Launch Umbilical Tower (LUT)

We started the Launch Umbilical Tower (LUT) project in August 2018. We used Paul Fischer's (farscape1) CAD files, as a base, and went from there. We cannot thank Paul Fischer enough for sharing his incredible designs with us. The below documents the build history detail.

August 2018

Printed using a Prusa i3 MK3.  We used MatterHackers Grey MH Build Series PLA Filament – 1.75mm (1kg).  The platform took 3 months to print.

September 2018

More platform printing 

October 2018

More platform printing 

November 2018

7 Months of 24×7 printing, has finally taken a toll on the Prusa i3 MK3 3D printer.  Copper wires are finally snapping due to the back and forth stresses of non-stop movements.  This caused lots of failed prints, errors, damaged Hot End, and clogged nozzles.  I have ordered $250 in parts from Prusa, and hope to start the printing process again.  The printer failures unfortunately put us behind schedule, and we missed the Space Center Houston 50th Anniversary display opportunity. 

December 2018

Printer repairs are completed.  We are back to printing 24×7 again, with the exception of the Christmas holidays and New Years.  We finally completed the DSKY in Dec 2018, and our efforts are fully focused on the LUT now.  January 2018 update should have a lot of new LUT / Gantry content, updates and progress.  Please come back early February for the update.  

January 2019

January 2019 was a busy month for the Launch Umbilical Tower build.  We built frames, platforms, and elevators for 14 levels (level 360 and below).  We started printing and painting all the material needed for 14 levels of stairs.  Please come back in March 2019 to see the February 2019 updates!

February 2019

February 2019 was the busiest yet.  Have to finish before Thu, Jul 25, 2019, Apollo 11 50th Anniversary.  We completed all the stairs, the Colby Crane, Elevator Machine Room, and started working on the swing arms.  I started a new stair printing method, with dual color mid printing spool swaps.  Should have done this for the previous stairs.  Painting the stairs before was tedious.  The spool swap method turned out nice, as you can see in the photos, and was much faster.   Come back next month, for what I hope is the last LUT update.  Ha!  probably not. 

March 2019

Not much to show for March 2019.  I completed swing arms 1 to 8.  Having to model the ends of the swing arms as the original designers were not as accurate or what I felt they should be to the original.   Hopefully we will have much more to show in the April 2019 update. 

April 2019

April 2019 was insane busy in the personal life.  Didn’t have much time to model, print and assemble.  I did however complete the hold down arms, and model extension for swing arm 7. 

May 2019

May 2019 continues to with weekend craziness.  Didn’t have much time to model, print and assemble again.  I did however complete all of the swing arms, added labels to the platform, created a crane pulley and pulley track.  Now working on the fuel pipes for June.  

June 2019

June 2019.  Time to kick in gear, if we are going to make the July 20, 2019 50th anniversary.

July 2019

Model Completed!  Also approved to be displayed at Space Center Houston Apollo 50th Anniversary Event!  Brought to the event, and was asked if they could keep it for a permanent Space Center Houston display!  Of course we said yes!  How honored!  They are making a permanent case for it now.. and will be on display for everyone to come and see!  We posted the 50th event photos and video on the 50th page!