Making A Kid-Scale Apollo 11 Lunar Lander

If you’d like to see what goes into making a 1/3-scale Apollo 11 Lunar Module, [Plasanator]’s photos and build details will show off how he constructed one for a kid’s event that was a hit!

The photo gallery gives plenty of ideas about how one would approach a project like this, and readers will surely appreciate the use of an old frying pan as a concrete mold to create the lander’s “feet”. Later, a little paint makes the frying pan become a pseudo-antenna mounted on the lander’s exterior.

Inside, the lander has a control panel with a lot of arcade-style buttons and LED lighting. It’s pretty simple stuff, but livens things up a lot. Bright red lighting for the engine combined with a couple of slow strobe lights really makes it come alive in the dark. The gold foil? Emergency thermal blankets wrapped around the frame.

We happen to have the perfect chaser for this kid-scale lunar module: the Apollo 11 moon landing, recreated with animatronics and LEGO.

21 thoughts on “Making A Kid-Scale Apollo 11 Lunar Lander

    1. Of course it’s fake, kids never went to the moon (i hope). Adults however quite a few from different countries. (How many people walked on the moon btw? Good question, i have to check this…)

    1. 1. Very cool, and the kids clearly love it, and he did a super job
      2. Guy’s material sourcing skills are epic
      3. He delivered!
      4. He sold it after the event!

      10/10, would hire to build one for my grandkids (because my attempt would sit half-completed in the back yard until they were out of college)

  1. I don’t see the interior but did get to see the Draper Lab “simulator” when I was in high school and the Apollo landings were in progress.
    Most of the switches were painted or printed. Only the ones they needed actually worked.
    As a kid, I would have LOVED this! Lucky kid.

    1. The link shows minimal “controls” inside, after reading the link, I did a DDG to see photos of the inside of the real LEMs. (No comparison)
      If the builder would have had more time to put it together, there would have been dozens of “switches” to paint.
      Maybe the new owner will do some work on that.

    2. Very cool. I, too was a teen who was fascinated with Apollo. I met one of the guys who worked on the lander software. He’s got a book about his first job out of college, working at Draper – “Sunburst and Luminary”

      Agree that a printout of the control panel would have been nice, but it is hard (and expensive) to get large scale prints. I like his minimalist, kid-scale approach to the design. The basic shape, some interesting features and done — on time and safely. He doesn’t say, but it seems he built it on site, because there isn’t any discussion about breakdown for transport.

  2. When I was a kid in the sixties, a kid at school had a batmobile cockpit under his basement stairs. His father built it. Really neat. At that age, it doesn’t have to be exact.

    1. That’s cool! My father and me like watching that sixties TV series, too. ;)
      When my father was that age, his grandfather did support him with homebrew things, too. He got him an electronic construction kit for example or helped to stretch wires across the street to one of his friend’s bedroom, so they can build a simple house phone.

      The age thing.. Yes and no. Not sure. It’s difficult. Judging by my own childhood I must say that children tend to grow up faster than they used to. They grow up in an era of information. The 60s were very quiet and slow by comparison. At age 6 I was already programming simply stuff in Basic on an used home computer, by 7 I had a 286 with DOS/Win 3 for doing my first steps in Visual Basic. Needless to say that I had to be able to read already (not necessarily fluent maybe) and handle both English (basic vocabulary, simple present) and my native language. So yeah, it’s tricky to generalize here. 🤷‍♂️

      1. In high school, I was programming FORTRAN IV, 1130 Assembler, and other languages. I am fortunate that where I work, the young’uns appreciate my experience and ask me questions.

    1. Given the Boeing spacecraft has flammable wraps on the wiring, we might not have come as far as we thought.
      Were I in charge of NASA, I’d tell Boeing that one goes in a museum and build another one right. Anyone who disagrees has to watch repeated Apollo 1 fire videos until they relent. Complete with clips to hold their eyelids open like in A Clockwork Orange

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