About 3D Printed Model Airplanes
If you have doubts about how these models are designed, printed and how the fly, this page is for you.
Before anything else, watch this video.
The most common question I get is:
-How do these planes fly?
The video at the right is from FliteTest's Youtube channel, they installed cameras on the plane and filmed it in flight with a drone, these images are not only spectacular but they also allow us to see the behavior of the plane in flight. Enjoy!
This P-38 in the video requires:
- 12 channels radio if you don´t use y-cables.
- 4-5 full days straight to print on one printer if everything goes well.
All our 3D Printed planes are here.
About 3DLabPrint models
These models are designed by Stepen in the Czech Republic, are easy and quick to build and have excellent flight characteristics. The gear is pretty standard, usually 9 or 12 grams servos and two power setups are usually suggested, one composed of high quality motor, ESC and battery and another made from inexpensive HobbyKing stuff but still very capable and with good performance.
When you build from a plan or when you assemble a wood kit, usually you add parts to a developing structure, you may have the fuselage done then you may add a servo tray then you may add a motor mount and so on, on these printed planes everything is built with full integration in mind, all the internal reinforcements, all the linkages, all the ducts for wiring, all the fixtures are one with the structure, in fact, many times you have ducts for the servo wires acting as an internal wing reinforcement.
This is a revolutionary way of thinking or better, a revolutionary way of fabricating model airplanes because many of us had already thought about how good this kind of approach could be but actually doing it has always been the problem.
Even with the advent of high quality/low cost 3D printers this has not became immediately possible, it took a very gifted person, Stepen, to create a design method and correspondent print setting to make these marvelous models possible.
I hope you are not afraid to try the latest in model airplane construction, I´m sure you will be delighted with these amazing model airplanes.
A FAQ page with answers to the most common questions can be found here.
All questions are welcome. Please contact us here.
3D Printed Planes Gallery
These are just a few examples of the amazing internal structures you will find on a 3D printed model airplane.
Order 3D Printed P-38 LIGHTNING
Please select the options below.
Order the P-38 LIGHTNING kit or partsFAQ
Ordering a 3D Printed "P-38 LIGHTNING"" Kit
This tool allows you to calculate the cost of printing and shipping the P-38 LIGHTNING model airplane kit and/or spare parts.
How to order:
- Set the options on the left and click the "Calculate" button
- Change the options as needed and click "Calculate" button again.
- When you're happy with the results click the Paypal Button and finish the checkout at Paypal´s website.
- I will review the order, print and ship.
- Please keep an eye on your email inbox and SPAM folders.
- Printing the P-38 LIGHTNING takes approximately 48 hours on one single printer, thankfully we have more than one printer so your kit will be produced just in just a fraction of that.
Packaging & Postage:
- Larger parts individually packed in bubble wrap film so nothing gets lost or damaged.
- Double cardboard box.
- Priority Airmail. The tracking number will be sent to you and posted at Paypal´s website
- The PDF Assembly manual has links to web pages where you can obtain the needed electronics and even some supplies.
- On multiple kits orders, each kit will be shipped on an individual box, it wouldn't be cheaper to ship combined.
Terms of Service.
About the 3D File source:
The P-38 LIGHTNING was designed by 3DLabPrint and will be printed by AeroFred as a service.
Model Printing and Order Processing:
Printing a model airplane requires many hours of printing, typically, for the models we sell, between 24 and 280 hours if the job is done one one single printer. Luckily we have many printers so your new plane will be ready to ship in 1-2 days.
Models from 3DLabPrint can be scaled up by up to 130% depending on the model but please know that when these models are printed all the needed fixtures for motor, battery pack, servos, links, wiring ducts are also printed so they would all be scaled so additional work will be required on your end to fit the gear.
As an example, the Edge uses 5 grams servos, if scaled to 130% (1,56m) the servo slots will hold 12 grams servos perfectly but the motor mount will have to be adapted. This can be easily done by using bolts from end to end and washers in the back. Not beg deal. But on the P-47 that uses retracts the ob is not this easy, you would have to create a plate with holes to secure the retracts to the wing.
We can´t do modifications at design level. However, PLA glues very well with CA and accelerator so you can do as in any other model airplane kit, you can add balsa or lite ply and you can make any modifications yourself.
You will receive:
- Complete P-38 LIGHTNING 3D Printed KIT on PLA or individual parts for the same model, depending on your order.
- One piece of printed PLA, some bad print I may have around here, so you can do your experiments and tests instead of trying on the plane itself.
- Cardboard box with appropriate cushioning so the parts are protected during the shipment.
- Assembly manual printed copy from 3DLabPrint if requested at the ordering page.
The paper manual is free but not included by default because it adds weight that may make the postage costs climb considerably. I reserve the right to add the paper manual or not.
In any case the manual can be downloaded in PDF format in this same page and it will have links to web pages where some of the needed parts an be ordered.
You will NOT receive:
- 3d .stl or .gcode files, project files or any files at all apart from the pdf manual.
- CA Glue or CA Accelerator.
- Electronic components.
- Wheels, hinges, propellers, screws, piano wire, carbon fiber tubes or rods, paint or decals.
Vinyl decals do not stick on 3d printed planes, the only way to add insignia, camouflage, letterings is to paint with acrylic spray paint and a stencil or a mask.
Assembly and preparation:
Modeling work it´s your job :)
You will have to follow the manual to assembly this kit and do all the work needed, this is a model airplane Kit, not a toy.
About our printers:
We use high quality original 3D Printers, no Chinese clone printers or cheap Ebay 3d printers.
About the different filament types:
PLA is the most used material on 3d printing today, it prints well, with good finishing and little or no warping. We use the top quality filaments made from NatureWorks Ingeo3D870 high temperature and high resistance to impact polymer.
ABS is one of the most commonly used plastic, Legos are ABS, your car bumpers are probably ABS. This material has a high resistance to heat and it´s strong. It would be perfect for our planes if it wasn´t so hard to print.
PET-G is the material used on plastic bottles, it´s very strong and has a heat resistance close to ABS, the only drawback is it´s flexibility. PET-G it´s a little more flexible than PLA but is still a great material for printed model airplanes.
As you see no material is perfect, I could continue describing other materials such as nylon, carbon impregnated PLA and so on and we would always find positive and negative aspects for each one of them.
Solution, we use PLA, namely NatureWorks Ingeo3D870 PLA that is one of the best, if not the best PLA in production today and for landing gears, motor mounts and other parts that require higher temperature tolerance and/or mechanical resistance we use ABS or PET-G when necessary.
We will use strong double wall cardboard boxes and the appropriate cushioning to protect each one of the printed parts, every part is rolled on bubble wrap plastic film.
We ship from Portugal, Europe and use the reliable Portuguese mail system CTT.
CTT has delivery agreements with different entities on each country so if you´re from the US you may have your order delivered by USPS, in the UK may be Royal Mail and so on.
Postage Rates Types:
We charge according to the ctt.pt postage table
. The smaller planes that fit boxes up to 90cm (sum of the three dimensions) and weighting less than 2kg we ship as a "letter" so the postage it´s cheap, larger planes have to be shipped as a "package", this is why the postage it´s expensive for medium and large planes.
Priority Mail w/ Tracking:
All 3D Printed models and parts are shipped by priority mail that is traceable, larger boxes are shipped as a package that is also registered and traceable and will arrive as quick as priority mail.
We will only accept returns of non assembled, undamaged complete models or spare parts.
Postage fees from the original order are non refundable and you will have to pay the postage back to us.
No re-stocking fee if everything arrives in good condition.
In doubt please ask us
for an opinion.
Orders can be paid with Paypal
or Credit Card
via Paypal and are shipped to the address on your Paypal account or to the address you set at checkout.
Placing an order on this page implies acceptance of the above Terms of Service.