Designing a 3D printed Boeing 737 Flaps Guage

Graeme asked for the flaps decal design. When I looked at my file, I realised it was out of date and I could do better. So before handing it over I spent the day redesigning the gauge and decal. I decided also to try a stepper motor for the first time instead of a servo.

3D Printed Boeing 737 Flaps Gauge
3D Printed Boeing 737 Flaps Gauge

During initial testing, I realised how easy it was to programme the stepper motor. I bought QTY 10, 28BYJ-48 stepper motors with driver boards several months ago but never got around to testing them.

I am very impressed with how smooth and quiet the operation is. Im still wondering what happens when the power fails. Im sure they will all need their home positions to be reset.

28BYJ-48 Stepper motor
28BYJ-48 Stepper motor

This was my first attempt at the Guage and mount. All 3d Printed. I soon realized that there was nowhere to mount the backlighting.

This design for mounting the stepper motor and the 12v LED strip lights around the circumference works exceptionally well. Nailed this part of the design.

Next came the 3d printed backplate. The idea was to make it back lightable. I printed the decal with raised text with a 0.2mm nozzle. Sprayed black and removed the paint from the raised text with sandpaper. Now I also realise this is not what you call a high-quality finish, But that's 3d printing. However, the quality is acceptable, and surprisingly good when backlit!

I also created 2 other backplates in the same file. The CNC engraved version, utilising white opaque perspex/acrylic. And finally, a plain blank version where the decal can be printed by an inkjet/laser printer.

Boeing 737 Flaps Decal Design by 737DIYSIM
Boeing 737 Flaps Decal Design by 737DIYSIM

Here is the initial testing of the 3d printed gauge:

I will continue prototyping because this will be a very cheap way to create simple working guages. However, I would highly recommend just buying the decal faceplates that are laser etched from places such as Then using the 3D printed parts to produce the remainder of the gauge.

If you have any thoughts on the matter, what is good, what is bad, let me know so I don't wander down a dead-end lane that nobody wants.

Stay Safe & Kind Regards,


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