3D Printing

Auto enthusiast to 3D-print full-scale Aston Martin DB4 ... sort of

Auto enthusiast to 3D-print fu...
Ivan Sentch plans on harvesting bits and pieces from a 1993 Nissan Skyline GTS for the engine and drivetrain (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
Ivan Sentch plans on harvesting bits and pieces from a 1993 Nissan Skyline GTS for the engine and drivetrain (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
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Sentch, a relative noob to 3D printing, only started messing around with the Solidoodle printer in January 2013 (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
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Sentch, a relative noob to 3D printing, only started messing around with the Solidoodle printer in January 2013 (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
DB4 rear section showing the basic framework and outline where the custom-formed 3D pieces will be set (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
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DB4 rear section showing the basic framework and outline where the custom-formed 3D pieces will be set (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
The initial base design for the DB4 came from a 3D drawing from TurboSquid.com (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
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The initial base design for the DB4 came from a 3D drawing from TurboSquid.com (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
The DB4 rendering was torn down to its base design so Ivan could modify the final project to his own specifications (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
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The DB4 rendering was torn down to its base design so Ivan could modify the final project to his own specifications (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
Large sections like the hood, fenders or doors can't be printed in one section so thousands of smaller pieces are printed then painstakingly glued onto master templates (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
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Large sections like the hood, fenders or doors can't be printed in one section so thousands of smaller pieces are printed then painstakingly glued onto master templates (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
Finished 3D hood showing the number of printed pieces required to complete one section (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
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Finished 3D hood showing the number of printed pieces required to complete one section (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
3D sections, averaging 105 mm x 105 mm (4 in x 4 in), are printed en masse, then glued to frames, forming the basic design (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
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3D sections, averaging 105 mm x 105 mm (4 in x 4 in), are printed en masse, then glued to frames, forming the basic design (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
MDF framework shows ribbing for the hood and partial 3D tile application (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
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MDF framework shows ribbing for the hood and partial 3D tile application (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
MDF hood framework, pre-tile application (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
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MDF hood framework, pre-tile application (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
Approximately 13.42 sq m of material has been printed to date, out of a total 18.5 sq m needed to finish the DB4 (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
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Approximately 13.42 sq m of material has been printed to date, out of a total 18.5 sq m needed to finish the DB4 (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
Finishing the DB4's body will require numerous applications of autobody filler, sanding, and repeating until a glassy finish is achieved (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
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Finishing the DB4's body will require numerous applications of autobody filler, sanding, and repeating until a glassy finish is achieved (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
3D tiles require trimming and sanding prior to placement and gluing by hand (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
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3D tiles require trimming and sanding prior to placement and gluing by hand (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
An original DB4 (Photo: Aston Martin)
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An original DB4 (Photo: Aston Martin)
Ivan Sentch plans on harvesting bits and pieces from a 1993 Nissan Skyline GTS for the engine and drivetrain (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
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Ivan Sentch plans on harvesting bits and pieces from a 1993 Nissan Skyline GTS for the engine and drivetrain (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
Finished door panel highlights how close to original the process can come to the real deal (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
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Finished door panel highlights how close to original the process can come to the real deal (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
DB4 door sections showing inner frameworks and tile template markings (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
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DB4 door sections showing inner frameworks and tile template markings (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
DB4 basic framework very early in the development stages (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
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DB4 basic framework very early in the development stages (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
Ivan expects the project to take another 3 to 5 years to complete (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
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Ivan expects the project to take another 3 to 5 years to complete (Photo: Ivan Sentch)

While many Solidoodlers will likely use their 3D printers to output Yodas, gearsets or bunnies, one New Zealander decided to take 3D modeling to the next level. With the average price of an Aston Martin DB4 running in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, Ivan Sentch decided to go one better by printing a full-scale Aston Martin DB4 replica.

Prior to Aston Martin’s ejection-seat enabled DB5 in James Bond’s Goldfinger and Thunderball, there was the DB4. Not nearly as famous as its iconic successor, the DB4 was the first to incorporate the new Italian designed body and upgraded drivetrain. But with prices running between US$330,000 and $1.7 million for a restored DB4, the opportunity for the average person to own one remains highly elusive, which is exactly the dilemma faced by New Zealander Ivan Sentch.

A relative noob to 3D modeling, Sentch has only been working with the Solidoodle printer since January of this year. When asked why of all the cars he chose to recreate a DB4, he says it not only has the styling but 4 seats, which will come in handy when transporting his kids.

The design for the DB4 came from a 3D drawing from TurboSquid.com. The detailed rendering was then torn down to its base design so he could modify it to better suit his vision.

The DB4 rendering was torn down to its base design so Ivan could modify the final project to his own specifications (Photo: Ivan Sentch)
The DB4 rendering was torn down to its base design so Ivan could modify the final project to his own specifications (Photo: Ivan Sentch)

To design the cross sections, Sentch used Autodesk’s 3DS Max modeling software and then sent it to the Solidoodle printer for rendering. Since the printer can’t output full scale fenders or doors, he had to compile these sections by outputting hundreds of smaller, bite-sized forms. These forms, averaging around 105 x 105 mm (4 x 4 in), are then mounted on the section’s framework and glued into place.

In a Q&A with Solidoodle, Sentch points out that although he only has 28 percent of the car’s body left to print, plus the dash, he still has an awful lot to do before the car is finished. Once the printing is complete he then needs to take a mold of the DB4 by applying autobody filler, then sanding, then repeating until the body has a glassy finish. Once it reaches this stage then a mold prep compound can be applied, followed by more sanding and painting.

An original DB4 (Photo: Aston Martin)
An original DB4 (Photo: Aston Martin)

For the DB4’s drivetrain and engine, Sentch plans on harvesting bits and pieces from a 1993 Nissan Skyline GTS, as parts are relatively cheap and readily available in his native New Zealand. He's also considered making the faux DB4 electric (much to the horror of the purists), but he says the thought of messing around with batteries and accompanying logistical issues will probably make the electric option unlikely.

Sentch will continue to Solidoodle his way about the printed DB4, but expects the project will take another 4 or 5 years to complete.

Source: Replica DB4

7 comments
Edgar Castelo
It started. Why pay Megabucks for a few thousand dollars of hardware?
EUbrainwashing
One day you will be able to economically have a car built to your own design. Just as once upon a time 99% of cars were only black and coach-built bodies were only for the very rich, technology will surpass those possibilities. Imagine! The new Ford 'Freestyle'. Log on now and sculpture the body style of your dreams where the car can be rendered and completed at the local dealer of your choice within just a few short days.
David G
Brilliant. But did he work out how to get it from the garage to the living room?
Kevin Mullis
I was thinking that you could take the printer head and attach it to a 3 axis carriage to print out much bigger stuff. Way above my current skillset but doable.
Jason Catterall
My kind of crazy. Kudos to the nutter!
Stephen N Russell
Love this, now mass produce kit body & add to other chassis/engines IE Nissan, Infiniti, Lexus, Benz, BMW - Aston body but BMW 5 class engine.
Peter F Hamilton
Plastic car with a pioneer and his kids hits a normal car, what happens?