3D Printing Saturn V printed engine bells


Well-Known Member
Jan 18, 2009
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Indianapolis, Indiana
I have both an Estes #2157 and #1969 still in the box and will pick up the new Saturn kits when they're generally available. I was considering building one of them with some mods. One of those mods was to make it 5x 24mm and use the Estes 24mm motor retainers. Since I'll have 5 screw on retainers, I had the idea of 3D printing engine bells to attach to those retainers to give a more scale look. My questions are:

1) Will a printed engine bell attach to the Estes motor retainer plastic very well? Its all moot if I have to repair them after each flight. I don't build rockets for display, I like to fly them.
2) Since I don't have a 3D printer myself, is there an easy method to get them printed by a service or is that cost prohibitive? What is the recommended service and how would I get them the required info?
2B) I was looking at buying an Ender 5 Pro. At $400 plus filament, is that a wise investment for something I'd use maybe a few times per year for things like this? Is there a better printer for cheaper?

Michael L

Random Pixel Generator
TRF Supporter
Sep 21, 2020
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Weimar, TX
1) Depends on the plastic but I think epoxy is a good candidate

2) There is and it might be cheaper than owning a printer for a one off, depends on the size of item, but there is some satisfaction in DIY.

3) Check the Ender 3 Pro build size. They are about to come out with the Ender 3 Max (larger).

I just finished building a Prusa I3 MKs kit. During the build I used colorful language, asked questions like why the #&$% did you do it this way, and generally got irritated at various places along the way. Once I switched to the online build manual, with LARGE photos, I settled into the task and enjoyed it. After the build I was glad that I built it and I wished I had bought a 3D printer sooner. I didn't do a lot of fluffy printing (frogs and stegosaurus heads). I went right printing things I wanted like one off tools for spacing centering rings, small rocket nosecone (designed by a a forum member), etc.

One last thing - a 3D printer is even more useful if you can design your own "stuff" but there's already a lot of "stuff" out there. Prusa Slicer is free and necessary for converting STL files to gcode. Youtube is your friend.

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