DRAGON - MS (HOW-TO)

Crew Dragon Spacecraft - Model S (Print and Assembly Instructions)

How to print this model?

Most of the STL files are really straight forward to print. All you need to do is load them into your slicer software (I use Cura), select your desirable settings (e.g. layer height, infill percentage, etc.) and slice the parts. I used 0.4mm nozzle (0.2mm layer height) to print most parts and 0.25mm nozzle (0.1mm layer height to print small parts (e.g. pins, washers, links, etc.) 

However, there are 4 particular parts which I want to give you some tips:

SpaceX Astronaut: You need to scale the astronaut model down to 60% to get the correct scale (in relation to the rest of the model). Also, print with raft to create a small base for the model to stand on its own

Body: Print in the orientation shown below. Use support ‘everywhere’ but DO NOT use support at these two places (otherwise, you may struggle to remove support due to restricted access): (1) the holes and slots located on the top of the model (this is where the hinge is fitted) and (2) the two holes located just above the entry hatch but on the inside of the Body – these two holes are used to locate the magnets. As you can see in the picture, I created two Support Blocker on the model to prevent any support to be generated at these locations.

Nose Cone: Print in the orientation shown below. Use support but DO NOT use support for the holes and slots where the hinge is fitted. Again, as illustrated in the picture, I used a Support Blocker at this location

Trunk: The entire Trunk can be printed without any support except the areas underneath the fins. Therefore, you can create a ‘huge’ Support Blocker as shown in the picture to avoid any support from being generated on the model BUT leave the fins out because we need support underneath them!

I would like to give my special thank to Trevor Page from Tesla Owners Online for the amazing review on YouTube about this model – very detail and informative!. Please watch his video above if you want some more hints and tips to get this model printed successfully on your 3D printers! If you would like to subscribe to his YouTube channel, please click on this LINK

How to assemble this model?

So now you’ve got all your parts printed? – great!, let’s assemble the model!.
I’ll take you through the assembly process step by step but before that, you need to purchase some items:
1) 5mm dia x 3mm thick Neodymium magnets (LINK) (we need plenty of these so just get a box of 50)
2) 10mm dia x 2mm thick Neodymium magnets (LINK) (we only need 12 of these but I suggest you get a box of 20)
3) Super glue (LINK) (we don’t need to use a lot of glue at all, a few drops is all we need)

STEP 1: Assemble the Hinge, Body and Nose Cone
Parts required (refer to the photos below):
3x Link (a)
2x Apin (b)
1x Bpin (c)
2x Cpin (d)
1x Large Washer (e)
1x Small Washer (f)
1x Short Dowel (g)
1x Long Dowel (h)
1x Nose Cone (i)
1x Body (j)

Assembly process:
– Assemble the Hinge
– Connect the Hinge with the Body and Nose Cone
Note: All parts in STEP 1 should be fitted together without any super glue. Some parts are quite small so I suggest you use a pair of tweezers to handle them.

STEP 2: Assemble the EXTERIOR of the Pressurised Crew Module
Parts required (refer to the photos below):
1x Sub-assembly from STEP 1 (a)
4x Window (b)
1x DracoFrontLeft (c)
1x DracoFrontRight (d)
1x DracoRearLeft (e)
1x DracoRearRight (f)
2x SideDraco (g)
1x Entry Hatch (h)
8x Magnets (5mm dia x 3mm thick) (highlighted in RED)

Assembly process:
– Press fit 6 magnets into their locations on the Body and 2 magnets into their location on the Entry Hatch (use super glue if needed)
– Press fit the Windows and Draco’s into their locations on the Body (use super glue if needed)
– Assemble the Entry Hatch to the Body.
Note: If you have inserted the magnets correctly at this point, you should now be able to ‘hang’ the Entry Hatch on the Body.

STEP 3: Assemble the INTERIOR of the Pressurised Crew Module
Parts required (refer to the photos below):
1x Floor (a)
1x Floor Step (b)
4x Seat (c)
4x Footbar (d)
1x LH Seat Support (e)
1x Center Seat Support (f)
1x RH Seat Support (g)
1x Monitor (h)
1x Monitor Stand (i)

Assembly process:
– Glue the Seats and Footbars together (place the Seat on the Footbar and slide it until the back of the Seat touches the ‘stop’ on the Footbar)
– Glue the Monitor and Monitor Stand together (use the slot on the Monitor for alignment)
– Glue the Floor and Floor Step together
– Slide Seat/Footbar sub-assemblies into Seat Supports (LH, RH & Centre) (Hint: Put some duct tape around the cylindrical section of the Seat Supports to adjust clearance between this and the hole on the Footbar)
– Press fit Monitor/Monitor Stand into Floor (Hint: use glue if you want this part to be fixed permanently. Alternatively, to make it tightly fitted but still removable, use some duct tape on the bottom section of the Monitor Stand to fine-tune the clearance between this part and its locating hole on the Floor)
– Press fit Seat/Footbar/Seat Support sub-assemblies into Floor (again, use duct tape to adjust clearance if needed)

STEP 4: Assemble the INTERIOR of the Pressurised Crew Module to the Heat Shield
Parts required (refer to the photos below):
1x INTERIOR sub-assembly from STEP 3 (a)
1x Heat Shield with Pods (b)
4x SuperDraco (c)
1x Panel (d)
16x Magnets (5mm dia x 3mm thick) (highlighted in RED)

Assembly process:
– Press fit 6 magnets (5mm dia x 3mm thick) to the underside of the Floor (if strong magnets are used, you can reduce the number of magnets)
– Press fit 10 magnets (5mm dia x 3mm thick) to the top face of the ‘Heat Shield with Pods’ – ensure that these magnets are fitted correctly so they attract the ones previously fitted on the Body (at STEP 2) AND the Floor 
– Press fit the 4 SuperDraco’s and Panel into the ‘Heat Shield with Pods’
– Finally, insert the INTERIOR sub-assembly (from STEP 3) onto the ‘Heat Shield with Pods’

STEP 5: Assemble the ‘Ceiling’ sub-assembly 
Parts required (refer to the photos below):
1x Soft Capture Ring (a)
6x Linear Actuator (b)
1x Sliding Ring (c)
1x Seal (d)
1x Hard Capture System (e)
1x Top Hatch (f)
1x Roof (g)
1x TopDraco (h)

Assembly process:
– Glue Soft Capture Ring, 6-off Linear Actuators and Sliding Ring together to create the ‘Soft Capture System’
– Press fit Top Hatch and Seal into Hard Capture System
– Press fit Hard Capture System into Roof (ensure that the ‘data & power plug’ and ‘data & power socket’ on both sides of the Hard Capture System are pushed all the way into their slots on the Roof) 
– Press fit Top Draco into Roof (from underneath) (Fun fact: These thrusters on the top of the spacecraft are used to abort docking with the ISS whilst the SuperDraco engines you assembled at STEP 4 are used for launch abort)
– Slide ‘Soft Capture System’ into Hard Capture System. There’s a really cool video on YouTube explains how the Docking Mechanism works – I recommend you to watch via this LINK)

STEP 6: Assemble the whole Pressurised Crew Module
Parts required (refer to the photos below):
1x ‘Ceiling’ sub-assembly from STEP 5 (a)
1x INTERIOR sub-assembly from STEP 4 (b)
1x EXTERIOR sub-assembly from STEP 2 (c)
1x Nose Ring (d)

Assembly process:
– Cut open the Nose Ring at the marked location
– Assemble the EXTERIOR sub-assembly (STEP 2) to INTERIOR sub-assembly (STEP 4) (Note: the magnets on these two sub-assemblies should hold them together without having to use any glue)
– Press fit Nose Ring and ‘Ceiling’ sub-assembly onto the sub-assembly above – no glue is needed 

STEP 7: Assemble the Trunk
Parts required (refer to the photos below):
1x Trunk (a)*
1x Secret Compartment (b)
8x Magnets (5mm dia x 3mm thick) (highlighted in RED)
8x Magnets (10mm dia x 2mm thick) (highlighted in ORANGE)
* I printed both halves of the Trunk together on an dual-extrusion printer (Ultimaker S5). If you don’t have a dual-extrusion printer, you can either (1) print the whole Trunk in one colour (use the Trunk (1-piece) STL) and paint half of it with another colour OR (2) print two halves separately in two colours and glue them together. In this case, you’ll have Trunk_Front (a1) and Trunk_Rear (a2)

Assembly process:
– Glue 4 magnets (5mm dia x 3mm thick) into the 4 holes located on the chamfer of the Secret Compartment
– Glue 4 magnets (5mm dia x 3mm thick) into the 4 holes located on the chamfer inside the Trunk
– Glue 8 magnets (10mm dia x 2mm thick) in 4 stacks of 2 into the 4 holes located inside the Secret Compartment (ensure that these magnets attract the ones previously fitted on the Heat Shield at STEP 4 when you put the bottom face of these two parts against each other)

How does the Secret Compartment work?
When the Secret Compartment is fitted into the Trunk, spin the bottom of this part until the 4 magnets located on its chamfer aligned with those located on the chamfer inside the Trunk. The Secret Compartment is now ‘locked’ and its bottom face flushes with the bottom face of the Trunk – making it impossible to open unless you know how!
To ‘unlock’ the Secret Compartment: Use the bottom of the Heat Shield – place the Heat Shield directly on the Secret Compartment (make sure that the bottom faces of these two parts are in contact. Slightly rotate the Heat Shield until you feel the magnets are aligned with those on the Secret Compartment. Now, hold the Heat Shield steadily and pull it away from the Trunk, the Secret Compartment will come out.

STEP 8: Assemble the Trunk to the Pressurised Crew Module
Parts required (refer to the photos below):
1x Trunk from STEP 7 (a)
1x Pressurised Crew Module from STEP 6 (b)
1x Latch (c)
8x Magnets (10mm dia x 2mm thick) (highlighted in ORANGE)
2x Astronauts (d)
1x Model Stand

Assembly process:
– Glue 4 magnets (10mm dia x 2mm thick) into the 4 holes located on the top face of the Trunk
– Glue 4 magnets (10mm dia x 2mm thick) into the 4 holes located on the bottom face of the Heat Shield (ensure that these magnets are installed correctly so that they attract the ones on the bottom face of the Trunk)
– Place the Pressurised Crew Module on the Trunk, the magnets on both parts should hold these two sections together 
– Press fit the Latch into the Trunk (this can be super-glue to the Trunk if you want)
– Place astronauts next to the model 
– Place the model on the Model Stand (if needed)

And THAT’S ALL DONE! Congratulations, you have just built a super cool spacecraft! Want to make an even bigger & better version of this model? Check out the DRAGON-MJ

Please let us know if you have any questions in the comment section below:

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Nikos
Nikos
9 months ago

Hello! Can I print this on a Prusa MINI (18x18x18cm print area)? Thanks!

Jean Gagnon
Jean Gagnon
11 months ago

the seats seem to be too thin. any way i could fix this?

David Schooley
David Schooley
1 year ago

So when you set everything up on your S5, I’m assuming you used the “Default – Fast” profile in Cura. Did you make any adjustments to the “Hole Horizontal Expansion” setting? I’ve been using the “Visual – Normal” profile, and some of the holes have been coming out too small, so I’ve been using the expansion setting to fix it. Also, when I put the floor into the heat shield, it snapped into place, so the tolerance there is pretty tight. It’s not a problem, but I wonder if this is normal or if that “Visual”intent setting is making things weird. The model is coming out great. One of my nephews is getting the first one.

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