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(EN) 3D printing: Glider type Schleicher K7

  • German Schleicher K7 glider is one of the most popular two-seat trainer gliders in a world of aviation, so we decided to pay homage to it by printing 1:33 3D model with all exact details on it. We will explain the whole process which was quite complicated and took many working hours, but the final result was very satisfying.

    3D model download:





    Three basic parts are printed: body and two wings. The print itself was rough (support), so it requested cleaning and cutting with an eraser blade (you have to be very careful here not to cut yourself!).





    Next step is sanding. We will have a lot of sanding here, so arm yourself with a lot of patience! 400 sand paper and nail sander were used in order to get surface smooth. Once that part is done, body filler (used in automotive industry) was applied to cover all spots which had small holes and uneven surfaces. This process has to be repeated several times until all holes are filled and all surfaces are flat, because we will use fine body filler (appllied by using spray gun). The better you prepare it - the easier to sand it, simple as that. Every single time you apply body filler, you have to leave it for one day to get dry before sanding. In this case, we had to repeat this step 5 times.





    OK, this is the tricky part: wings have to be attached to the body, so we had to find the way how to do it. After several possible options, we decided to drill both wings and insert 3 nails in it and glue it with epoxy. We also have to drill 3 holes in the body, of course, and use epoxy to assure that connection is really strong.





    Wings are finally attached and epoxy is dry. We can apply several layers of fine body filler now (spray gun). We will also check other parts and add more filler if needed. The connection between the body and the wings has to be covered well, because we do not want it to be visible, everything has to be perfect to look like it is made as one single model. We will also use one trick which is used in automotive field: the whole model will be covered with coal powder or black paint and we will sand it by using (in?) X shape motions. In that case, sanding paper will remove the black surface and everything will be light gray, again. All remaining black spots are the ones which are not even with the rest of it and more filler will be applied on those spots until everything is perfect.





    And here we go: the glider is ready to be painted. Filler is dry, all surfaces are perfectly smooth, all details are checked and now it is time to make the plan how to paint it. We also located test pieces of signs to see what size of letters and numbers we will use.





    As we mentioned earlier, it is very important to make a plan, in fact, steps how you will paint the subject. Some signs will be black, some will be white, so what to paint first before adding stickers with letters and numbers? Under the wing, sign is black. Signs on body are white. Only those small parts will be painted in black and white and then we added sticker signs on top of it. Later on, those stickers will be removed and original paint will appear. This is the best way to achieve clean letters and numbers or some logos, whatever you need for your project. Make sure that stickers which you use, do not have strong glue, otherwise it could remove the paint under it and cause damage which can be very difficult to fix later on.





    After applying all stickers on already sprayed paint, it is time to spray another paint on top of it. We suggest to use several thin layers, because thick layers of paint could damage stickers, but also it can get under stickers and leave marks. First color will be white, but only for wings.





    Once we are done with white, we have to mask both wings by using 3M thin elastic tape in order to protect it, because next color is red (for the body only). Make sure that tape is glued well, because another paint could get under it.





    Next paint is chrome. Same procedure: masking all parts and leaving only cabin and skid opened. Make sure you do not have any opened spots. Also, considering the model is small and very fragile, we suggest to put some kind of an old blanket on floor or desk, just in case if you drop it. Lesson learned.





    OK, all done! Check everything very well before removing signs/stickers just in case if you need to correct some parts. If everything is OK, all stickers will be removed (small sharp eraser). You have to be very careful here, becauase you could scratch paint under those stickers. The glider looks great and it is ready to be clear coated now.





    Four coats of high gloss clear coat are applied. You have to wait for 30 minutes between each coat of clear coat before applying the next one. It has to be really dry. Colors looks much brighter now, your work is protected and all that high gloss will add magical touch to your project. Special stainless steal base and holder are made for our glider to keep it safe. We hope you enjoyed our article and found some information and tips which could help you in your future projects. Safe flight!