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3D printing just another form of masochism?


Elite member
I only "design" and print in spurts. Usually weeks or months apart. When I do it's a good thing I'm retired and have all this time and filament to waste on miserable failures. For now I use TinkerCad exclusively and am getting slightly better at it with every failure. Unfortunately my failure ratio is still about 3:1 to the bad.

My present project is a scratch build of the Mountain Models SwitchBack Sport. I already have several of them ready to fly as well as a few N.I.B. kits stashed away with dozens of other kits hermetically sealed for building during the future zombie apocalypse after Covid-19. I'm bored and just want to make as many 3D printed parts as I can for a SwitchBack. Luckily I have plans for a very early V-1 kit and it's design has a more conventional (scratch build-able) wing design than the later full laser designed version. I scratch built a few of these wings a few years ago and will use one for this build. The V-2 fuselage design is little changed. The formers are what I'm redesigning and 3D printing. In my modified update there are a total of 9 formers. At this point I've modified and printed each one to my specs a minimum of 3 times, modifying each one as I go and none are even close to the original design. Each former taking very close to or over 1 hour to print to see just how bad I screwed up. Most of my former designs are finally usable now. Right now I'm printing up my own design main landing gear receiver that will allow removal of the gear just because I want to. CURA says this one intricate file will be a 2 hour 18 minute print. I hope I got it right the first time!

I could have cut most of the parts from balsa or lite ply in a fraction of the time and have actually done just that in the past. I have my daughters 3D printer for now so why not just do it the hardest way possible? I don't get mad at my failures. I look at them as yet another learning experience to help me improve as I go. I really wish I could 3D print wing ribs but TinkerCad at least for me isn't capable. My TinkerCad experience while helping me with absolute basics hasn't prepped me much for a more advanced CAD program either. The next CAD step is going to be a BIG one and I'm not looking forward to it without some sort of classroom training. I'm a Vet and am hoping to find a free local CAD class but have had no luck so far. I'll keep looking though. I'd love to actually know what the heck I'm doing and hopefully do it right the first time!



Elite member
I teach high school level CAD on occasion using AutoCAD and KeyCreator. Both are quite expensive though. KeyCreator has a free student edition, but the file output is very limited.

I also use a few 3D animation suites regularly. I even use one to design planes.

I can't guarantee I can help with whatever CAD program you decide to go with, but I will if I can.