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Remembering Formula One Great Ayrton Senna with 3D Printed 1993 McLaren MP4/8

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Formula One racing great Senna

When Brazilian race car driver Ayrton Senna died in 1994 as a result of a crash at that year’s 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, it was acknowledged as a very dark day in the history of the sport, and one that is still sadly and well-remembered. Millions grieved 22 years ago, from his many fans to his respecting peers worldwide.

Because of his accident and those of others just before him, greater safety measures were implemented in Formula One racing afterward, and that continues to be an ongoing conversation. His death was, however, an enormous loss to so many who still deeply miss his presence decades later, and he has been remembered, memorialized in numerous ways—from the preservation of the hotel room where he spent his last night alive to numerous sports and charity events and more permanent, innumerable monuments and symbols. He was an inspiration to so many and loved so deeply by his country.

267503b7bf30a6f6b71504e48a34f153_preview_featuredFans such as Brett Turnage have spent many hours of hours of devoted effort, perfecting ways to remember him—and now, 3D printing is playing a part in helping to memorialize one of the most skilled drivers in history. As a kid growing up in Riverside, CA, Turnage explained that his love for the sport began as a kid, and he has continued to be an enthusiast throughout his life. He lived so close to the historic Riverside International Raceway when he was young that he shares remembering the ‘sounds of engines filling the air.’

He has a love for technology and RC cars as well. A fast study in 3D printing, Simplify3D reported that this particular racing fan only required ‘a quick lesson in 3D printing’ before he produced his first design—that of a RS­01 Chassis for the Open R/C F1 car. This first project, in the form of new chassis, was meant as a tribute to that racetrack from his hometown. Not just meant for his own enjoyment, however, this actually allowed others to retrofit their Open R/C F1 cars with all of the following:

  • Completely tunable professional RC suspension
  • Adjustable ride height
  • Camber settings
  • Full live axle with adjustable Panhard bar and damper

Simplify3D-Senna-RC-5-1024x768Not stopping there, Turnage next took his newfound talents to honor the influential and much beloved Senna. He chose to remember him with a 3D printed RC car built upon the RS01 chassis, in the form of the racecar driver’s 1993 McLaren MP4/8. Known as one of the most beautiful cars ever in Formula One racing, Turnage offered it up as his homage to Senna, marking the anniversary of his death, which was 22 years ago on May 1.

“I always loved this car. It is a completely new car, an evolution of the RS-01 chassis that I built last month—this is the first unique car to emerge from the RS-01 chassis family and the first to be released…Being that it’s Senna’s car, I’m sure it will be outstanding in the rain, and do unworldly pole qualifying laps,” says Turnage on his Pinshape page.

Although it was a bit more of a superficial note, this also marked a chance for Turnage as he said goodbye to his initial software and began using Simplify3D to achieve improved results in his 3D prints. According to all involved, he was not disappointed in his decision to make the change.

Turnage was able to 3D print a superior example of an RC car, showing the ‘evolution’ of the RS01 chassis with an intricately detailed vehicle body. According to the team at Simplify3D, this relatively new maker was able to produce an extremely accurate model.
mainTurnage 3D printed the RS01 suspension parts, rims, and tires. The chassis employs the running gear from a Tamiya F104­ver, and according to the Simplify3D team in their latest press release, this refers to the carbon fiber rear shaft, differential, front uprights, and motor mounts. Those looking to recreate the RC car have the option of using foam or 3D printed tires, as well as the option of rubber tires mounted on 3D printed rims—or the original F104 plastic rims.

As he made the transition in design software to Simplify 3D during the creation of the McLaren MP4/8, Turnage noticed numerous changes.

“Immediately I noticed a difference with the way my machine moved along the paths as it built layers. No longer was my machine mindlessly moving, it was almost as if it was thoughtful — like it had eyes and could actually see what it was doing,” said Turnage. “​It didn’t speed through detail sections, it slowed down and went through them carefully. The retraction blobs that previously covered my prints were gone due to the smart retractions.”

As he made modifications to the project in transitioning to the use of Simplify3D, he saw all 54 parts displaying a better quality, including in mechanical accuracy and aesthetics. Others ready to follow in his tracks will find that support structures will allow for a more expedient process in making this model.

“The Simplify3D supports break off in your hands, whereas before, I would have been sitting there with pliers trying to tear off the support material.” said Turnage.

The new designer is showing off and sharing his new designs on both Thingiverse and Pinshape.

“I loved making this car; I hope that you enjoy printing and building it just as much,” says the maker.

If you intend to embark on making this 3D model yourself, see Turnage’s Thingiverse page for the list of parts and added tips, as well as numerous links offering more information about Senna himself. Turnage’s enthusiasm for the memory of this driver is inspirational, and his creativity allows for Senna to be etched in history further, with new technology—and a new car. Are you a Formula One racing fan? Discuss this RC car in the 3D Printed McLaren for Senna forum over at

Check out the videos below which show the very impressive work of this new 3D printing enthusiast.

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