HMS Indomitable Build

a [nearly] complete 3D printed build (isn't technology grand!)

HMS Indomitable

(Invincible class battlecruiser)

A build-it-yourself hobby like ours, we've naturally had some members experimenting with 3D printers since the days they had to build their printers for themselves. However, more recently, one member in particular (Will Tustin) has really spent a lot of time (and multiple drafts, tests, re-design, print again, test again, etc...) trying to see what it would take to actually 3D print hulls capable of holding up in our combat.

Will recently designed and 3D printed several different ships. Looking for some captains to build and test them (and since I had experience printing and making other parts for my ships, Will was kind enough to give me an Invincible-class battlecruiser to assemble and test).  Have I mentioned before this hobby has such great people!

Getting the "Lay of the Land"

I wanted to get an idea of what Will had designed, how it would go together, and what internals Will had designed into the hull that would not have to be gled in later (like our normal ship construction process prior to these 3D designs). I laid out the four printed sections of the hull so I could take a gander at what I was working with:

The two stern-most sections

I really like how Will designed-in the rudder posts and rudder servo mounts, as well as the drive motor mounts and gearboxes. Even the holes for the stuffing tubes are already there aligned with the gearboxes.

the two bow sections

The bow already has mounts to hold the CO2 bottle that will power the cannons.

the whole ship

I am REALLy going to enjoy not having to cut out windows, and not even having to deal with the subdeck (it's all moddled in - just drop the deck in!)


Smoothing Surfaces

The first thing to do is to carve and sand the excess plastic bulged out around the base of each hull section as it printed.  I recommend using a razor knife to cut away most, then running a palm sanded quickly along the outer edge to smooth it down to the countour of the rest of the hull.

Sealing the Printed Layers

I have always been told that brushing acetone over an ABS printed model will slightly melt and bond the layers of the print, making the print stronger.

I stand each hull piece up on a sheet of wax paper (to keep the bottom from sticking) and lightly brush acetone over the entire piece.   Only use enough acetone to make the plastic look shiney (the acetone mostly soaks in) but NOT ENOUGH TO RUN/DRIBBLE down the surface (if any dribbles quickly brush it back and spread it over another area - you really do not want excess acetone to collect on the wax paper at the bottom or the pooled acetone could be too much and warp the bottom rib)

Chasing the Joining Bolts

Each hull section will be joined to the adjacent hull with four bolts. Clear out the holes with a drill bit the same size as the bolts (I recommend just turning the bit by hand)