3D Printing a Plug

John holding the finished pattern

The finished pattern. CAD and rendering in the background

We at SCAD Design have recently completed the design of another high performance F3T/Q40 Pylon Racing model for other client, A1 Composites. This required a large amount of complex surface modeling and in consultation with A1 Composites, the adaption of a real life full scale racer (the Midget Mustang) to meet the F3T and Q40 regulations.

Once the design was completed, we had a need to have the fuselage pattern (or plug) machined so that the fiberglass moulds could be cast, which in turn would be used for production of the model. These model aircraft are exported and flown all around the world.

Traditionally, a pattern would be manufacture by machining the finished form into a polyurethane tooling board material which would be polish, finished and used for casting the moulds.

We decided to trial our in-house 3D printer to produce the pattern in sections and with an ingenious use of a carbon fibre pole, location pins and accurately printed fitment collars, we were able to ensure the sections would be all perfectly straight and aligned when fitted together.

One of benefits of making the pattern this way is the sharpness of detail that can be achieved and the robust strength of the finished pattern.  We look forward to seeing finished part coming out of the moulds.

Midget Mustang Plug

Midget Mustang Plug

Midget Mustang Render

Midget Mustang Render


A time lapse of the mid section of the pattern being 3D printed on our Ultimaker2.