3D printing: Nissan Skyline transforming into Aston Martin DB4

06/13/2014

The accessibility of 3D printing continues to drive a backyard that is making the most of engineering ingenuity. The latest example I’ve come across is a fellow kiwi back in my hometown of Auckland, New Zealand, who is, in between moving houses, slowly but surely building up his dream car, an Aston Martin DB4.

A 1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT “Jet” Coupe sold for $5,000,000 in the UK in May last year, putting it out of the reach of most car enthusiasts. Not to worry though. Ivan Sentch has brought together a Solidoodle printer (prices start at $499 plus another $100 for a heated bed and encasement), a 3D CAD file (downloadable from Turbosquid for $99), Autodesk 3ds Max modeling and rendering software, a metal frame containing the engine, gearbox and suspension from a Nissan Skyline GTS25T coupe, and a lot of time and plastic are all that’s needed to produce a stunning replica.

Using the Autodesk software, Sentch has split the car’s panels into hundreds of 10 cm x 10 cm pieces segments that are printable on his Solidoodle 2 printer. This slicing process requires some level of expertise and attention to detail as explained on Sentch’s website.

Each ABS resin-based section takes around eight hours to complete. In the Solidoodle, 1.75-mm ABS filament extruded through a 0.35-mm hot end, and Sentch is using the standard print resolution of 3 mm, “due to the speed of the prints and that I will inevitably need to do finishing work to get it all smooth anyway so the rough prints don't matter to me,” he explains. “But the printer can be setup for 1-mm resolution prints.”
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