“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
– Doc Brown
My husband’s favorite movie trilogy is Back to the Future, and I’m a pretty big fan myself. So when I heard Brett Turnage‘s latest 3D-printed RC car was the Delorean time machine, I had to know more. Turnage, the founder of BTI3Dlabs, first designed the Delorean back in 2017.
“I thought, ‘I’d love to have a Delorean Time Machine.’ I had just learned lofting in Fusion 360 and I built the Delorean as a way to test my skills,” Turnage told 3DPrint.com. “The Delorean has always had a certain allure to me. I’m an ‘80s kid, so growing up I fell in love with Back to the Future II and its flying Delorean Time Machine and Barbie hoverboard.”
After making a CAD model of the car, Turnage released the files and the renderings online, which “became a hit.”
“I’ve been asked by companies to use it and its been something has been a real positive, but I always planned to turn it into a RC car to really bring it to life,” he explained.
A car rendering is often not much more than the outside body, and turning it into a working 1:10 ratio RC vehicle takes a lot of work. The many components and systems must work well together, and the cockpit of the Delorean doesn’t have the strong bubble shape of the F1 and other race cars that Turnage has printed. Additionally, the Delorean has extremely thin A and B pillars around its trunk area and passenger side, which “would be a failure point” if he tried printing them.
Turnage gutted his design and started working on the chassis in 2018, but stopped with about 30% left to finish, as he just didn’t have time to build more RC cars. But then, the COVID-19 crisis began.
“World stops, and I found myself working on masks for people and along the way I thought ‘I should release the Delorean.’ I felt it would make people smile and get laugh at seeing this iconic vehicle come to life,” he told us.
The 3D-printed Delorean RC car sure makes me smile!
Turnage got back to work, breaking the car into components and working on the iconic gull-wing doors, which needed nuts and bolts so they would bind to the roof.
“They close on their own and are held shut by N52 magnets. There’s an M2x20 rod which acts as the pivot point for the hinge,” he explained. “I decided not to incorporate windows because, unlike a typical RC car where the body lifts off the chassis, the Delorean’s body is apart of the chassis, so this car is a unibody. A windowless design with the gull-wing doors gives easy access to all of the electronics.”
He fixed the issue with the thin A and B pillars design by building a roll cage. This kept the design “as true to life as possible,” but made the specific areas more robust by “increasing their cross-section.”
“The whole car is meant to be as realistic as possible and just like the real Delorean Time Machine its based off of a 1982 DMC-12. So first I built a DMC-12 and then the time machine parts are added to it with glue. So underneath all of the time machine parts are real bumpers and a fully fleshed out recreation of a DMC-12,” Turnage told 3DPrint.com. “I’m aware that not everyone wants a time machine, so the time machine parts are optional.”
I mean, I’m not sure I want to know the person who doesn’t want a time machine, but we all have our flaws, right?
He built the Delorean with parts sourced from the Tamiya F104 Pro II kit, and integrated its T-bar style into his own design. To make the wheels resemble the multi-spoke counterparts from the original Delorean, Turnage added concave wheels, a dish and a lip to the front and rear of the car.
“I wish I could’ve made the wheels flip and fly, but flipping wheels would have required micro wheels and it would just be a gimmick and flying would have required drone fans everywhere,” he told us.
His favorite part of the Delorean RC car is the detailed Mr. Fusion reactor, which comes out even better if you use an SLA system to print it.
“Adding the EL rope to illuminate the time machine as it hits 88mph and goes through time was a nice touch that no Delorean recreation would be without,” Turnage said. “I drilled holes though the model and weaved the wires through the car.”
It took Turnage seven days of building, and 3D printing around the clock, to finish the Delorean RC car model. He’s published detailed instructions on Instructables, and you can find the free files on several sites like Cults3D, MyMiniFactory, and Thingiverse.
“I hope that people can see the benefits that 3d printing can offer industries like RC cars where the only thing stopping us is our own imagination,” Turnage told us.
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(Images provided by Brett Turnage)
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