Star Trek’s USS Enterprise is probably the most famous fictional spacecraft of all time — with the possible exception of the Millennium Falcon. It first appeared as the NCC-1701 in the original 1960s Star Trek, and an updated NCC-1701-D was introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Enterprise plays such a big role in all of the shows and movies that it’s practically synonymous with the “Star Trek” name. That makes it perfect for models, and Bobricius’ three-dimensional PCB art version is something to behold.
This model is designed to look like the classic NCC-1701 Enterprise, and is made entirely from printed circuit boards (PCBs). Unlike the badges we often feature here on the Hackster blog, this PCB is intended to be broken apart and them assembled into a three-dimensional structure. All of the individual pieces fit on a single 10×10 cm PCB, which is ideal for keeping the costs low through most PCB fabrication houses. For example, if you order the PCBs through the DirtyPCBs website, you can get ten of them for just $16.73 (plus shipping). After assembly, the model stands roughly 150cm tall.
There are a total of 40 LEDs situated all around the PCBs to provide a variety of lighting effects. For example, the engines are lit in an animated sequence for a great aesthetic. Those are all controlled by a Microchip ATtiny85 microcontroller. At the base of the model is a battery holder containing two AAA batteries to power the LEDs and to act as the stand. If you want to build your own, Bobricius has generously provided the files to get the PCBs fabricated through DirtyPCBs. Just make sure you order them in white if you want your USS Enterprise to look like it should!
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Author: Cameron Coward