The X-24 Interstellar spacecraft design is the first spacecraft in our “Imagine the Future” space series. Over the years there have been several X-24 designs in both “real life” and fiction. Our idea was sparked by the fiction realm in the form of an old model rocket from a company “Centuri” that produced a model rocket called the X-24 “bug”. It was a rather odd flying model made out of cardboard that you formed into shape and glued. You can see it here in a page from their old 1972 catalog.
We were not able to find much more on the “bug”. But we did locate a number of other old photos depicting the interesting color scheme and even an oblong “bulkhead” photo, giving us a few “starting point” dimensions. With this, we set to work designing our own X-24 as a 3D design. That’s what we have here for you. We hope you enjoy it!
Here is a list of things you will need to make your X-24 Interstellar spacecraft:
- Our X-24 download you can get it here.
- Silver or gray PLA. We used CERPRiSE Gray because it has a “silverish – metallic” sheen we liked.
3. Black PLA we used Jayo black PLA+
4. If you are going to add decals, some red, black, and white vinyl. We have included both image and SVG files that you can use to cut your own (or print and glue your own).
The X-24 Interstellar spacecraft
The X-24 consists of four parts:
- Crew cabin
- Interstellar Motor
You may notice in the photo above that the X-24 appears to “hover”. This illusion is possible with the help of a hidden stand we designed for it.
The hidden stand consists of two parts:
- Stand bottom
- Stand top
Printing this out of Jayo black PLA makes it almost invisible when you position the stand in its proper place under the ship at the rear.
Printing The Stand
The Stand bottom (the file stand_bottom.stl) requires no supports and only 20% infill.
We recommend a layer height of .1mm for this small part.
The top of the stand (the file stand_top.stl) also requires no supports to print.
We recommend a layer height of .2mm or .3mm as its not really visible.
Printing The X-24 Itself
The X-24 nose is printed in Jayo black. You will need the file “nose_cone.stl”.
We recommend 15% infill at a layer height of .1mm. No supports are required.
The X-24 crew cabin is also printed in Jayo Black. You will need the file “cabin.stl”.
We printed the interstellar motor using two different colors of filament. If you have not tried changing colors during a print, check our article Check out are article “Lets Make Tracks” on this if you need help on how this is done (https://www.imagination-3d.com/adapted-designs-lets-make-tracks/)on possible ways to do this. You will need the file “rocket_motor.stl”
The motor is printed in the orientation show with supports. We recommend 20% infill with a layer height of .1mm. We used CERPRiSE Gray starting at the base plate up to layer 78 (7.8mm) then changed the filament to Solutech Silver Metal PLA.
The hull of the X-24 is the trickiest bit to print. You will need the file “hull.stl”. The hull should be oriented this way on your build plate:
Because of the way we “built” the hull and wanting to print the hull itself (not the fins) hollow using vase mode, we had to separate all the connecting meshes. If you wish to do this using Simplify3D, load the hull and use the function mesh Separate connected surfaces. This will separate the fins from the hull. Once this is done, select all the meshes that are associated with the fins and create a process to print them at 20% infill with supports (the fins are tapered from the build plate). Then, select the central “hull” itself and set that process to print in vase mode.
Its not a “must” to print the hull this way but will cut down on filament. If your slicer does not have this capability print the entire hull at 20% infill with a layer height of .3mm.
Assembly of the X-24
Assembly of your X-24 is easy. First, glue the nose to the hull front.
After the glue dries, Glue the crew cabin in place. On the hull you will see the spot well defined where you need to glue it. Only a small amount of glue is needed.
The mounting location is in line with one of the fins.
The interstellar motor is the last part to be glued and fits in the hole at the rear of the hull.
Your X-24 is now ready for some artwork!
We tried to replicate the style of the artwork from the original X-24 bug and have included decal files for you to either cut a vinyl cutter or print. Here are the files you will need:
Printing decals will require you to experiment with the scaling of each and your particular graphics program. Each fin will require one set of the fin / fin2 decal.
The main decal wraps around the hull of the ship. The “slot” in the decal should fit around the fin on the top of the ship. If you do print decals, we recommend the 3M 77 adhesive we used in our article on 3D printed train tank cars
Vinyl Cutter Templates
For those with vinyl cutters we have included SVG files as well. They are scaled and ready to cut:
You will need Red, black, and white vinyl. The white vinyl has no template. You just need to cut a small square of white and place it behind the red decal after weeding.
x24 – hull – red.svg
We have included small locator “blocks” for lining up the black main body decal on top of the red one after cutting. This will allow you to place the completed decal assembly in place on the ship. This article is not intended to function as a guide on vinyl cutting.
x24 – hull – black.svg
The black X24 fin decal needs to be applied on top of the fin decal below it. The decal is very fragile so take your time when applying this one. For placement of all the decals, check out the photos of the X-24 in this article. You will need to cut three sets of these decals for the fins. You will also need to mirror each of these two in your cutter software in order to have the decal for the “other side” of each fin.
X24 – fin – black.svg
X24 – fin – red.svg
Depending on the approach you have taken (decals or vinyl) will determine what you need to do to make your X-24 look like ours. We would love to see how yours came out and hope you enjoy many intergalactic journeys!
Stay tuned for more “Imagine The Future” space series!