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Tiny 3D-Printed Engines Are Stunning Motor Masterpieces

| Features

Incredibly detailed 1:4 scale versions of your favorite engines.


Scale models and automotive enthusiasm have gone hand-in-hand since the earliest Hot Rod days. In modern times, you'll find countless ways to indulge in these tiny replicas that often end up next to your monitor or on a shelf for display. Few, however, are as detailed and on-brand as the 1:4 scale 3D printed masterpieces coming from DBS Works.

The New Kid

The brand's creator and owner, Diego, is based in Madrid, Spain, and has experienced a meteoric rise through the social media ranks as images of his incredibly detailed engines are constantly being shared. Some are standard replicas of mostly Honda engines (with a few Nissan and Toyota versions offered as well), while others are one-off customs requested by eager customers looking for something unique to match their personal projects.

Based on the level of precision, we expected a team of artists, or, at the very least, a group of savvy 3D printing gurus to be at the core of DBS Works. What we found is that it's just one guy using self-taught skills to supply a growing demand using a process that offers incredible freedom yet robs precious hours with lengthy procedures.

"I don't have any experience in 3D printing or 3D modeling," Diego states. "I was into 1:24 scale model cars, which you have to assemble and paint yourself, and I saw some awesome 3D prints that people made for their cars. I loved to paint the little engines that come with those kits and seeing the capabilities of a 3D printer, I thought it might be possible to make a larger scale engine to display on its own"

Self-Taught Mastery

Diego purchased his first 3D printer and began his own research into basic C.A.D. 3D modeling. Feeling like he had enough knowledge to start printing something on his own, he began with a Honda K20A—a favorite of his as it was the same engine that powered his Civic Type R. He adds, "I just wanted a cool model of a K20A to sit on my desk and I created an Instagram account to share pictures of it." A large account on Instagram took notice and shared some of his images and overnight, it became a hit with a long list of interested enthusiasts messaging and asking, "how much?"

Seeing a demand for his custom models, Diego decided to try making them for the masses. "I was a little overwhelmed but after a bit of thinking, I decided to start selling them. I only intended to make the K20, but since I enjoyed making it so much, I decided to try making a Honda B-series, and then a Nissan RB26DETT. Seeing that so many people liked it and I got so many requests, I decided to continue making the engines I liked most—which are mostly Honda engines except for the Toyota 2JZGTE and RB26."

The process starts with a C.A.D. 3D model image and makes its way to Diego's printer shortly after, but the production itself isn't a quick one. He notes, "Printing time on average is about 80 hours. Then I must assemble, paint, and pack the item for shipping. 3D printing is amazing because you can see your ideas turned into reality within hours, but it's not the fastest technology from a [mass] production perspective." Custom parts required for customers that want a specific style or replica of their personal set up require additional 3D modeling time and assembly is typically more involved than a standard kit.

Pulling Double Duty

Even with the long-winded 3D printing process, Diego has managed to stay in front of the orders he has coming in and offers a reasonable lead time, though he mentions that it's been impossible to produce some additional stock to speed up orders. We should add that all of this is done while he still maintains his regular full-time job. DBS Works remains a side project and leaves very little free time for Diego. "I'm ok with this being a hobby/business and I will continue making these as long as I feel motivated and keep enjoying the process. "

The engine models are available fully assembled and ready for display or as a DIY kit, handing off the assembly and painting duties to the customer. Either way, the finished product is remarkably accurate, with casting lines, a water pump housing carved into place, intake and exhaust manifolds included and more. Even the crank pulley, flywheel, timing chain tensioner, and injectors are all separate pieces rather than a "blob" of plastic like other scale models you might have encountered.

Rolling Out Something New

Along with the engines being offered, Diego also began producing single piece, 1:5 scale collectable wheels with display cases featuring the Mugen M7, MF10, MR5, NR10R, and RnR. "I thought it would be cool to make small replicas of highly collectible Mugen wheels. They've been rising in price in recent years and have become something of an iconic object from the '80s and '90s JDM era." In addition, he's also introduced other wheels, including Volk's legendary TE37 and Spoon's SW388.

Along with fulfilling standard and custom engine and wheel orders, Diego is also working on creating scaled versions of popular valve covers as collectables that he'd like to offer. He of course has the 3D modeling completed already but is still working out the overall sizing and display details. Just another step for the guy that stumbled into a new hobby which in turn blossomed into a full-blown business that has enthusiasts around the world talking.

If you're interested in ordering one of Diego's unique creations, you can reach him on his DBS Works Instagram account.


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VIAM manufactured the first Russian 3D printed jet engine

Specialists of the All-Russian Research Institute of Aviation Materials (VIAM) completed the first domestic project for the production of a gas turbine engine using additive technologies. The manufactured functional prototype is a promising development of a small-sized engine for unmanned aerial vehicles. According to VIAM CEO Evgeny Kablov, some unique characteristics, including the design of the combustion chamber with a wall thickness of only 0.3 mm, were achieved only through the use of 3D printing. Recall that earlier VIAM produced 3D-printed swirlers for combustion chamber front-end devices for PD-14 engines designed for operation on promising MS-21 long-haul airliners and currently undergoing flight tests.

3D printing can even be used to print engines.


  • 1 3D printer Pollen PAM
  • 2 Table 3D-printing with metals
  • 3 Budgetary educational 3D printer
  • 4 Tomsk Polytechnic will be prepared by 3D printer developers
  • 5 Prototyping center in St. Petersburg
  • 6 Printing houses on a 3D printer
  • 7 The first domestic 3D printer for metal printing
  • 8 A group of 3D printers
  • 9 First Russian festival Maker Faire

Pollen Pam 3D printer

The device uses a scheme borrowed from delta robots.

The French company Pollen has introduced a desktop 3D printer that can not only print colored products, but also use granular plastics as consumables. The massive print head is capable of mixing four materials of different types and colors at once, including both conventional thermoplastics and carbon fiber and mineral composites. In order for the bulky head not to interfere with fast printing, the assembly is fixed, and a light worktable is set in motion along all three axes. According to 3Dtoday, the use of granulated plastic instead of filament will theoretically allow not only to reduce the cost of consumables, but also to recycle plastic waste shredded with a shredder.

Desktop Metal 3D Printing

A 1/2 pound spool of copper or bronze composite is $85.

One of the most cherished areas in 3D printing is the printing of metal products. Unfortunately, this area is almost exclusively represented by industrial installations, whose cost ranges from a few hundred thousand to a couple of million dollars. Available additive technologies are tailored for printing with thermoplastics and photopolymer resins, but there is a possibility to circumvent fundamental limitations. The method consists in 3D printing with composites consisting of polymers filled with metal powder. Such materials are not only outwardly similar to metals, but can also be fired with sintering of metal particles. A series of specialized bars "Filamet" was presented by Virtual Foundry: composites based on PLA and ABS are 88% composed of metal particles. Although a sufficiently high shrinkage is unavoidable during firing, the final products can safely be called all-metal.

Budget Educational 3D Printer

Printer operation is simplified to the maximum with features such as automatic calibration, and specially designed filaments that do not contain toxic substances will be used as consumables.

Taiwanese company XYZ Printing offers a dedicated da Vinci miniMaker printer for teaching basic 3D printing skills. The device is intended primarily for educational institutions, and its main advantage is its low price, which is only 229dollars. The printer was developed on the basis of the popular da Vinci line, which has found fame as inexpensive, but very high-quality and capable 3D printing devices. Users will also have access to the XYZmaker entry-level 3D editor and the XYZprinting STEAM educational project.

Tomsk Polytechnic University will train developers of 3D printers

Ten state-funded places were allocated for the program, and the first admission to the master's program will take place this fall.

Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) announced its intention to train specialists in the field of additive technologies. As Vitaly Drobchik, secretary of the selection committee, explained, the emphasis will be placed not so much on training technicians to service 3D printing equipment, but on engineers capable of developing new technologies and devices. As 3Dtoday notes, the university has the necessary groundwork: TPU is known for the successful development of technologies in the field of production of fine powders, the manufacture of experimental 3D-printed implants from titanium alloys and participation in the project of the first Russian satellite with 3D-printed structural elements "Tomsk-TPU 120", currently awaiting launch from the International Space Station.

St. Petersburg Prototyping Center

A new prototyping center has opened in St. Petersburg to help small businesses and innovative companies develop and mass-produce new products. The center offers a wide range of tools, including six 3D printers, 3D scanners, measurement instruments and electronic circuit debugging equipment. According to Sergey Varlamov, director, the center has already implemented thirteen projects of varying complexity, including 3D printing of a ship power plant model for a large industrial enterprise. The doors of the center are open to companies of any profile.

Printing houses on a 3D printer

Building a house on a 3D printer? Easy!

Spanish architects are considering the idea of ​​3D building printing, but refuse to keep up with the rest of the developers. The fact is that Catalan researchers are interested in the possibility of building high-rise buildings, where popular stationary 3D printers will not be applicable due to size restrictions. Instead of fencing skyscraper-tall 3D printers, researchers at the Institute of Contemporary Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) suggest entrusting the task to teams of small 3D-printing robots that can navigate the walls being erected. In the current version, the tasks are distributed among three groups of machines: the first lays the foundation and prints the first layers of the walls, the second increases the walls in height, moving along the upper layers, and the third crawls directly along the surfaces of the walls, holding with the help of vacuum pumps and strengthening the structure with additional layers of the mixture. Although full-fledged construction with the help of such devices seems to be a matter of the distant future, construction robots may soon find application in the construction of especially dangerous sections of high-rise buildings.

The first domestic metal 3D printer

Why use only plastic when you can use metal?

Ural Federal University (UrFU) intends to demonstrate its own industrial 3D printer for printing metals using the selective laser deposition method (SLM) at the upcoming INNOPROM 2016 exhibition. According to the First Vice-Rector Sergei Kortov, "the machines do not require the purchase of imported components, in addition, domestic software is used." According to 3Dtoday sources, the share of domestic components and software can reach 80%. The development of an experimental device is carried out for about six months, and similar devices manufactured by the German company EOS were used in its manufacture.

If the project is successful, it will be possible to eliminate the critical dependence of the domestic additive industry on the supply of foreign industrial equipment for metal 3D printing. The exhibition is scheduled for July 11-14.

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3D Printer Group

The software controls the robot arm that maintains the 3D farm offline.

It is generally accepted that 3D printing is limited to rapid prototyping, but at least small-scale production is possible and economically justified using 3D printing farms. However, the simultaneous operation of ten or more desktop printers requires the constant attention of the operator, monitoring for possible failures, removing and cleaning finished models, and reloading 3D printers with consumables. To make things easier, startup Tend.ai came up with a slightly intimidating idea: instead of keeping track of ten machines, why not entrust the task to one more machine? To this end, the team is developing a control system with elements of artificial intelligence.

The high flexibility of the system makes it easy to retrain robots to work with different models of 3D printers, and the number of simultaneously serviced devices in the current version reaches 30 pieces. The commercial premiere of the Tend.ai system is scheduled for 2018.

The first Russian festival Maker Faire

There is no more famous holiday in the world community of DIYers than Maker Faire festivals.

These events have been held all over the world for about ten years and attract enthusiasts with the most crazy and ingenious ideas. The first Russian festival Maker Faire will take place this year, and the organizer will be the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys (NUST MISIS). It should be noted that MISiS has its own digital laboratory, or "fab lab", and therefore has the most direct relation to the community of makers. The rich program of the festival will consist of at least eighty projects, several performances for young and adult makers, as well as presentations of companies producing equipment for skilled hands. The festival will take place on 9-July 10, admission will be free, but to receive tickets, you must register on the official website of Moscow Mini Maker Fair.

3D Printing3D PrintersJet EnginesChemical Elements Metals

To submit a comment, you must either Every year 3D printing becomes more and more popular. The 3D printer, as a tool for turning a digital model into a physical object, is gaining popularity, outperforming other production methods in many ways due to its affordability.

But do not forget that a 3D printer is just a tool. A lot depends on how this tool will be used.

Available 3D printing technologies

All 3D technologies can be conditionally divided into 4 types.

Layer by layer welding with molten material.

The principle of operation is similar to the familiar glue gun. The print media is melted to a semi-liquid state in the print head and applied with a nozzle to the print surface where it solidifies. This is how the finished 3D model “grows” layer by layer on the printing table. Not only thermoplastics can be used as consumables, but, for example, chocolate, icing, concrete, etc.

This is the most common type of printer. Inexpensive FDM printers are often used as home assistants. This is facilitated by an inexpensive price and a variety of consumables.

Selective curing of resin (photopolymer printers).

The material used is a photopolymer resin that hardens under the influence of UV radiation. As a source of UV radiation, a thin laser beam, a DLP projector or an LCD screen with a UV matrix, or any other design can be used. For example, some industrial 3D printers apply a photopolymer using thin nozzles and immediately illuminate it with a UV lamp.

Previously, these printers were quite expensive. Today, with advances in technology, photopolymer 3D printing has become affordable and photoresin printers have become popular as home hobby printers.

Selective bonding of powdered material.

On the print head of the printer there are several nozzles through which a binder is supplied, which is selectively applied to the powdered material. Various materials can be used as a material: for example, gypsum or metal powders. But gypsum is most often used.

Since dye can be added to the "glue" during printing, such printers are usually used for the production of color demonstration models or souvenirs.

Laser sintering of powdered materials.

The youngest technology, but with great potential for use in large-scale production. With the help of a laser or a heated print head, selective sintering of the metal powder occurs in an environment filled with an inert gas.

These are already serious industrial printers that are used for the production of functional metal assemblies and parts. Currently, such 3D printers are actively used in the aerospace industry.

Unethical use

3D piracy

Where there is duplication of objects, there are always disputes about copyright and piracy.

The production of any product is a long and painstaking work, and often more than one person. Before you get a finished decorative product, for example, a figurine, you need to think through everything to the smallest detail. Usually, before modeling, the artist draws a lot of sketches, the details of clothing and accessories are thought out. Only after that the 3D modeler gets to work and begins painstakingly recreating the 3D model.

Functional models are often redesigned by engineers after the prototype has been made. There can be a very long way between the initial idea and a stable working mechanism. And it’s very disappointing when such work is simply copied and posted in the public domain.


It was one of the first mass manifestations of "3D piracy". At that time, 3D printing was only gaining popularity, and many users, having printed a dozen figurines, were looking for a useful application for a 3D printer. Given the low plastic consumption, the printed LEGO blocks were very inexpensive.

3D printed LEGO bricks

Despite the far from ideal surface, many were satisfied with such a copy. Some have argued that the accuracy of a home FDM printer is not enough for the bricks to fit well with the original LEGO, but for most users everything fit perfectly.

At the moment, LEGO is actively removing models that copy the original sizes of the famous bricks and men from the network. On popular sites, only custom elements of LEGO-men and LECO are left that are not the original size.

Custom heads for LEGO men

Games Workshop

Games Workshop, which produce the most expensive table soldiers in the world, sued Thomas Valenti (USA) back in 2012. Thomas has modeled, printed and made publicly available several miniatures based on the Warhammer universe. The court sided with Games Workshop and the models had to be removed.

3D Printed Chaplain

Warhammer 40k 3D Chaplain

Games Workshop went one step further by banning fans from creating art and other work based on the original settings and characters. As a boycott, users of the Warhammer 40,000 section on Reddit are proposing to abandon the company's products as much as possible - print game figures on 3D printers, use paints from other companies, or switch to other universes.


The production of modern films is not a cheap pleasure, and film companies try to recoup their costs not only by showing them in cinemas, but, for example, by producing souvenirs.

DreamWorks has an entire consumer goods division that helps recoup the cost of a movie if it fails at the box office. Film companies recognize that fan-made productions often surpass the official "souvenir" in accuracy and detail.

DC Universe Batman fan model

Many film companies are closely following the development of 3D printed merchandise, but do not yet know how to respond. For example, Paramount Pictures, Marvel Studios and Warner Bros. They themselves began to upload models for 3D printing to the network, before the release of new films.

Weapon Seal

Seal of weapons

24-year-old law student Cody Wilson was the first to make a gun on a 3D printer. Cody designed and 3D printed a combat pistol on his own. After 8 years, the idea of ​​making firearms using 3D printing has not only not died out, but flared up with a bright fire.

It started in Texas in 2012. It was there that the company Defense Distributed was registered, the ideology of which was the development of models of firearms that anyone could make on a home 3D printer.



The first “swallow” was the Liberator - a compact plastic pistol printed on a 3D printer from ABS plastic. The only thing that could not be made on a 3D printer was the striker, which was successfully replaced by an ordinary nail. The first printed pistol was made on a Stratasys Dimension SST 3D printer.

Liberator - the name is borrowed from a cheap pistol that was developed in 1942 in the USA.

The Liberator fired a fairly weak .380 ACP round and could only last a dozen rounds at most.

Failed Liberator

Zig Zag

In the spring of 2014, a video appeared on the Internet with a man shooting from a plastic revolver with a huge drum. The video greatly stirred up all of Japan.

Zig Zag

Unknown was Yoshitomo Imura (Yoshitomo Imura) - 28-year-old employee of the Shonan Institute of Technology. Despite Imuru's claim that he fired blanks on the tape, he was arrested and sentenced to 2 years in prison.

The Zig Zag design was a reimagining of revolvers popular in the 19th century, which used a rotating .38 caliber barrel block mounted on a pistol grip.


In 2015, mechanical engineering student James Patrick posted a video online showing a 3D printed PM522 Washbear in operation.

PM522 Washbear

The PM522 visually resembled a children's pistol from a science fiction movie, but at the same time the pistol had a strong and rigid frame. Washbear is also safer than its predecessors. At rest, the firing mechanism was not in line with the primer, so the PM522 was protected from accidental firing, for example, when dropped. The only metal part was the nail that replaced the striker.



Canadian with the nickname CanadianGunNut, ThreeD Ukulele or simply Matthew, inspired by the Liberator project, designed and posted his project - Grizzly. Grizzly is an ABS+ plastic rifle. It took the Canadian 3 days to design the rifle and another 27 hours to manufacture it using a Stratasys Dimension 1200es industrial 3D printer.

Grizzly 9 Rifle0155

The first version of the Grizzly had a smooth and straight .22 barrel. But this turned out to be not a very good decision, and the barrel cracked after the first shot. Subsequently, Matthew replaced the barrel with a tapered barrel with rifling inside.

Plastic “cutting” could not affect the ballistics of the bullet in any way, but added strength to the barrel.


Liberator 12k

The Liberator 12k is a 12-round shotgun made by a well-known, in narrow circles, enthusiast in the world of 3D printing - Jeff Rodriguez.

Liberator 12k

Rodriguez managed to create a simple and at the same time reliable design, "mixing" a pistol and a pump-action shotgun in the design of the Liberator 12k. A huge plus for manufacturing and reliability was the absence of small parts in the shotgun mechanism.

Since the plastic was not strong enough, Rodriguez reinforced the design of the Liberator 12k with metal pins and added metal tubes inside the barrel and drum. The metal parts were purchased from a regular hardware store, so anyone could easily make a Liberator 12k with their home 3D printer.

Semi-automatic weapons


The first sign was the Shuty-MP1, a semi-automatic pistol made by an amateur gunsmith with the nickname Derwood, in April 2017.


Shuty AP-9

The Shuty AP-9 still uses a pistol barrel, but the trigger and return spring are taken from the civilian version of the M16. This improved the reliability of the rifle.

Ethical use

Despite the negative examples of application, 3D printing is actively used in many areas, helping to save time and create products that cannot be produced by other methods.



Metal-printing 3D printers are actively used in medicine for the manufacture of titanium implants. For example, a patient needs to have a hip joint implant made. According to the results of CT, the necessary area of ​​bone tissue replacement is agreed with the doctors and a prosthesis model is created that is ideal for this patient. After all approvals, the finished model is sent for printing.

3D model of implant

The main areas of 3D printing of implants in medicine are maxillofacial surgery, traumatology, orthopedics, oncology and veterinary medicine. A big advantage over classical methods of manufacturing implants is the ability to create a cellular or porous structure. This allows for better integration of the prosthesis into the bone tissue.

Samples of printed implants and pins


The manufacture of even a relatively simple traction prosthesis is a rather laborious and lengthy process. 3D printing has reduced costs and accelerated the production of prostheses. In addition, it became possible to customize the prosthesis.

Customized child prostheses

Some enthusiasts are modeling and posting models and detailed instructions for assembling traction prosthetic hands and fingers in the public domain so that any user can print and make a prosthesis at home.

Simple traction prosthetic hand model


Building custom drones

Aerialtronics is a small Dutch company that specializes in building unique, customized drones. Aerialtronics manufactures and develops unique drones, the characteristics of which can vary depending on the needs of the customer.

Initially, a basic concept model was designed, which consists of a platform and a set of elements that can be changed at the request of the customer. Changes can affect almost any part of the drone. The customer can choose the number of motors and their power, payload, flight time, supported software and much more.

Aerialtronics base model

But any, even minor changes in the characteristics and design of the drone required the manufacture of new elements and design changes. Classical manufacturing methods turned out to be quite laborious and long. To save time and money, a Stratasys uPrint SE Plus 3D printer was purchased.

Drone assembly

Thanks to 3D printing, it was possible not only to speed up production, but also to devote more time to improving individual components, because the finished model is ready the next morning. Rapid manufacturing allows you to print a part, test it, make the necessary changes to the 3D model and make a new sample. Aerialtronics engineers manage to manufacture and test 8-10 variants of a part in a few days in order to achieve maximum quality.


Gas turbine prototyping.

Prototyping by traditional methods is often time consuming and expensive. Because of this, the price of an error in calculations and 3D modeling can be very expensive.

For example, the production of turbine engine parts is usually based on careful preparatory calculations, but even this does not always prevent errors in the production of a test prototype. After all, even the most modern software methods cannot replace physical tests. But due to the high cost (over $20,000), it becomes impossible to produce multiple prototypes for testing.

Turbine Technologies (Wisconsin, USA) and its subsidiary Kutrieb Research have found a way out - 3D printing. Thanks to the 3D Systems ProJet 3D printer, it was possible to reduce the cost of prototyping by about 10 times to $2,000.

3D model and printed part of turbine

A turbine model is printed on a wax 3D printer, tested and then cast from metal. In addition to the cost, it was possible to significantly speed up production. After all, the production of traditional stencils with filling in molds took up to 5 weeks, and the 3D printed model is ready by the morning.


Despite the unethical side of 3D printing, there are still more positive use cases. 3D printers have become indispensable assistants in various industries - from home hobbies to serious industries. With the help of 3D printers, unique products are made that could not be obtained using other machines.

Popularization of 3D printers is a matter of time. But do not forget that 3D printing is just a tool, just like a drill or a hammer. It depends only on the user how it will be used.

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