Saturday, February 4, 2017

3D Printed Micro Rail Guide

On the 3D printing website Thingiverse, user dcullen has created what you see above - a micro rail guide for model rockets, to be used with the MakerBeam rail in place of a launch rod and launch lugs. Click here to go to the page.

Thingiverse is a website where makers create designs for all kinds of objects which can be 3D printed. They upload the files to the site, and anyone else can download the files and print the objects. Pretty cool stuff.

Using a MakerBeam, which is a t-slot aluminum extrusion, as a launch pad enables a small low power model rocket to be launched from a rail, like many high power rockets are done.

MakerBeam micro rails. Image from

 Since rail extrusion is so sturdy, it means that you can have a much longer launch guide. A 1/8 inch diameter rod will begin to suffer from rod whip when it gets much longer than 3 feet. And on windy days, any rod can rock back and forth while you're waiting to launch. A rail pad is less likely to rock like that.

I don't own a 3D printer myself, and I don't know that much about the process, but this popped up in one of my Google alerts, so I thought I'd share it here for anyone who might find it useful.

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1 comment:

  1. FYI, there are online 3D printing services that are fairly reasonable, like Shapeways.

    What hardware do you recommend for holding the rail? My club has a pretty serious looking launch pad (with rail), but I have never seen such pads available for sale.