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Jul 17, 2017, 09:59 PM
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Build Log

3DLabPrint P-51D Mustang

This thread will focus on the assembly of the 3DLabPrints P-51D
Mustang from a purchased ready-to-assemble kit, not covering
setups and parts fab with DIY printers. The Mustang was obtained from Aero Fred has multiple printers operational and can produce any of the 3DLP aircraft in the requester's choice of colors. More information - check the website listed earlier.

The pictures show the Mustang parts in clear translucent PLA - to allow better insight into the internal structure than possible with opaque colored PLA, and also for more flexibility with color schemes. Note the internal layouts of the wing and fuselage interiors, quite impressive.
Last edited by pwyoung; Jul 18, 2017 at 08:53 AM. Reason: minor corrections
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Jul 17, 2017, 10:18 PM
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3DLabPrint Mustang - documentation

Before getting into the nitty gritty of the kit, let's chat a bit about the Mustang's documentation as I started the project.
First, User Guide. A paper 'hard copy' is included in the kit; there is also a User Guide downloadable from the 3DLabPrint home page. The two versions are NOT equivalent and the downloaded version has substantially more content that the assembler will find useful.
Second, online video guides. There's a significant amount of assembly info in the Mustang online video guides, with several subtleties not depicted in the User Guides. Here's a summary of the video guides, all accessible from either 3DLP's site or YouTube. .#4, wing assembly; #5, fuselage assembly; #6, motor and ESC setup; #7, servo installation; #8, rc equipment install; #9, pushrods; #10, final completion; #11, flying demo. I believe control surface settings are mentioned in #11, nowhere else.
Jul 17, 2017, 10:35 PM
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3DLabPrint P-51D Mustang - as received

Another set of the kit pieces, the parts count is quite low. The fuselage consists of five individual sections, the wing has six sections. The design has aileron and elevator controls, two pieces per control surface. Wingspan is 39.1", length 32", AUW (with 6S 1300 mah LiPo), 30 ounces. AeroFred recommends any 3530 or 3536 Hobby King brushless , 1400 Kv, which will turn a 9x6 with a 3S 2200 mah LiPo. The 3DLP site has recommendations for high performance and econo propulsion setups.
Last edited by pwyoung; Jul 18, 2017 at 08:54 AM.
Jul 17, 2017, 10:41 PM
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Despite the "newness" of this type of assembly , extra time and TLC to assure good alignments , the 3DLP P-51D was assembled in just over an hour. At this point, the plane is essentially fully assembled and ready for paint and equipment installation, in whatever order you would prefer.
Jul 19, 2017, 07:02 AM
"Spark Chaser"
jokeane's Avatar

Paint and markings?

Do you plan to paint the PLA? Airbrush? Rattle cans? Brush?

How do you plan to do markings / details ?

I'm very curious what the best results will be with. I've both the Spitfire and BF-109 to be printed.
Jul 19, 2017, 07:17 AM
"Spark Chaser"
jokeane's Avatar

Current cost of P-51 kit is $77 shipped from

Since '' shows euros on the website, I was curious what the cost of a shipped pre-printed kit would be to the USA.
I'm sure many others are also interested to know.

For a 1m (39") WS kit without any hardware, this seems a tad more than I would expect. Not totally unreasonable considering overseas shipping.

I wonder if a local 3D printing services would cost less? Perhaps joining a local makerspace? In Madison a membership to is ~$100 / month and they have many 3D printers available. Perhaps it would make sense if you wanted to print several kits?

The cost of just PLA for this kit would be ~ $25 or less. Plus cost of 3D Lab Print plan is $20. So $45 if you already have access to a printer. I guess if you factor in the time of use on the 3D printer (40+ hours) perhaps this cost seems more reasonable.

Certainly an interesting option for people without a printer handy.
Jul 19, 2017, 09:21 AM
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painting the 3DLP P-51

Originally Posted by jokeane
Do you plan to paint the PLA? Airbrush? Rattle cans? Brush?

How do you plan to do markings / details ?

I'm very curious what the best results will be with. I've both the Spitfire and BF-109 to be printed.
Jokeane: extremely good question. Yesterday I primered the structure with Rustoleum white primer spray
after first smoothing down "nits and zits' on the structure, not very good photogenic material so no pictures taken. The
final preps prior to final color will be dry- and wet-sanding the primer, using 320 w&d paper so far. A base coat will
be applied, then color for major areas, all Rustoleum (based on reported non-issues by others on this forum). With
primer and base colors applied, I'm confident small finish areas can be hand-painted with common enamel paints
without affecting the PLA. I'll post a separate message on plans for "stars and bars" and other insignia markings.
Jul 19, 2017, 09:49 AM
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P-51D markings

I found this nifty set of P-51D insignia in a Guillows rubber model kit that I've been saving "for a rainy day". The Guillows markings are slightly reduced in scale size for the 3DLP model as the Guillows model spans 27" compared to the 3DLP's 39". However the size discrepancy is not that noticeable and quite adequate for this sport aircraft IMO - I haven't seen any full scale P-51Ds with an outrunner motor hanging off the nose Checking the Guillows website, they offer replacement decal sheets for all their scale kits. This P-51D decal sheet costs $3.00 (!) and insignias are offered in several other sizes and variations. This is a very attractive option for markings compared to alternatives!
Last edited by pwyoung; Jul 19, 2017 at 10:00 AM. Reason: price correction, other updates.
Jul 19, 2017, 07:02 PM
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Wing to fuselage 'peg' attach gizmo

The 'peg' that holds the wing to the fuselage slides back and forth in a slot located on the below-fuselage engine intake piece. The solid cylindrical section, approximately 7/16" OD, fits into a socket on a fuselage mini bulkhead. A little sanding on the peg tabs was needed to get a good sliding fit and the 'socket' needed some cleaning out with a round file. The final setup appears quite robust and flightworthy. The wing LE is restrained by a simple small shelf fitting into a matching fuselage slot, no issues there.
Jul 19, 2017, 09:53 PM
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Prepped for final paint

Mustang has been primered, contoured, fine sanded, will soon be ready for final paint. Rustoleum primer used, uneventfully.
Jul 22, 2017, 05:53 PM
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Hi, Pete,
Fred referred me to you regarding the painting of a 3D printed plane (Mustang). I asked: "If one considers painting, can you provide any tips? Using a filler to smooth the surface would presumably add too much weight, and smooth sanding the plastic is presumably problematic? Is a matt finish on the rough surface (as printed) perhaps an option?" Since I want to fly the plane, significant added weight must be avoided, but some colour is helpful with orientation visibility. Did you check the additional weight of the paint filler and undercoat?
Jul 22, 2017, 07:06 PM
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Chris of, great questions and I'll pass on what I can. I do quite a bit of
'contract' model building and a few years ago, was really annoyed by paint
runs, paint lifting, and the worse of all, the dreaded 'orange peel'. I set out on an
aggressive program to figure out risk reduction measures and have applied
them to the 3DLP P-51D. I of course don't claim to have all the answers to
achieving a lightweight quality finish but here's a quick synopsis of work done
on the Mustang so far.
a) I considered sanding the PLA down to total smoothness, as I've seen in other
posts on this forum, but was dissuaded by AeroFred who cautioned against this
for reasons that sounded reasonable to me. I thus first sanded down the
external surfaces to remove 'nits and zits' and localized imperfections.
b. Red Devil's lightweight spackled was then applied to clean up
minor (admittedly cosmetic) low areas, adjoining parts matches, etc.
I did NOT try to produce totally smooth surfaces on purpose but a
fair percentage of spackle did fill in the inter-filament grooves.
c. Rustoleum white primer was then shot onto the airframe. Some words
about primer learned empirically. Primer
absolutely helps and the sprays advertised
as primer+paint in one, are grossly misleading. In any case, the first light primer coat was attacked aggressively by
320, 400, and 600 wet & dry paper, wet.
The primer is terrific at highlighting defects in the structure surface that are
easily fixed now. At the end of this stage,
this is important, almost all the spackled
and primer have been removed by studious
wet sanding.
(To be continued)
Jul 23, 2017, 03:27 PM
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Painting work-in-progress

My 3DLP P-51D Mustang is coming along nicely after rubbing down the first
sprayed gray paint with 600 w&d paper, applied wet. At this point, there's no 'sanding' taking place, at least as I envision the process, it's more like 'polishing the paint' prior to additional thin sprayed coats. In the two pictures, the wing has one sprayed coat that was subsequently 'polished' down; the fuselage is shown after its second and final coat. More color trim and custom printed decals to follow; 3DLP through AeroFred supplies a nice PDF set of markings that will be incorporated into custom printed water-slide decals
Aug 06, 2017, 10:20 PM
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6 August updates, P-51D project work-in-progress

The 3DLP Mustang is coming along nicely. Here's update photos and comments:
- The plane's markings are patterned (loosely) after the "red tail" P-51Ds flown by the Tuskegee Airmen in WW2
- The markings sheet is included in the 3DLP kit and was used to make the plane markings shown, using printer-generated water slide decals.
- 1/16" width "Chartpak" tape was used to outline key panels and sections of the plane; more will be added to the fuselage.
- Structure weight is reasonably within bounds - headed for, it appears, slightly over 32 oz with a Turnigy LD3730 brushless, 1000 Kv; and
a 4-cell 1300 mah LiPo pack.
Aug 06, 2017, 10:23 PM
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more 6 August updates

Tip for the unwary: use the one-piece elevator, with c/a hinges loosely attached (not yet c/a'd) to align the two horizontal stabs prior to permanently bonding the horizontals to the fuselage with c/a. This guarantees a straight hinge line! If the stabs are misaligned, correcting the resulting binding will be extremely difficult if not impossible!

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