The 3D-Printed Lamborghini Aventador Replica Can Now Get From Point A to Point B
Point A is the driveway and Point B is the garage. That still counts for progress.by Kirby Garlitos, on
In the past three months, the Backus garage Lamborghini build has evolved from parts being printed on three different 3D printers to a fully functional model that can run, or, at least in this case, back up from a home’s driveway to the family garage.
One of the most unique Lamborghini Aventadors you’ll ever see is now taking shape. This particular model didn’t come by way of Sant’Agata, Bolognese, Italy. It comes to us from Colorado, specifically from Colorado State University professor Sterling Backus. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because we already talked about Backus a few months ago — back in July, to be more specific — as he began laying the groundwork for his 3D-printed Lamborghini Aventador replica.
The 3D-printed Lamborghini Aventador is still a ways away from completion, but the fact that it can move with the help of a 5.7-liter LS1 V-8 engine is already a giant step towards progress. Here’s to you, professor. You’ve instantly become someone who we’re rooting for to succeed.
I’ll be the first to admit that when I initially heard about the ambitious project undertaken by Sterling Backus for his son, I was skeptical about it. I didn’t know what it would lead to. The elder Backus got the idea of building a 3D-printed Lamborghini Aventador a few months ago without actually knowing how to do it, and when that’s the root of a story, there’s a good chance that said story won’t have a happy ending. But thanks to the Internet — and being an all-around smart guy — Backus, who is a physicist and adjunct professor at the Colorado State University, found a way to not only grant his son’s wish to have an Aventador, but he also found a way to do it without having to spend the almost $350,000 sticker price of an actual Aventador.
The whole project started after a Forza Horizon 3 video game run between Backus and his son. When his son brought up the idea of building an Aventador, Backus went to work looking for a way to do it without having to mortgage his entire fortune.
So he scoured the Internet for ways to do it before ultimately settling on using nothing more than spare parts, a few original parts, and a handful of 3D printers, including a $650 QIDI Xpro 3D printer.
Work immediately began on printing parts that would be used on the AXAS Interceptor, the name he chose for his DIY Aventador. The entire body panel, for example, is completely 3D-printed. The same holds true for the headlights, taillights, air vents, and even specific parts of the interior. All these components are 3D-printed and glued together with a methyl methacrylate adhesive to form larger panels, which were then skinned in carbon fiber to make them stronger.
“Originally we were going to build it out of steel on a buck, but seeing how far 3D printing had come, we decided to 3D-print the car instead,” Backus told WhichCar back in July.
For the parts that couldn’t be 3D-printed —the chassis and engine are two examples — Backus went to work.
He created a chassis from scratch with a cantilever coil-over suspension system and he sourced a 5.7-liter LS1 V-8 donor engine that was previously used on a 2003 Chevrolet Corvette.
This is one of the few shortcomings of Backus’ AXAS Interceptor. Instead of using the Aventador’s standard 6.5-liter V-12 engine that produces north of 700 horsepower, the AXAS Interceptor’s LS1 V-8 unit has somewhere around 350 horsepower on tap.
That’s not the final output, though, because Backus also dropped a pair of turbochargers into the mix. It’s unclear at this point how much power this Corvette-sourced V-8 engine produces, but it definitely has more than 350 ponies. Actual figures won’t be revealed until the car hits a dyno, but even without knowing the actual output, open your ears and listen to the sound of that V-8 engine from the video of Backus backing up the Aventador. That’s not a regular V-8, folks. That’s a tricked-out V-8 that’s packing a lot of meat!
I don’t want to presume and say that Backus is close to completing the AXAS Interceptor. The video reveals that the entire body is complete, but certain pieces are still missing. The windshield, mirrors, and side mirrors are still missing. There are no headlights either, though we can see that the Aventador’s distinctive taillights are already in place.
Even the body looks like it still needs a lot of work done, including the process of painting over the 3D-printed parts to give the AXAS Interceptor its official color finish.
It remains to be seen how much work Backus will have to do to officially complete his AXAS Interceptor build. But I do know that he’s come so far to stop now. The car looks incredible given its roots, and if the Colorado State University professor can round out his work and finish the car, it would be one of the most incredible things I’ll see this year.
Building a DIY Lamborghini Aventador is impossible if you don’t have the resources to build one. That was the prevailing thought until Sterling Backus and his son came along. Not only did he prove a lot of people wrong, but he also made believers out of us, too.
Read our full review on the 2019 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ.
Read our full review on the 2018 Lamborghini Aventador S.
Read our full review on the 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4.