Ah! The early days of flight! Experimental flights, experimental aircraft and, most interesting of all, experimental engines. Since 1903 there have been all matter of engines from air-cooled to liquid-cooled, inline, v-type, rotary, piston, turbine, and more.

A bump in the 100+ year history of the aircraft engine is the Curtiss Number 3, a V-8 water-cooled, electric-start engine that would power the AEA Silver Dart experimental aircraft. It’s an engine that won’t make any ‘best of’ lists but one that did set the stage for many a decision about powered flight to come.

Erich Weidenhammer, aka ‘Erich with an H’ on Thingiverse, has captured a recreation of the Curtiss No. 3 based on a scan of the original 1908 artifact displayed at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum (CASM). He has scaled it, optimized it, and made the engine available for 3D printing.

The polygon mesh generated through [the scan] process provided dimensional information for a parametric CAD model at 1/8 scale which was made using Autodesk Fusion 360 software. The original dimensions have been adjusted in order to be printable using a consumer-level FDM printer with a standard .5mm nozzle. The model has been separated into pieces in order to make it possible to print at this scale.

Curtiss Number 3 aircraft engine. Source: Instagram – hammerwerk_ca

As you can see, at 1/8 scale, this is a small print but no less beautiful. The 23 detailed parts were printed with a PRUSA i3 MK2S. Supports are used for the cylinder bank as well as the engine case which also contains alignment channels. He recommends having some tools handy, ones you may have for model building, including hobby files, sand paper, emery boards, sprue cutter, CA glue and, of course, primer and paint.

Erich has provided complete instructions, along with all the files, and a brief history of the engine. You can grab the model over at Thingiverse. Erich has a number of other model aircraft-related designs and this great 3d printable paint rack for all your model paints!

You also don’t want to miss other great shots of the build and more projects Erich has done and has in work on his Instagram profile. Check it out!

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Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.