Using just a $500 3D-printer and a free wire-frame model downloaded from the internet, Ivan Sentch is printing out his own car. It's a response years in the making to the notorious anti-piracy advert that shouted at would-be pirates that they 'wouldn't steal a car'. The standard response - 'well I would if I could download it' - is now a step closer to reality.
And this isn't just any car – Sentch hasn't stinted and is now about three quarters of the way through printing a 1961 Aston Martin DB4.
Sentch, a programmer from Auckland, New Zealand, began his project by downloading a fan-made 3D model of the car. Considered a design classic, there are less than 1,200 models of the car in existence, and they regular fetch prices well into the hundreds of thousands when sold at auction.
Printing out the model is a painstaking process for Sentch, with his Solidoodle 3D printer only capable of producing parts in 4-inch by 4-inch segments. By turning the printer on before he goes to work and last thing at night, Sentch around 2,500 parts of the car’s body since the beginning of the year.
Despite describing the printing process as 72 per cent complete, Sentch still has a lot of work to do. Once the print is finished the next step will be to create a fibreglass mould of the print and fit this over the engine, electrics, suspension and drivetrain of a 1993 Nissan Skyline. After this a custom interior will have to be installed and the whole thing painted and polished to perfection.
Despite his apparent expertise, in an interview with the makers of the Solidoodle, Sentch described himself as “an absolute noob” when it comes to 3D printing. He says he's essentially teaching himself as he goes and estimates that he’s spent around $2,000 on materials so far.
"The project has been on my mind for the last 6 years, I would have started it earlier but I’ve recently had kids (3 years and 1 year) so I had to put these sort of time-consuming project-type hobbies on hold," says Sentch.
"My brothers think I’m mad but [...] at least they believe I will pull it off. Friends either don’t grasp the enormity of the project, or the ones that do are in awe of me even attempting it."