Maybe your grandparents give you checks for Christmas or make the best cookies, but can they make you a rocket? Chris Knowlton became inspired to make a rocket ship playhouse for his 2-year-old grandson, Benjamin and the result is breathtaking.

Using his knowledge of 3D printing, Knowlton created his designs based around a similar rocket from MakerBot. Standing at nearly two feet tall, the rocket was printed in sections using the Printrbot Simple Metal 3D printer with a total 194 parts. It took Knowlton nearly 400 hours to print the rocket, moon rover, and all the accessories. Some people don’t even have the patience to finish a 3D puzzle!

Though he started out using free slicer and host software, Knowlton switched to Simplify3D, 3D printing software that aims to ease the 3D printing process.

3d-printed-rocketship-benjamin-04 Once the super grandpa purchased the software, he found the project to go smoother. “The features in Simplify3D made it easy for me to keep track of time and material. The cost in plastic was $118.00 or around the cost of four 2-pound rolls of plastic. There are 194 plastic pieces with a total print time of 367 hours. There was also close to $20 of non-plastic parts in the metal axles and square o-rings that made up the center portion of the tires.”

The software also provided him with durable parts, such as a three-layer shell, five bottom solid layers, and seven top solid layers to protect the playhouse from a rambunctious 2-year-old. For the rest of the accessories, which includes space beds, computer cabinet, flight control panel, and moonscape viewer all for the plastic astronauts, Knowlton created them using Autodeck Inventor.

You have to imagine the joy on little Benjamin’s face once the rocket was completed. Not only does it show the endless things you can make with 3D printing technology, but it also shows how love can be the ultimate inspiration. Now go bother your grandparents for your own rocket.




The one-man ace engineering wrecking crew - If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find me, maybe you can hire... the Cabe-team.