Our favourite thing to come out of a 3D printer over the last seven days is unquestionably this: a scale-model of the Ducati 1199 superbike, designed and printed by Valcrow. Made up of 40 painstakingly detailed pieces, each individually printed via an Ultimaker device and then hand-painted prior to assembly, it is a gorgeously well-executed piece of modelling.
In fact, to glance at the photo, you would not even guess it wasn’t the real thing, such obsessive attention has been paid to its design and creation.
Even if you don’t recognise his Valcrow pseudonym, you’ve probably come across some of Jacky Wan’s previous pieces. It is him we have to thank for projects such as the MechWarrior tribute to Sarah Marie Alia Parries, a 5 year old girl who died of cancer last year.
For this latest project, Valcrow set himself four goals to govern the job:
- Be true to the original design on the exterior
- Use a snap fit system for simplified glue assembly
- No excess seams or grooves
- Printable on a UM:O with no supports (where possible)
Valcrow realised from the beginning that this was a project that would push both his and the Ultimaker’s capabilities right to their limit. As he explains:
A motorcycle exhibits all the characteristics that make it difficult for FDM printing… The easy way out would have been to use supports and combine many parts together to eliminate the internal grooves, but I was determined to keep it authentic and clean looking. Which meant many, many small and separate parts.
Though just about every piece of the project took incredible skill to realise, with chains, handlebars and lots of thin attachments to worry about, the biggest test of all was the windshield. Valcrow says:
This was in the forefront of the bike, so it needed to be as clean as possible. At the same time, it had no flat surface on which to sit, and no angle where it didn’t need support. The solution was not obvious. I eventually settled on some custom supports, which allowed the windshield maximum resolution.
Each part was painted in enamels, acrylics and lacquer paints, which were then superglued together. The picture below shows many of the parts before and after the paint job. The designer, who claimed he wanted to ‘show Ducati just how versatile (Ultimaker) printers are’, certainly seems to have made good on his intentions.
Want your own scale replica of the Ducati 1199? Great. All you have to do is download the open sourced files through YouMagine. Well, that’s not quite all you have to do. You also have to print, paint and assemble them, which takes more than a little skill and experience. In fact, the designer recommends only intermediate to advanced modellers take up the task. If you’re new to 3D printing and have yet to master the discipline, however, fear not. A simplified beginners’ version should be on its way next month.