New Zealand Man 3D Prints An Aston Martin

Ronnie Schreiber
by Ronnie Schreiber
new zealand man 3d prints an aston martin

A few weeks ago, we ran a post about a new computer driven tool developed by Ford that allows them to rapidly prototype sheet metal parts. At the time, I raised the potential that Ford’s Freeform Fabrication Technology might have for enthusiasts working on customizing or restoring cars. Load a sheet of metal in the frame, load a file on the computer, and watch it hammer out a fender for your classic or custom car. Apparently that wasn’t much of a stretch. Engadget reports on a New Zealand man named Ivan Sentch who is using an $800 desktop 3D printer to fabricate the body for a 1961 Series I Aston Martin DB4 replica he is making.

Technically speaking he’s not solid printing the actual car body, that’s going to be made of fiberglass, pulled from a mold made from a buck. A buck is a reproduction of a body in wood to which panels can be shaped or from which a mold can be made. It’s the surface of the buck that he’s printing. Bucks have been used since carriage making days, so Sentch is using an interesting combination of new technology and old school body making. What makes the project even more amazing is that his home 3D printer, a Solidoodle 2, can only make pieces as large as 150 by 150 by 150 millimeters, so Sentch is slowly covering the wooden framework of the buck with those small pieces. Think of it as a rather large 3D jigsaw puzzle. He started with the back deck, the “boot” as he calls it. One the buck is fully skinned with the 3D printed segments, Sentch will smooth everything out and use it to make the female body mold. It’s really a rather impressive accomplishment.

The finished body will hang on the bones and muscles of a Nissan Skyline GTS25T donor car. The wheelbase is right and it should give the final product sufficient performance. Sentch already has used the same engine in a Ferrari 250 GTO replica that he finished before starting on the Aston Martin project.

According to the blog he’s keeping to record the build, Sentch currently has the “body” 72% printed, and a bit more than halfway assembled.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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2 of 7 comments
  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Aug 15, 2013

    How long before someone prints something like a Landstalker from GTA, and puts it on a donor Suburban chassis? ;) No copyright infringement there, cause it's not a real car.

  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on Aug 22, 2013

    I'm fascinated by the long-term implications of this, especially for fans of esoteric but not ultra-rare classic cars. Got a Studebaker you need a fender for? No problem, just find one person with the same year and body style and intact sheetmetal, 3-D scan theirs, and print out the pattern to make a new one. Or to apply it to a wider audience, imagine getting into an accident and the local body shop simply downloads the patterns for the non-electronic parts and fabricates them on-site. This could reduce the need for parts inventory and ultimately reduce the cost of these parts since places like NAPA could stock raw materials locally.

  • Alan GM is still dying. The US auto manufacturing sector overall needs to restructure. It is heavily reliant on large protected vehicles with far more protection than the EU has on its vehicles (25% import tariff).Globally GM has lost out in the EU, UK, Australia, etc. GM has shut down in Australia because it is uncompetitive in a global market. Ford still exists in Australia but is reliant on a Thai manufactured pickup, the Ranger which is Australia's second largest selling vehicle.The US needs to look at producing global products, not 'murica only products. Asians and Europeans can do it. America is not unique.
  • Duane Baldinger Ya my cupcake Mailman will love it!
  • Duane Baldinger Where can I send the cash? It's a surprise BDAY present for my cupcake Mailman. D Duane
  • Art Vandelay Pour one out for the Motors Liquidation Corporation
  • Bill Wade Norm, while true I'll leave you with this. My 2023 RAM is running Android 8 released in 2017.My wife's navigation on her GM truck is a 2021 release, I believe the latest. Android Auto seems to update very week or two. Now, which would you rather have? Anybody with a car a couple of years old NEVER sees any updates. Heck, if your TV is a few years old it's dead on updates. At least cell phones are rapidly updated. If your old phone won't update, buy another $200 phone. If your GM vehicle doesn't update do what, buy another $50,000 GM vehicle?