How We Designed the Crew Dragon MS SpaceX “Dragon” Model

The SpaceX Crew Dragon model is an accurate 3D print of the capsule, but it was not easy to build.

The goal was to design a model of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and be as accurate as possible. 3D models usually take a huge amount of time and a lot of human resources but that was not the case with this model since it was designed using publicly available material from the internet including CAD models, videos and pictures of the real “Dragon” Spacecraft.

The article shows how I did it.

Pressurised Crew Section of the SpaceX Dragon Model

The Pressurised Crew Section of the spacex dragon model

This is my interpretation of the SpaceX Dragon Capsule, a new model spacecraft ready to complete your space collection. The pressurised crew section was designed based on the existing Draco Pod model by Prot0typ1cal (see here). He has done a fantastic job modelling the outer body of the spacecraft, so I used his model—with his permission—as reference and added my personal touches.

I re-designed almost every part of the SpaceX Dragon model so they can be fitted together without having to use super glue. Instead, most parts are held together either by magnets or just friction. This has allowed my model to be fully stripped down and rebuilt as many time as required. Only a very small number of parts are glued together (e.g. the Monitor and Monitor Stand).

Astronauts in SpaceX Suits

model astronauts in spacex suits

I came across the SpaceX Astronaut model, designed by Gil P. de Paulo on GrabCAD (see here) and I think it would be a really nice touch to print this model at the right scale and put it next to the model spacecraft.

This would definitely help people, myself included, to understand the true scale of the real SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, as many of us don’t have the luxury to see it with our own eyes.

Interior of the SpaceX Dragon Model

The interior design of SpaceX Dragon model

I wanted to add some interior to this model as well, rather than just the outer body, therefore I decided to give it a go. The interior of the model comprises of a giant monitor, which is fixed to the floor via a stand. On the real spacecraft, the monitor is actually mounted to the ceiling. However, as I wanted to show this feature once the outer body panel is removed, I decided to fix it to the floor instead of the ceiling.

There are 4 seats in total in this model. Each seat can be adjusted to incline and recline as well as spin around the x-axis. I really wanted to replicate their movement as per the real ones For example, the seats are lowered and face the entry hatch when the spacecraft is on the ground to help astronauts get in and out with ease. Before lift-off, these seats are tilted backward and also raised upwards closer to the monitor.

I came across a racing seat design on GrabCAD by Badulescu Stefan (see here) a while ago and since it looks really nice, I decided to adopt his design for this model.

Unpressurised Cargo Section (aka. Trunk)

The unpressurised trunk

I designed the Trunk—unpressurised cargo section—completely from scratch based on photos and videos of the spacecraft available on the SpaceX’s website (see here).

I tried to replicate the exterior of the Trunk as much as I can, including the number of radiators, solar panels, and their locations around the Trunk. I also added my personal touch by designing a secret compartment hidden inside the Trunk.

From the outside, the Trunk looks like it was printed as a solid block; however, if you spin the bottom of the Trunk slightly to disengage its simple locking mechanism, the bottom part of the Trunk will slide out very smoothly, revealing its secret compartment. Here you can keep some of your precious treasure inside.

The other way to open the Trunk is to use the magnets on the bottom of the Heat Shield of the Pressurised Crew Section.

What do you think?

From this project I learned a lot. In fact, I learned more about the spacecraft than any time reading articles or watching videos. I just wanted to know everything about this craft, since I made it with my own hands.

This was a fun little project for me, and I hope it provides the SpaceX fan community an affordable alternative to purchasing a production model.

This model is a great gift for space enthusiasts, children, and fans of SpaceX. It is safe and it can be used as a display piece. Do not hesitate to get this model if you are into space shuttles.

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