Look, not everyone can get their hands on a Lamborghini Aventador. But that hasn’t stopped a Colorado father and son from trying to make one of their very own.
Over the past year and a half, laser physicist Sterling Backus and his son Xander have been working on a mostly 3-D-printed, fully functional, life-size version of the supercar, according to Design Boom. On a Facebook page dedicated to the ambitious project, Backus wrote that their goal is to “show kids how cool science and engineering are, and demonstrate the power of technology.”
Utilizing 3-D models for the car he found online, Sterling and his son first tweaked the designs using SolidWorks, a computer program for solid modeling. Then, they plied three different 3-D printers to produce body panels, taillights, headlights and air vents from a variety of plastics, Sterling told 3D Printing Media Network. For body parts, they used polyactic acid plastic derived from biomass, to help withstand warping, while three other lighter thermoplastics were used for the headlights and taillights.
Of course, the entire car can’t be entirely 3-D printed. For interior parts that required extra strength, they’ve used carbon fiber infusion and encapsulation to add solidity and support where necessary. They’ve also relied on CNC machining, using a mill and lathe from Backus’s work, along with waterjet cutting for hinges and suspension parts. The car’s frame, suspension and drivetrain are also all made of steel.
Sterling was quick to note that he and his son aren’t simply copying the Aventador; they’re using it as a basis to create something new. “The parts’ design is based on the Lamborghini Aventador, but we have changed each panel significantly, to add our design flair,” he told Design Boom. “In addition, no molds are made, and none are for sale. This is a one only project, and not for sale.”
So far, the project has set the Backuses back $20,000, which may sound like a lot until you compare it to the cost of a real Lamborghini. An actual, road-ready Aventador from the Italian automaker starts at $639,670.
Score one for the wonders of 3-D printing—and an ingenious father-son tandem.