3D printed Aston Martin wins spot in new James Bond film

A 3D printed version of James Bond's iconic Aston Martin DB5 was used in the new Skyfall film to protect the priceless 1960's original, it has been revealed.

British firm Propshop Modelmakers was commissioned to create three miniature versions of the vehicle to save the original from being put through a series of huge explosions and stunts. 18 parts in total were created using Augsburg-based firm Voxeljet's VX4000 printer, which is designed to build moulds and models in dimensions from just 18micron layers up to 100m. Voxeljet's UK agent, Kevin Smith, told Eureka that to create the 3D printed pieces took just 60 hours. The hardest part, he said, was manipulating the CAD data. For this task the company used a specialist software platform called Magics from Belgian-based firm Materialise. "Manipulating the CAD data was one of the hardest things to do," Smith noted. "Compared to other printers, the VX4000 requires extremely specific data. In one respect this was good because it ensured a high level of accuracy. In other respects, it was a challenge because there was absolutely no room for error." After getting the CAD data right, the Voxeljet team set about creating the printed car parts from the plastic material PMMA. "The individual components made of PMMA featured outstanding attention to detail, but were also very stable and resilient," said Smith. "This meant that they were very well suited for mechanical post-processing." Once the parts were printed, the subsequent assembly, finishing, lacquering in the original colour, chroming of certain components and the application of realistic bullet holes was the task of the model builders at Propshop Modelmakers, which is headquartered at Pinewood Studios. "There really is no doubt in my mind that 3D printing will transform the film industry, as well as a whole host of other indsutries" Smith concluded. "We're now able to print everything from replica cars to people in a matter of hours. It's hugely exciting and something we see growing exponentially in the coming years."