Nov 5, 2015 | By Benedict

Audi Toolmaking, a division of the German automobile manufacturer, has produced a 3D printed replica of the Auto Union Type C, a Grand Prix racing car made by Auto Union in 1936. Audi’s 3D printed model, based on the iconic Silver Arrow, has been built in 1:2 scale but can still seat a “driver”.

The production of the 3D printed model race car saw Audi taking its 3D printing technology for a test drive. Whilst the replica Type C is not itself roadworthy, the company is now examining further uses for metal 3D printers. As well as potentially producing complex components using additive manufacturing technology, Audi is creating “important synergies” with other members of the Volkswagen Group, its parent company. The Volkswagen Group oversees 14 toolmaking units across nine countries, with several of these units planning to pool their resources in order to advance 3D printing technology for the entire group.

“We are pushing forward with new manufacturing technologies at Audi Toolmaking and at the Volkswagen Group,” said Prof. Dr. Hubert Waltl, Audi’s Board of Management Member for Production and Head of Toolmaking at the Volkswagen Group. “Together with partners in the area of research, we are constantly exploring the boundaries of new processes. One of our goals is to apply metal 3D printers in series production.”

Audi Toolmaking, in cooperation with other Volkswagen units, is seeking ways of implementing metallic 3D printing and sand-printing into the production of vehicles. The company has now used metal 3D printing to produce all the metallic parts of the Silver Arrow model "Auto Union Typ C" on a scale of 1:2.

Selective laser sintering was used to produce the model Auto Union Type C: layers of metallic powder, with a grain size of 15 to 40 thousandths of a millimetre (roughly half of the diameter of a human hair), were melted by a laser, one by one. The process therefore allows the production of components with complex geometries, which with conventional methods could either not be produced or only with great difficulties.

The company are currently working on various additive projects using aluminium and steel, and can produce objects up to 240mm long and 200mm tall. The 3D printed components are of a higher density than equivalent parts made by die casting or hot forming.

The German manufacturer is not the first automobile company to implement 3D printing technology, nor is it the first to produce 3D printed scale models to demonstrate that technology on a small scale. A few weeks ago, we reported on Ford’s use of additive manufacturing techniques to produce prototypes for some of its vehicles, as well as its official 3D store, which offers authentic 3D printed scale models of its cars to download as STL files. With the 3D printed Auto Union Type C, Audi have become the latest car manufacturer to loudly publicise that they too have a foothold in the 3D printing industry.

The Type C was a racing car built by Auto Union in 1936. Auto Union, which later evolved into Audi, largely competed with fellow German manufacturer Mercedes Benz in races at the time. Between 1934 and 1939, the two companies’ recognisable Grand Prix motor racing cars were known affectionately as the “Silver Arrows”.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Skip wrote at 11/6/2015 2:09:06 PM:

Looks cool - The 3d Model is full of inaccuracies though...

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