Audi has taken the wraps off a 3D-printed 1936 Auto Union Typ C built on a 1:2 scale. They used a technology known as selective-sintering laser that consists of using metallic power with a grain size of 15-40 thousands of a millimeter which represents approximately half of a human hair’s diameter. The technology is advanced enough to replicate highly complex geometries that are hard to make with the regular methods of production.
All of the car’s metallic components were created using a metal printing process which Audi hopes they will be able to implement in the sand-printing process and eventually use metal printers for series production. At this moment, the aluminum and steel parts made through 3D printing are up to 240 mm long and 200 mm tall and have a higher density compared to the regular parts made by die casting or hot forming.
Audi’s parent company Volkswagen owns no less than 14 toolmaking units in 9 different countries and have numerous ventures to enhance development of 3D printing which will bring huge improvements in the manufacturing process, but the technology needs to be perfected before it can be applied on a larger scale such as a series production Audi model.