Images representing different hobbies

Model Engineering

Ever since I was a boy, I was in awe of the working mechanical models to be seen in the pages of Model Engineer magazine or on television programmes like Bob Symes' Model World. In 1999 I managed to acquire both a daughter and a lathe, and against all the odds started my journey in model engineering.

You can buy my books including the Mini-Lathe, Norden: Building a Victoirian Steam Engine and The Home Workshop Dictionary using the links below:

Hardback and Paperback Books



Ebooks and Kindle


Lunokhod 1 and 2 were a pair of exceptionally successful robotic moon rovers that the Soviet Union sent to the moon in 1970 and 1973. Owing to the politics of the time this remarkable achievement went largely unnoticed in the west.

The eight-wheeled rovers were about the size of a small car, and in fact they were intended to act as safety/escape vehicles to support manned lunar expeditions.

Lunokhod '0' was destroyed when its launch vehicle exploded in 1969, but Lunokhod's 1 and 2 were successful. Lunokhod 3 was never launched and is on display in the Lavochin Museum.

I had a fascination with the Lunokhod program as a youngster, fuelled by the almost complete lack of information about the missions. When I got a 3D printer I discovered that no-one appears to have made one before, although there are some excellent conventional models. So I put that right and made my own Lunokhod 1.

A 3D printed Lunokhod

You can download STL files to print your own Lunokod using the link at the bottom of this page.

£D printed model of Lunokhod 1

My model is based on the exceptionally useful plans at and I fully acknowledge Vincent Meens as my main source for dimensional and constructional information on the Lunokhod. That said, the pdf files on his website were unsuitable for making a 3D digital model, so I redrew the rover entirely in TurboCAD from scratch. I have modelled Lunokhod 1, as I was becoming stir crazy and did not have the patience to add all of the extra accessories for Lunokhod 2.

I have not yet finished painting Lunokhod, I will add a photo when the job is complete.

3d printed model of Lunokhod 1

A note on the STL files.

I hate the poor quality STLs on many 3D sharing sites that are impossible to print. All of the STLs in this zip folder have been printed at actual size (dimensions in millimetres) WITHOUT SUPPORTS. That said, many of the parts are not in an optimal orientation for printing and will need to be arranged to suit your printer.

The exceptions are:

  • The low gain antennae. these are just too thin to print, I suggest you use four bits of wire.
  • The lid, which needs to be rpinted as two halves on tehir sides, and glued together - you can see the seam in the photos.
  • The model of Lunokhod as a whole, this is just to give you a guide as to how it should look.

You WILL need to be careful and creative in the use of cyanoacrylate glue to put everything together. I have NOT included assembly instructions, reference to Vincent Meen's drawings, photos of Lunokhod 3 and the STL of the assembled Lunokhod should be enough to guide you in assembling the model.

STL model of Lunokhod 1

My basic print settings were PLA, 0.14mm layers, 0.56mm top and bottom layers, 25% fill and 0.8mm skin width (0.4mm nozzle). The printer was my Prusa i3 made from a Factory3D kit, these are UK made and rather better than the stock acrylic frame kits and cost about 50% more.

STL Files for Printing Your Own Lunokhod

Creative Commons Licence
Lunokhod 1 3D by Neil Wyatt / Stub Mandrel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.



This is a model of the Mars rover, Curiosity, made up from 3D printed parts produced on my Prusa i3.

I obtained the STL files from NASA's collection of printable 3D models. This is the smaller, less detailed version of the Curuiosity Rover, but it still looks great. I have afeeling i won't be able to resist printing teh larger, more detailed and accurate version!

NASA Curiosity Rover £D model with Mars terrain


Do you find that 0.004" / ~0.1mm isn't quite as fine a feed as you would like on your mini lathe?

When you want a really superb finish, use a pair of 100T change wheels instead of 80T with your 20T gears to get a fine feed of 0.0025" per revolution on an imperial mini lathe or 0.06mm on a metric one.

100T 1 mod Mini Lathe Changewheel

Download this STL file for 3D printing. It is a 100-tooth 1-mod gear , 8mm thick with a 12mm bore and a 1.5mm deep by 3mm wide keyway. Print two and you now have access to a really fine feed.

Fans of cult Canadian science fiction movie 'The Cube' can now live out the experience of escaping from a three-dimensional maze in their own living rooms!


This Cube is a 27 'room' maze with a 15mm ball bearing trapped inside. The' exits' are on opposite faces, one in a corner, the other in the middle so you can tell which is which. How long will it take you to move the ball from one exit to the other? Of course the catch is that the ball is permanently trapped, dropped in during the print process.

You can download the STL file of the cube and print your own.

As a 'clue' here's what the Cube looks like inside, credit to Moduleworks' free, simple and really handy STLview program.

Inside Cube

The example Cube was printed using the 'standard' setting of a Dremel 3D40 Idea Builder printer. Advice for printing your own is:

  • Don't use any supports - they will block the maze!
  • Make sure your printer settings can cope with bridges up to about 17mm long, this should be OK on most printers if you have the right settings.
  • Ideally use a 15mm ball bearing or a marble. One down to 1/2" or 13mm should not to come out of the holes, but any much larger than 15mm may get jammed. That said, bigger ball bearings make a more satisfying clunk as they move around the maze.
  • You can use a smaller ball bearing, but it won't remain trapped inside, which is half the fun of the object - something you can't take apart without destroying it!
  • The best time to put the bearing in the print is while the second or third layer is being built - pause the print and drop the ball through any hole that links to the layer below out of the way of the print head. If you can't pause then you will have to judge a moment when the print head is occupied elsewhere!
  • If you use a solid colour rather than a translucent one, the cube will be even harder to solve!

Finally if you print your own Cube, please post a pic online and share this page!

Well not quite golden... this one is mostly brass witha bit of anodised aluminium. lightly antiqued and sprayed in celulose laquer to keep it shiny.

The snitch is the crucial element of the game Quidditch in the Harry Potter books and movie, but also plays a critical role at the end of the series 'I Open at the Close'.

The feather/wings are sheet brass, etched both sides with a freehand feather texture and a silver soldered 'stalk'. The base is from a long-gone 'executive toy' abacus!

Full size golden snitch model


Another view of the full size snitch model