slats on the right ship-body cylinder are missing
  6. The supports left a lot of stringy filament on the bottom surfaces

If I were to revisit this project (and I might), I would increase the size of the build. It would take much longer, but the details of the print would be a lot cleaner, and there would be fewer structural and support issues overall. This would also cater to adding more detail pieces, and make the model easier to paint if I chose to.

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