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
What you need (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)

All parts in STEP 1 should be easily fitted together without having to use any super glue at all. Some parts are quite small so I suggest you use a tweezer to handle them

STEP 2: Complete the exterior of the Pressurised Crew Section 
What you need – 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)

Press fit all 6 magnets into the Body and 2 magnets into 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)
Press fit the Entry Hatch to the Body. If you have inserted the magnets correctly, you should now be able to open the Entry Hatch and ‘hang’ it on the Body

STEP 3: Complete the interior of the Pressurised Crew Section 
What you need – 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)

Super-glue Seat and Footbar together (place the Seat on the Footbar and slide the Seat rearwards until the back of the Seat touches the ‘stop’ on the Footbar)
Super-glue Monitor and Monitor Stand together (use the slot on the Monitor for alignment)
Super-glue Floor and Floor Step together
Slide Seat/Footbar sub-assemblies into Seat Supports (LH, RH & Centre)
Press fit Monitor/Monitor Stand sub-assembly into Floor (no glue should be needed)
Press fit 
Seat/Footbar/Seat Support sub-assemblies into Floor (at this point, you may find there is quite a bit of clearance between the Seat Supports and the slots of the Floor – that’s because I deliberately designed it that way. What you need to do is use a little bit of duct tape and carefully wrap it around the ‘leg’ of the Seat Support to gradually reduce the clearance between the ‘leg’ and the slot on the Floor. Once you reach the optimum clearance, the seats can be pulled up/pushed down very beautifully) 

STEP 4: Assemble interior sub-assembly and Heat Shield 
What you need – 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)

Press fit 6 magnets (5mm dia x 3mm thick) to the underside of the Floor
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 (instead of repelling them)
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 
What you need – 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)

Super-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 fully engage with 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 (you can see that I tried to mimic the movement of the ‘Soft Capture System’ as much as I could on this design. 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 Section
What you need – refer to the photos below:
1x ‘Ceiling’ sub-assembly from STEP 5 (a)
1x Interior and Heat Shield sub-assembly from STEP 4 (b)
1x Exterior sub-assembly from STEP 2 (c)
1x Nose Ring (d)

Cut open the Nose Ring at the marked location
Fit Exterior sub-assembly (STEP 2) to Interior and Heat Shield sub-assembly (STEP 4) – 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 
And THIS, is the fully assembled Pressurised Crew Section!

STEP 7: Assemble the Trunk
What you need – 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 the Trunk on an dual-extrusion printer (Ultimaker S5), therefore, I can print two halves of the Trunk (Front and Rear) at the same time with two different colours (Black & White). 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)

Press fit 4 magnets (5mm dia x 3mm thick) into the 4 holes located on the chamfer of the Secret Compartment (use glue if needed)
Press fit 8 magnets (10mm dia x 2mm thick) in 4 stacks of 2 into the 4 holes located inside the Secret Compartment (use glue if needed)
Press fit 4 magnets (5mm dia x 3mm thick) into the 4 holes located on the chamfer inside the Trunk

How does the Secret Compartment work?
When the Secret Compartment is pushed into the Trunk, spin the bottom of this part until the 4 magnets on its chamfer aligned with the 4 magnets 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!
There are two methods to ‘unlock’ the Secret Compartment:
METHOD 1 (NOT RECOMMENDED): Slightly spin the bottom of the Secret Compartment with your fingers to ‘disengage’ the locking mechanism, the Secret Compartment will slide out by gravity.
METHOD 2 (RECOMMENDED): 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 spin the Heat Shield until you feel that the 4 magnets on the bottom of the Heat Shield (see STEP 8 below) are aligned with the 8 magnets (in 4 stacks of 2) hidden inside the Secret Compartment.  Now, hold the Heat Shield steadily and pull, the Secret Compartment will also come out of the Trunk

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

Super-glue 4 magnets (10mm dia x 2mm thick) into the 4 holes located on the top face of the Trunk
Super-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, instead of repelling them)

Place the Pressurised Crew Section on the Trunk, the magnets on both parts should hold these two sections together beautifully and concentrically to each other. 
Press fit the Latch into the Trunk 
(this can be super-glue to the Trunk if you want) and 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! If you want to see how easy (but fun) it is to assemble this model – please watch the timelapse video below:

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

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David Schooley
David Schooley
8 days ago

In Step 3, the floor… maybe move the slot for the monitor holder toward the center by a 0.5-1 millimeter or so. The wall there is quite thin and you can see the grey through the white. Not a big deal, but it would be a nice touch.

David Schooley
David Schooley
20 days ago

Why do you recommend printing the body in the orientation shown? It seems like you could flip it over and print it with a lot less support material, which would also be faster.

jeroen De Boeck
jeroen De Boeck
27 days ago

love this model 😀 i’m upgrading mine with interior astronauts and wil be connecting it to part of ISS

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