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


July 31, 2013

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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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.

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)

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

About the Author
Angus MacKenzie Born on the cold, barren Canadian plains of Calgary, Alberta, Angus MacKenzie couldn’t decide between marketing, automotives or an entrepreneurial path - so he chose all three. With an education in automotives and marketing, Angus has rebuilt the carburetor on his 1963 Rambler Ambassador twice, gotten a speeding ticket in an F430 once, and driven & photographed everything from Lamborghinis to Maseratis to various German and Asian designs. When not writing, Angus has for the past six years been Editor-in-Chief for elemente, an internationally recognized architecture/design magazine. All articles by Angus MacKenzie

It started. Why pay Megabucks for a few thousand dollars of hardware?

Edgar Castelo

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.

Kevin Mullis

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.


Brilliant. But did he work out how to get it from the garage to the living room?

David G

My kind of crazy. Kudos to the nutter!

Jason Catterall

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.

Stephen Russell

Plastic car with a pioneer and his kids hits a normal car, what happens?

Peter F Hamilton
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