Inventor 3D Prints Launch Pad for LEGO’s Saturn V Model

The miniature Saturn V is now ready to hit the Moon.
Fabienne Lang
Animatronic launch pad and LegoMark Howe/YouTube

Lego knows how to entertain adults as much as it does kids. With all sorts of complex and amazing Lego models available, there's little time for boredom. 

Lego's Saturn V rocket model was one such fun creation, and now it's had an upgrade thanks to YouTuber Mark Howe's creativity.

Howe built an animatronic launch pad specifically for the Lego Saturn V model all out of 3D-printed parts. It's fascinating to watch and we're oh-so-grateful Howe shared his creation on YouTube


Lego's Saturn V model is based on NASA's Apollo 11 mission, which brought the first astronauts to the moon in 1969. With the upcoming NASA lunar mission in sight, which will see the next man and the first woman sent to the Moon, space and Lego aficionados seem to be excited. 

One such fan is Howe, who took it upon himself to build a spectacular, fully functioning animatronic launch pad and gantry to go with Lego's 3.2 feet (one meter) tall Saturn V model.

The detail of the launch pad complements the Lego model beautifully, and you get a real insight into what happens during pre-launch. 

In Howe's short but sweet one minute video, you can only watch in wonder as the gantry moves autonomously when it's launch time. The sway control arm and hammerhead crane seamlessly sway out of the way using servo control. Simultaneously, the Arduino embedded in the launch pad's base plays authentic countdown voice commands and noises. 

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Then, in a jaw-drop-worthy manner, the Saturn V model starts to lift off, making you notice the five red-hot "flames" emanating automatically from below the launch pad, pushing the model upwards. Howe explained that he used three steppers that drive linear actuators in order to lift the Saturn V model. 

And how did he make these look like fire? Howe used strings of WS2812s inside clear plastic tubes. And voilà, flames arise. 

It's a fun and fantastic piece of work and engineering, so take a look yourself in the video below: 

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