Products and Design

A Closer Look at a Breathtaking 3D Printed 1:4 Scale AC Cobra

Sebastiaan Pot lives in Assen, in the northeast Netherlands. Last year Sebastiaan introduced himself in the Newcomers Lounge on the Shapeways forums and explained that he makes bigger scale model cars, up to the very rare 1:4. Since then he’s been working quietly on a formidable project: a fully 3D printed 1:4 scale AC Cobra. Right now it’s a non-motorized scale model, but it can be transformed into an RC car.

The history of the AC Cobra is pretty unique among sports cars:

In September 1961, American automotive designer Carroll Shelby wrote to [British car manufacturer] AC asking if they would build him a car modified to accept a V8 engine. AC agreed [to the modifications to its roadster], provided a suitable engine could be found. Shelby went to Chevrolet to see if they would provide him with engines, but not wanting to add competition to the Corvette, they said no. However, Ford wanted a car that could compete with the Corvette, and they happened to have a brand new engine which could be used in this endeavor: the Windsor 221 in³ (3.6 L) engine – a new lightweight, thin-wall cast small-block V8. Ford provided Shelby with two engines. – Wikipedia

And the AC Cobra was born! The cars were only manufactured for five years, helping their legend to grow far beyond their availability. Thankfully, Sebastiaan’s love for the vintage roadster led him to create something truly extraordinary.

You don’t get to see a 1:4 scale car very often, so I drove the two-and-a-half hours from Eindhoven to Assen, from one end of the country to the other, to see what Sebastiaan had spent the past year making.

When I got there, I was blown away. His AC Cobra is almost a meter long — and it’s a masterpiece:

scale model ac cobra shelby vintage car

Sebastiaan has a gift for drawing: Show him the front, side and top views of a car and he “understands the lines” and can effortlessly draw the exterior on his computer. Interiors take him a bit longer, but he can 3D model those too by simply looking at a handful of photographs.

Sebastiaan spoke to me before about his gift for drawing as if it’s nothing special, but based on my own forays into 3D design and what I hear from other community members, he’s awfully modest. Next time I visit him we will focus more on the design process, and we’ll bring you the full story of 3D printing a car on this scale — but this time, I was simply too amazed by this car to do anything but stare:

scale model ac cobra shelby vintage car

Check out the stunning interiors:

scale model ac cobra shelby vintage car

The seats are 3D printed, then finished in leather. And yes, the buckles actually work.

In some cases, for instance the gears in the dashboard, Sebastiaan 3D printed molds, then made the pieces out of aluminum. The steering wheel is made of wood — and you can even remove the key from the ignition.

scale model ac cobra shelby vintage car

Sebastiaan printed the radiator in Shapeways Frosted Ultra Detail plastic. The headlights are made from our Transparent Detail Acrylic, then treated in a clear gloss. The blinkers get a coat of orange acrylic paint.

scale model ac cobra shelby vintage car

The wheels are made of Elasto Plastic. Sebastiaan found it particularly challenging to get the the right jet-black look.

On the picture below, the two left hubcaps on the table are 3D printed Sterling Silver and the other two parts in the foreground are Rhodium Plated Brass. Which do you think look more realistic?

scale model ac cobra shelby vintage car

The exterior is made from Shapeways Strong & Flexible Plastic. At 99 cm long, it needed to be printed in parts. With all the layers of paint, however, there are no visible seams. In the Facebook Live video below you see us taking a closer look at the overlap of parts at 5:00.

scale model ac cobra shelby vintage car

You can learn more about the AC Cobra from this Facebook Live stream from my visit to Sebastiaan’s workshop and home in Assen. We start with a reveal and then take a closer look to the rich details of this scale model:

Revealing a unique, 3D printed project!

Geplaatst door Shapeways op donderdag 13 juli 2017

You can buy some Sebastiaan’s AC Cobra parts from his Shapeways shop, BigScale Cars.

What do you think of this model AC Cobra? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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