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B737-200Adv Combi Scratch 1:144 (3D Printing)

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A very very long time ago I started on a B737-200

I wanted to set myself a challenge so I decided on a project to build a B737-200 Combi fitted with a gravel kit etc. and with all the doors open being loaded up in the snow of the Canadian north.......

Over a few weeks I collected together a kit, some AM stuff etc. as a starting point:


The Airfix engines are known to be a poor representation of the -200 engines (narrow pylons being the first issue!) hence the braz resin engines.

All was well until I looked at the Braz engines in the above shot.... which had degraded silicon bits from the mold down their tail-pipes... not good! but Hannants were their excellent selves and we quickly determined that all 2 of their remaining stock had the same issue so they went back for a refund.

A bit more online retail therapy and I had some Nazca decals and the authentic airliners resin engines (lovelly things):


I know the extratech PE is for a different model of B737 but I was using it for the common parts....

A few weeks later after some scratch interior building, cutting a cargo door opening and I was thinking about the cargo door itself:


But in the end the windows just didn't look right and the internal detail on the whole aircraft was poor, the windows are in the wrong place on the model, the doors are wrong and the nose shape and cockpit windows are also way off.....

Skip forward 3 years and I started using 3D printing at work to build replicas of skulls (useful for teaching anatomy). I've been modelling aircraft in 3D programmes for years (used to sell them for flight simulators) and remembered I had a 727 model somewhere.... the fuselage isn't that different so it might be easy to adapt it to make a 737-200.

Skip forward another year of messing around in Blender, 3DStudioMax, ZBrush, Polyworks, Rhino and all manner of other 3D programmes I work with and I had a set of STL models that I was happy with.

So this Christmas I borrowed our newest 3D printer from work and this is what we get:


These are my external shape masters.... but there was a problem. It was cold the day I went out and left these to print (18hour print time at 40micron layer size) and I wasn't thorough enough with the glue (pritstick) on the glass build plate so I ended up with the left side's nose lifting off the build plate and warping (bugger!):


Now printing a new left side wasn't an issue but it takes a lot of plastic and 9 and a bit hours! so a quick edit in blender and I printed off just the nose section from just forward of the left door:


Might have been a bit OTT with the glue this time as it took 3 hours soaking in warm soapy water to get the damn print off the glass!

Next up: how to perform rhinoplasty (nosejob) on a 737....

Marked up and chopped off the dodgy nose:


Lined up and glued the new nose on using the right hand side as a guide:


A bit of Perfect Plastic Putty (wonderful stuff!):


Have just sanded off the excess filler and it all looks spot on.

Next up printing the internal details masters, molding them all in silicon and then casting the rough resin detail masters from these molds.

I'll then add all the small details, panel lines etc. on those resin casts as the 3D printer plastic is very hard and therefore difficult to sand etc.

More later.


Edited by Flying Badger
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This I am enjoying. 3D printing still sounds like science fiction to me, and as someone who opens a box and starts gluing part 1 to part 2, this will be eye-opening, and mind-blowing.

Don't leave out any details.



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Not much more progress....

Smeared perfect plastic putty thinned with a touch of water over the outside working it into the surface. Then a light sanding and a quick once over with the polishing stick:


The idea is to fill the little steps between the layers, not too bad as the layers are all only 40 microns thick but the surface still had a texture I didn't want.

I need to do the other half next and then coat both with a light coat of fine surface primer.... as this is the outer mould I want to be adding very slight amounts of thickness rather than sanding anything off so that the internal mould is still smaller and thus creates a space for the resin.

More later.


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I'm beginning to become a very big, nay HUGE fan of PPP

The stuff seems awesome to me, its only drawback is a reluctance to squeeze out of the tube :(

But enough about me, I just love learning these new technologies.

"I drew it up and printed it!"

If I hadn't seen it so many times I'd be calling for the witchfinder

I'm aboard for the ride thank you


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This is out of this world! Looking forward to seeing the rest come together

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Thanks for all the encouraging comments.

Here is the latest update on progress:

Got the right side smothered in a thin layer of filler:


Then sanded and polished. Both sides are now done:


Next task was to give them a coat of Tamiya fine surface primer:


Quite pleased with the results.... putting them together they look like a 737-200:


The filler and primer hasn't entirely got rid of the layer build lines - many of them are gone but a few of the larger steps are still visible:


Should be easy to get rid of with another thin coat of filler and then paint, so that's my next job before casting a resin master of each of these on which to start to add more detail (need to add NACA ducts on the fwd area of the belly bulge as well as some further back for the APU intake etc.) as well as panel lines etc.

Also now thinking about where to add small holes for later attachment of antennae (probably going to be some home made PE for those) so that they will be easy to attach - not sure as they are probably going to be in the centre-line so may not be good on a seam.

Should I make my own wings, tail and horizontal stabilisers etc. to make a full resin kit I could sell? Or just stick to the current plan of using the Airfix wings etc? The gear is another area I need to look at - not sure the airfix kit gear is really up to standard so may end up with a complete kit..... hmm might be able to sell them I guess!


Edited by Flying Badger
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I'd say 3D print your own wings, tail etcetera, however I understand that that would be a lot of extra work for you. However, if you decide to make your own kit out of this, please tell us how we can buy it!!!

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Hmm I won't promise to buy one if you make a kit

I don't even promise to buy one of anything from Airsegatamyamokuard either ('cept Airfix will get some of my dosh for a HC2 Commando and a BP Defiant) but I reckon a build of this quality will have 'them' hammering at the Badger's Sett doorways

And re: the steppings to be deridgified, have you been following Tom Probert's C17 build? That humungeous yellow banana look?

he uses Halfords Hi Build Acrylic primer filler aerosols to get a sanded smooth surface free of all unwarranted ridges and grooves

I have used the old Holts Hi-build on my motor car restorations often

Holts seems to be no more but the stuff Tom uses is very much like the surface lurking well below the paint on my MG Midget that was restored by moi fifteen or more years ago It sands beautifully and fills all and any gaps it sits in. Still looks the business

Just a thought

The new version you are making, how much extra would it take to get it into the realms of up to date 737s I wonder?

Would the new-ish maritime recce ones be a choice?

I confess to a slight 737 bias, travelled to most of my holidays in the past on them - softspotitis maybe


so far so brilliant


Edited by perdu
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FB no worries about that, it was just an idea that was floating about re an airframe I dont know a lot about

If I really needed one it would be on its way already, like a very slow Viscount build I'm toying with, slowly ;)

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Had a look and whilst the P8 maritime patrol aircraft by boeing is based on the 737, its the 737-800 with the -900 wing plus the 767 wingtips.

My 3D model shapes for the 737-200 could easily be stretched to the length of the 737-800 fuselage and the wing fillets would need some minor tweaks to get right (no big issues there).

I guess I could then add all the bulges and antennae that are needed for the P8 (again not that difficult).

Would be a basic development of my kit (no internals in this case like I am planning for the 737-200. The -900 wing isn't that difficult to scratch and then we'd be down to making some CFM56-7B engines with altered nacelles and pylons (to cope with the 180Kv generators they needed to run all the electronic kit on the P8 over the 90Kv generators on civilian 737-800s). Again not a huge challenge.

It may take a good while to get there but I could do it given time to contemplate the how and why of it.

Decals on the other hand might be more of a challenge (I can do the design in adobe illustrator but it's getting good enough printing is the issue - again not a huge problem).

Will think more on it.


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Internal primary masters are printed!

It only took 45 hours:


Lots of clean up work to do etc. and some minor re-design work (dumb errors on my part trying to think in inversed shapes of silicon rubber)

More once the masters are cleaned up and filled a bit.


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