I came of age in the ’90s, and when I fell in love with the 24 hours of Le Mans I remember watching one particular race. It had a very special car, which took the checkered flag. It was the 1991 Mazda 787B— the first Japanese car to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
I think what amazed me about this car was its iconic and very colorful livery with orange and green patches that were outlined by interrupted white lines. Perhaps it was its super deep dish Rays wheels (whose offset doesn’t exist on any modern race car), or its super-low stance with a short body that was trailed by an enormous wing. Whatever it was, in my mind it is one of the most iconic race cars to have ever been built.
The model that you see in front of you, and yes that is a model, is an RC car that was 3D printed on a household printer. It was designed by me—yes me, the author of this piece.
In one of my many lives/jobs, I’m an accomplished CAD designer and 3D Printer evangelist. I got into CAD modeling and 3d Printing because I wanted to learn how to better design carbon fiber parts for cars that I was manufacturing. As I learned CAD, I built race cars. I started printing them off and posting the designs for free shortly after. I did this to allow people to build something really cool on their 3D printer, and to hopefully inspire them to learn CAD, which is a super valuable skill and trade.
I have made many cars: A couple of McLaren Ayrton Senna F1 cars, an Audi R18, a bunch of Motorcycles, but my favorite and my holy grail was designing and building the Mazda 787B.
I decided to post this here because Driveline is about celebrating car culture and having a model or an RC car of your hero car that you can build on your own expresses why we all love cars and racing. The people who have built my models are able to recapture a little of the magic of our heroes. I may never get to drive or let alone own the real Le Mans winner (short of a zombie apocalypse—it’s on my zombie list), but in my models, I can get behind the wheel, relive their greatness or feel the feeling of seeing Ayrton Senna driving again. I was happy to give the designs for free to the world so if somebody wants to build it or create it they can.
I think this article on a very realistic 3D printed RC car shows what technology has allowed us to do. It is a glimpse of the future of RC cars, 3D modeling, and another way for people to celebrate their heroes.
This project was developed by using Autodesk Fusion 360. The particular 3D printing that I used was FDM from Solutech 3D.
The model and Instructions can be downloaded at most of the major 3D printer depositories.