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Back to the Future films of 1985, 1989 and 1990 became an international phenomenon and favourite movies of several generations. The fantastic invention of the eccentric scientist Emmett “Doc” Brown, a DeLorean car turned into a time machine, can be a part of your 3D printed collection. Hobbyist Carlos Diaz worked hard for approximately nine months on his DeLorean 3D print. His masterpiece can now wow everyone and motivate you to start the same 3D printing project.

You probably remember the impressive 3D printed tank models by Carlos Diaz. This time the talented 3D printing enthusiast is happy to talk about his DeLorean model 1/8 made on two 3D printers.

DeLorean STL file

DeLorean DMC-12 3D Model for Printing

There were three DeLorean time machines (A, B and C cars) built by Universal Studios for the Back to the Future trilogy. But it was back in the 1980s.

In the twenty-first century, you can build your DeLorean model on a 3D printer using the STL files of the three DeLorean DMC-12 3D model kits. Gambody โ€“ Premium 3D printing marketplace offers a standard DeLorean model Kit 1 to make the car. Plus, there are two additional Kits 2 and 3 to add the car interior, active suspension, Mr Fusion, engines and other parts.

You can use the DeLorean STL file collection to recreate your replica of the iconic car:

  1. Download the standard DeLorean Kit 1 STL file.
  2. Download the DeLorean Kit 2 for 3D printing.
  3. Download the DeLorean Kit 3 STL file for 3D printing.
DeLorean model 1/8 3D print
DeLorean model 1/8 3D printed by Carlos Diaz

And if you are looking for advice or wish to adore the finished DeLorean 3D print photos, read Gambody’s interview with Carlos Diaz. His ideas will impress every Back to the Future fan.

1. Carlos, it is a pleasure to talk to you again, this time about the fantastic DeLorean 3D print. Do you love the Back to the Future 1985 film?

For me, it is a pleasure to talk about “my children”.

The film marked many young people at that time. It made us dream about flying cars, being able to talk to our parents when they were young or a possible not-too-distant future. All thanks to a car, a milestone in its time, modified by a scientist geek in his garage.

Carlos Diaz with a 3D printed DeLorean car
Carlos Diaz with his 3D printed DeLorean car

The Back to the Future 1985 film has all the ingredients to captivate a whole generation. And, of course, I was the first to get touched by this insane car.

2. You chose a 1/8 scale for the DeLorean car 3D print from Back to the Future. How many elements have you redesigned? What new pieces have you added to your 3D printing model?

The DeLorean DMC-12 3D model from Gambody marketplace has many interesting details, such as the active suspension, the chassis, the engine, transmission. That is why I wanted to print it.

Redesigned DeLorean car wheel by Carlos Diaz
Redesigned wheel by Carlos Diaz

I also wanted to go further and make it a project to reinforce and expand my technical design knowledge. I didn’t have the hope of finishing it. I have never thought I was capable of it. The truth is, I just decided to do the western version and to add a lot of details, lights and sound.

Firstly, I started to create the new design above the original DeLorean 3D printing model. Many elements have not been modified. Others have only been modified to break them into pieces and to have better impressions. And many others have been designed by me, including the fusion engine rear, clocks inside, time box, golden box inside, box on the bonnet, wheels, bearings and brakes.

Switch box for DeLorean 3D printed car
Switch box

I would not know how to quantify all the new parts I have added to the DeLorean car from Back to the Future. I would have the impression I made 8 or 10 parts to do a simple switch box in many cases.

Switch box 3D printed for DeLorean model 1/8
Switch box 3D printed by Carlos Diaz

3. Did you use Autodesk Fusion 360 to model new parts for the DeLorean 3D printing model? How much time did you spend on redesigning?

Yes, I used Autodesk Fusion 360. It is the software I knew a bit before I started. Thanks to this project, I have learned a lot.

DeLorean parts, including Mr Fusion
DeLorean parts, including Mr Fusion

I never count the hours I dedicate to design, printing or post-processing. But of the nine months that it has taken me to finish the DeLorean model 1/8 3D print, most of the time has been dedicated to designing it. It helped me value the amount of work behind each of these cool 3D printing projects.

DeLorean 3D printing model
3D printing DeLorean car

4. What inspired you to wire the DeLorean 3D print? How many wires and lights did the time machine from Back to the Future require?

My previous work was already a model with lighting. It really gives a lot of “life” to the 3D printed model. Therefore, in this case, the LEDs and also the sound could not be missing.

The original DeLorean car from Back to the Future has a ton of lights. I’ve tried as much as possible to put all of them on.

Tiny light bulb for the 3D printed car model
Tiny light bulb for the car model

I have used 48 LEDs of a USB strip for the whole DeLorean 3D printed model and three blue neon cables. The LEDs have been cut individually. I soldered the wires that would later go through all the holes I was making in the different pieces, such as the doors that have 2 LEDs. Getting the cable through has been a work of design and patience.

5. How long were the USB LED strips you used to light up the DeLorean 3D print?

I already had several 1-meter USB strips with LEDs at home. I used warm white and cool white in the elements.

Blue neon cable LED USB strip
Blue neon cable

The important thing is that each LED has its resistance to be able to cut them individually. The lights that look red, green, yellow or blue are transparent paints that have been applied to achieve that tone.

6. Can you please share more details about the Arduino nano that controls the lights?

Since I wanted to give lights and sound effects to the DeLorean 3D printing model, it was better to use an Arduino and mp3 card.

The initial intention was to find a place in the car model to put these components. But after examining the whole model, I could not do it, so I decided to put them in the base.

Arduino to light the DeLorean 3D print
Working with an Arduino

As I have already commented, I had previously done another project with Arduino, so I recycled the code to fit the new model and support the sound card. I have used 12 lines of LEDs to alive the model like front and rear lights, turn signals, blue neon.

7. Did you work on the DeLorean 3D print alone? Or did anyone help you to bring the iconic car from Back to the Future to life?

All my work is done by myself without any help, from the first to the last step.

DeLorean 3D print model
DeLorean 3D print by Carlos Diaz

8. You mentioned that you did no post-processing work. You only 3D printed DeLorean model 1/8 parts, painted and mounted them. Why? Were the parts smooth enough when printed with 0.05mm layer height and 0.25mm nozzle?

Well, I did not want to sand any piece because, honestly, I never believed that this project would finish as I said initially. And since the purpose was not the finish but learning Fusion 360, I left it as is, and I have only put spray putty and paint.

When I began to see that I could finish it, that it was within my reach, I could not give a different finish to the new pieces. Anyway, working with a 0.25mm nozzle and 0.05mm layer height, the pieces come out very well from the machine and do not require much more work.

DeLorean 3D printing model
DeLorean model parts 3D printed by Carlos Diaz

9. What 3D printer or 3D printers did you use? How much filament did the whole project require?

Well, I have used an Artillery X1 (60%) and an Anycubic i3 Mega (40%). I do not give so much importance to 3D printers. The important thing is to have them very well adjusted and calibrated.

I don’t know precisely the quantity of filament used, but about 4 kilos (8.8 lbs).

3D printed DeLorean model
3D printed DeLorean

10. What filament did you choose for the DeLorean 3D printing model tires? Are they flexible?

They are train wheels, and since they are thin and I wanted to give them some resistance, I printed them in HIPS.

DeLorean time machine 3D printing model
Making DeLorean time machine

I have used several materials throughout the project, such as the HIPS that I mentioned. I have also used PLA, ABS, and a unique filament that becomes transparent when treated with alcohol.

11. You mentioned that you 3D printed the DeLorean car cabin split lengthwise. Did it help to make it more resistant to the front pillars? Did you make a vertical test print at first?

Yes, I printed the cabin divided lengthwise to give resistance to those pillars since it is a delicate element.

3D printing DeLorean car elements
3D printing DeLorean elements

Also, in the design, I put a fitting to introduce an acetate as a windshield later on. Since the gull wings doors hanging from the ceiling and the model have to be manipulated to pass cables, I did not want to risk having some mishap. So when putting the piece in the lamination software, I already saw that it was necessary to split this piece.

12. Did you use the acetate sheet for the windshield only? Or was it also used for the front door glass?

Yes, I also thought about printing them and giving them transparency, but it is never the same as acetate.

Acetate window for 3D print
Acetate window

13. The transparent windows look stunning! How did the idea to use the transparent acetate sheet for windows come to your mind?

I have already made many models and seen many modelling videos. For that reason, it is something that I already knew for a long time, and its use is widespread in modalism. For example, the window on the cap of the fluzo condenser is an acetate.

Acetate for DeLorean car 3D printed windows
DeLorean DMC-12 part made of acetate

14. How did you manage to trip the acetate sheet to fit inside the frames?

Since I had those pieces in Fusion 360, it is easy to 3D print the plan on paper. I temporarily glue that paper to acetate and cut it along the line. It is something straightforward.

15. How complicated was it to make the flux capacitor so life-like? Was it the most challenging part of the project or not?

Although not the most difficult, the flux capacitor is the most symbolic part of the Delorean car from Back to the Future.

DeLorean car door 3D print
DeLorean car door 3D printed by Carlos Diaz

The most difficult parts were the doors and getting them to open efficiently. Also, being able to put cables and lights has been the biggest challenge.

Flux capacitor with lights 3D print
Flux capacitor made by Carlos Diaz

The flux capacitor has its history. The lights have to make an illumination effect from the centre to the outside. I connected the cables to the Arduino poorly in a test I did, so it lit up from the outside towards the centre.

DeLorean 3D print flux capacitor with LED lights
DeLorean flux capacitor made by Carlos Diaz

I liked that a lot. Therefore, I decided to adopt it in the final assembly, although it was not faithful to the original. I did not like to cover the rear fusion motor, and I have also taken the liberty of leaving it uncovered.

16. You added words on various parts of the DeLorean 3D printed model. Did you use white stickers? Or how was this delicate dรฉcor implemented?

Yes, the stickers. I made them in my company copivalles.es, we have professional machines, so I have achieved a very good quality.

Stickers for DeLorean DMC-12 3D printed model
Stickers

I have used white printed adhesive vinyl. The fact of being white is essential. If, for example, I put a red light behind it, it will look red. The effect is very realistic and beautiful.

17. You mentioned that you used Vallejo Model Colour for painting the model. Did you airbrush or work with a regular brush?

Yes, I began my journey with these paintings, and now they are the ones I use. In all my work, I use the airbrush, and for fine details, I use brushes.

DeLorean car 3D printed by Carlos Diaz

18. You chose the Gunmetal and Natural Steel colours for the exterior of the DeLorean time machine 3D print. What other paint colours did you use?

Yes, I also used black, white, red, grey, blue, chrome and a product ‘metallizer’ to get metallic colours, plus red and yellow transparent colours. I also decorated the floor’s interior upholstery with a grey flocking that gives it much more realism.

DeLorean car from Back to the Future interior upholstery of the floor
DeLorean car interior upholstery of the floor

Flocking is like very short hairs that stick to the model and give it that moquette look.

19. Which parts of the model did you decorate using a clip of the paper sheets?

I used the clips because they are efficient for many things, on the door hinges and the front bonnet. I use it as a pivot axis, considering that they are very thin and resistant, it is ideal for this task. I have also used it as a retention bracket for doors and bonnet. In the case of the bonnet, it is the axis of the shock absorber.

DeLorean 3D printing model and clips from sheets of paper
Using clips of the paper sheets

I also used the leaf clip in some elements, such as the filament of light bulbs. Using a plastic clip allowed me to design a retractable filament to put it inside the bulb and make it bigger.

Making light bulbs for DeLorean car 3D print
Making light bulbs

20. Was printing and painting the rail platform for the DeLorean time machine model easier than making the car itself?

The base of the diorama is the train tracks. They also have a very good definition and detail. I have not considered changing anything. I just left them like they were 3D printed. I only changed the track’s width by a few millimetres to adapt it to the measurement changes applied in DeLorean 3D print.

DeLorean DMC-12 model 3D printed by Carlos Diaz
DeLorean DMC-12 model 3D printed by Carlos Diaz

It was printed at 0.15mm layer height since it had many layers of paint in addition to the spray filler. I also added pigments to give it more realism, and with that, I also covered the layers a little more. The printing, assembly and painting process is the simplest. It is only made difficult by the gigantic size of the set, which is 800 millimetres long.

Rail platform for DeLorean 3D print
Rail platform

21. Did you start the project in May 2020 and finish in December 2020? How many hours a day did you devote to working on the DeLorean 3D print?

I started the project in April 2020 and finished it in December 2020. The pandemic, unfortunately, forced us to spend a lot of time at home. And in my case, I have had a lot of time to dedicate to this project.

DeLorean car from Back to the Future
DeLorean car from Back to the Future

There were many days that I worked on the 3D printed DeLorean car from Back to the Future for 6 or 8 hours a day. And some days, I was only able to dedicate one hour to this 3D print.

What I can affirm without any doubt is that this is the project in which I have invested the most hours.

DeLorean 3D print car
Close-up look

22. How did you make the display case for the time machine with rails?

The way to expose the 3D printed DeLorean model has not been clear until almost the end. It was only clear that inside I had to put the Arduino, the mp3 card and a speaker.

Thinking about it, I remembered the element that differentiates the DeLorean of this time. It is the mythical box of Pepsi-Cola that they put on the front hood of the car. I designed mine.

Display case for DeLorean 3D print
A unique display case for DeLorean 3D print

I had a great time with it, looking for how to make small light bulbs, put filament inside (how could it be otherwise, a clip of paper sheets), and find the appropriate fabric that imitates the leather to make the leather straps that hold it.

DeLorean car decoration 3D printed
Decoration designed by Carlos Diaz

Well, what better idea than to make this box big and put my DeLorean 3D printed model inside. I designed it, and I liked the result. So, I bought some plywood boards. I gave it the treatment, and I aged it a little with Bitumen of Judea.

DeLorean 3D printed model
DeLorean 3D printed model by Carlos Diaz

I remind you that the film was released in 1985. There were no very used boxes of Pepsi-Cola hehehehe. Also, I wanted to give it a special touch by cutting with laser a methacrylate. And my company Copivalles helped with a vinyl printed on the back.

DeLorean DMC-12 3D print
DeLorean DMC-12 3D print by Carlos Diaz

23. Was the DeLorean time machine 3D print a more difficult 3D printing project than building 3D printed tanks? Or not?

Really and without any doubt, this DeLorean 3D print is the most complex project I have ever done.

There is a whole process that has to be taken into account in the design, assembly, pitch and thickness of the cables, where cables have to be spliced, etc. Many factors do not always go the way you want.

Cables for LED lights for DeLorean DMC-12 model 1/8
Numerous cables

Regarding 3D printing tank models, they have the advantage that if there is a failure, you put mud, dirt or a little rust on it and solve it.

24. What is your next 3D printing idea?

Right now, I do not have any 3D printing project in mind. But indeed, a new adventure will appear soon in which I will learn and entertain myself.


Are you planning to use the STL file of the car model from Back to the Future? Create your DeLorean 3D print and share your work’s stunning photographs in Gambody 3D Printing Community on Facebook. Let everyone enjoy your version of the 3D printed DeLorean DMC-12 that is willing to travel back in time or into the future.

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