Automotive

Audi demonstrates 3D printing potential with half-scale classic

Audi demonstrates 3D printing ...
Audi has used its 3D printing technology to create a half-scale replica of the 1936 Auto Union Typ C
Audi has used its 3D printing technology to create a half-scale replica of the 1936 Auto Union Typ C
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Audi has used its 3D printing technology to create a half-scale replica of the 1936 Auto Union Typ C
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Audi has used its 3D printing technology to create a half-scale replica of the 1936 Auto Union Typ C

Audi has used the VW Group's 3D printing tech to create a half-scale model of its 1936 Auto Union Typ C Grand Prix sports car. The tiny Typ C is intended to demonstrate the potential of metal printing technology in the production of complex components.

All the metallic parts of the Silver Arrow model Auto Union Typ C were printed using laser melted layers of a metallic powder. The grains in this powder measure just 15 to 40 thousandths of a millimeter, or roughly half the diameter of a human hair.

This allows for the creation of intricate aluminum and steel components that simply couldn't be created using traditional methods. Components printed using this technique are also denser than those made using die casting or hot forming. At the moment, the company's metal printing process can be used to create shapes and objects up to 240 mm (9.45 in) long and 200 mm (7.87 in) high.

It's not just Audi that is keen on using 3D-printed components in its cars. Local Motors is looking to produce a production car that is around 75 percent 3D printed, while the Divergent Microfactories is aiming to clean up the automotive production process by pairing a 700 hp (522 kW) bi-fuel engine with an aluminum chassis that has its "nodes" 3D printed.

Head of Toolmaking at the Volkswagen Group, Prof. Dr. Hubert Waltl, says the company's goal is to use metal printers in the series production process.

Source: Audi

5 comments
Tom Lee Mullins
I think that is really neat. I wonder how many other half scale replica's that can be 'printed'?
Grunchy
3d printing is a terrific prototyping technology, because it can be cheaper, faster, and possibly superior to having a craftsperson make the same thing from scratch. 3d printing is not a high-speed process however, and there's usually a lot of work after the fact to polish up the finish. I'm curious to know how long it took to make this car, how much work it took to polish the pieces, and what the final cost was. I'm also curious about how many kilowatt-hours of energy the lasers consumed.
BrunoFerreiraPorto
Now I would download a car!
StWils
Adorable! Now the Volks at VolksWagen needs to figure how to make an actually clean diesel engine, and an actually clean gas engine, that will not need decorative software to hide the flaws.
pmshah
A complex form would most probably be unbalanced. It may even tend to tip over in a position that does not necessarily offer the best orientation for 3D printing. So how do you keep it in a fixed position as it gets built up and tends to be more and more likely to tip over? Have some kind of jig or supporting arms? Wouldn't lend itself as the most economic method!