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Remote Flying Fish Project Part 16: 3D printing for propeller protector


In this chapter, we will learn how to use DesignSpark Mechanical to design the protector for the propeller by 3D printing technology.

The main idea of having a protector is to avoid potential damage induced by the propellers revolving at high frequency.

The reasons for using 3D-printing technology are:

  1. it is handy to use
  2. freeware is available on the Internet

However, it may take some time for the 3D printing machine to do its job before you can get your masterpiece out. And you may need to re-iterate the design procedures a few more times in order to optimize the shape and size to best fit the propellers and the PCB.

On the other hand, you may want to try using other materials (i.e. cardboard) if you don't have a 3D printer.

Before getting started, it is suggested to take a look at the merchandised protectors so that you can get inspired to design your own protector.

merchandised protectors

Do you see the similarities and differences?


Anyways, we should try to lower the weight of the protectors as much as possible or the fish balloon might sink too much.


First of all, you need to install the software in order to design your own 3D printing. In this project, we use DesignSpark Mechanical.

DSM Logo

After creating a new project, you may see the following interface.

DSM Main Screen

You may use the buttons on the up-hand side to draw lines, circles and curves.

Sketch and options

For example, you may use a line to draw a square. (Remarks: make sure you input a suitable distance, in this example, all lines are 15mm.)

example of drawing a square

Then, you may use 'Pull" to create a cube.

DSM - Pull Option

Now, you may try to design your own protector. Here is a sample for reference with steps.

1. Create a circle. (base on the radius of your motors)

Creating a Circle in DSM

2. Create two rectangles.

Adding two rectangles in DSM

3. Delete some of the lines.

resultant image after deleting some lines

5. Pull up for around 5mm.

Image after using the pull option

6. Create five circles inside.

Creating five more circles within the image

7. Pull down until it is empty.

now use pull down until circles are empty

8. Create two more circles outside.

creating two further circles

9. Draw two lines between two circles to separate them as below.

Adding to lines to separate circles

10. Pull up the longer shape around 16mm.

applying the pull up option

11. Delete the useless flats and draw two lines on the other side.

delete the flats and adding further lines

12. Pull down and remain around 4mm.

applying pull down option

13. Finished.

finished design

You may refer to the post by Stuart Childs: if you would like to learn more about DesignSpark Mechanical.


1. The diameter of the hole for the motors > ~0.5mm of the diameter of the motor.

2. Be aware of the height of the protector, you may need to calculate the size of your motors after fixing it into the hole.

The last chapter is coming on the next: Flight Test and Fine-tunning.

Parts in this series


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