Physicist Dad Builds 3D-Printed Lambo for Son

Wilbert Tan

Remember when you asked your dad to buy you a toy, but he couldn’t afford it so he’d build one for you instead? The masterpiece robot, car, or sword that your father came up with was probably made with pieces of wood, sardine cans, plastic bottles, and other waste materials that you had lying around the house. One American laser physicist did the same thing for his offspring, albeit at a much grander scale than either you or I are capable of.

Sterling Backus of Boulder, Colorado, has a son that loves playing Forza, a popular racing car video game on the Xbox platform. When his son asked if they can build a Lamborghini straight from the game,  rather than laugh it off like any father would, Backus replied in the affirmative.

Fortunately for his 11-year-old son, his father is the chief scientific officer at KMLabs, an advanced laser technology company, and has deep pockets to boot. The latter proved exceptionally useful since the project–dubbed ‘Interceptor’–required a budget of USD20,000 (PHP1 million).

Before the 3D-printed outer shell, Backus built a steel chassis and planted an LS1 V8 engine from a Corvette to supply the car’s power. He then downloaded panel layouts of a Lamborghini Aventador from GrabCAD, an online design community. Backus then tweaked the digital layouts to make them suitable for 3D printing.

Using a Creality CR-10 105 desktop 3D printer bought for USD900 (PHP46,663) from Amazon, Backus worked on the panels piece by piece, which included complex features such as a gated shifter, scissor doors, and front brake air intake.

Of course, things aren’t going to be that easy. For starters, the original printed material melts under extreme heat. But being the physicist that he is, Backus thought to use carbon fiber to encapsulate the parts, then cover them in epoxy.

But before you assume that Backus built the car based on stock knowledge, it’s worth noting that he had to learn a lot of new stuff to complete the project, and so he relied heavily on the most important teaching tool ever known to man: YouTube.

With the end of the project almost near, Backus says he wants the project’s end result to serve as an educational tool for Science Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) programs.

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