3D Printed Aston Martin DB4
The 3D printed body part plug for an Aston Martin DB4
For many the dream of owning an Aston Martin remains just that, the current Aston Martin Vanquish will set you back in excess of £250,000 ($380,000, €280,000), and if you’re after a vintage DB4 well you’re talking millions. For this Auckland man 3D printing is helping him build an Aston Martin DB4 from scratch in his own garage.
Ivan Sentch has made kitcars before, most notably his Ferrari 250 GTO but the fact that he now has two children and that car only has two seats meant he needed a new project, one with more seats, he chose the four-seater DB4 for his next project.
After buying a 3D model off Turbosquid he set about finding a way to make a plug for the mould of the eventual fibreglass body. A local CNC shop quoted him $12,000 NZD (£6,300, €7200, $9,600) to $15,000 NZD (£7,900, €90000, $12,000) to cut a big piece of foam, out of his price range. After some investigation and estimation he believed he could bring his plug cost down to £2,250 NZD (£1,200, €1,350, $1,800) by buying a Solidoodle 2 and 3D printing it piece by piece.
A massive undertaking seeing as the build envelope for a Solidoodle 2 is 150 x 150 x 150mm, each piece is fitted together like a jigsaw and the in the seven months since Ivan started printing he has printed 72% of the body so far. He prints in his spare time and sets the machine off before he goes to bed and before he goes to work, hoping his piece has finished when he awakes and returns.
Ivan has picked up some tips of the trade on his way - he only started 3D printing in December – he has found a novel way to print his particularly long, tall and skinny shapes; attach a heat strengthened glass sheet above the bed and some Kapton tape on top of that and then hair spray, heat the bed to 95 degrees and it works for him 99% of the time.
Of course the 3D printing is just one small step in this massive undertaking, once the printing the plug is finished Ivan will then need to apply auto filler, sand the body until it has a glassy finish, apply the mould prep and sand again. This is months away from being a finished article; 3D printing’s benefits are often about speed but in this instance the tech has actually slowed down the process but made it a heck of a lot cheaper for Ivan to make his dream car.
This is the sort of novel use of desktop 3D printing we like to see, it will be interesting to see how the project pans out and whether others decide to go down the same road.