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Christmas rainy weather hobby: Asteroid Making !


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We spent a few (rainy) days staying with my brother and his family over Christmas and he introduced me to the joys of 3D printing. We managed to produce this 150mm long replica of the asteroid 433 Eros. We used public domain images to produce the necessary file for the 3D printer. Quite pleased with the result although it took 8 hours to print ! Just got to decide on a few other suitable subjects now (suggestions welcome ! :smiley:). 433 Eros was the object that the NEAR Shoemaker probe made the (very) close approach to back in 2000. The first image is from that probe. The others are of our replica. The real thing is 34km long by 11km wide.






Edited by John
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3 hours ago, Zermelo said:

Very nice John. Even the colour looks right.

Was there a lot of manual effort involved, or can the printer directly import models from, e.g. here or here?


We had to do some work on the image before it can be printed. I'm still learning the terms but basically we had to convert the image to a file which represents the form using polygons at a suitable resolution and then do a further piece of work "slicing" the data so that the printer can print it layer by layer. We had to chop the shape into 2 halves so that it could be printed as a hollow shape with an infill structure that we defined. There are lots of printing parameters that can be set with regards to infill form, infill %, wall thickness and temporary support structure which the printer uses to ensure that the shape is held as it hardens. We could also try using different printing filament types for a different finish.

Luckily for me, my brother has been playing with these things for a couple of years now so knows his way round what can be done. It is a big learning curve for me !

This is the work area he has set up with 2 printers that can be working simultaneously:


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