Colorado physicist Sterling Backus has leveraged technology and creativity to put an Aventador S in his garage without sending Lamborghini a $400,000 check. Working with his son, he is in the process of making the supercar from scratch using 3D-printed panels and used parts purchased online.
Backus launched the project after his son fell in love with the Aventador S while playing Forza Horizon 3. He told Australian website Which Car he initially wanted to make the supercar using steel panels and a wooden buck, but he decided to take the 3D-printing route after seeing how far the technology had come.
He draws each panel on software called Solidworks, prints them in several pieces using three printers, and glues them together. This technique is time-consuming, but he didn’t want to purchase an expensive, industrial-sized machine. The father-and-son team then wraps each assembled panel in Kevlar for added strength, and to achieve a uniform look. The finished body panels are then attached to a tubular steel frame.
Backus isn’t a 3D-printing expert by any means; he learned a lot by watching informative videos on YouTube. He’s not an automotive engineer, either, but he designed the chassis himself — a task automakers normally spend millions of dollars on — and even created a suspension system inspired by the setup found on the real Aventador S.
It’s not possible to 3D-print a fully functional engine, at least not yet, and Backus quickly ruled out buying a naturally aspirated, 6.5-liter V12 engine from Lamborghini. Instead, his Aventador replica will be powered by a V8 engine sourced from a 2003 Chevrolet Corvette and upgraded with a pair of turbochargers. It will be mounted behind the passenger compartment, like in the real Aventador, and it will spin the rear wheels through a transaxle from a 1990s Porsche 911. He sourced other parts (like the steering wheel, the windshield wipers, and the switches) used from online vendors.
Assembling a supercar using 3D-printed panels, a Chevrolet engine, a Porsche transaxle, and various bits and pieces from other manufacturers isn’t as straightforward as going to the nearest Lamborghini dealer with a suitcase full of cash. It’s a rewarding experience, however, and it’s much cheaper. Backus expects the entire project — which you can follow on his YouTube channel and on his Facebook page — will cost less than $20,000.
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