Audi Toolmaking prints “Auto Union Typ C”Demonstrating just how far 3D printing has come, the Audi Toolmaking department has printed an entire car.
The 1936 Auto Union Typ C is one of the most famous racing cars of the pre-war era - one of the Silver Arrows that set road speed records and claimed grand prix victories at will during the 1930s. Few examples of these racing cars from Auto Union - predecessor to Audi - survived the Second World War.
It's an ideal vehicle to replicate then and Audi Toolmaking has used metallic 3D printing to reproduce a 1:2 scale model of the Type C - with all metallic components 3D printed.
The process uses metallic powder, with grains of between 15 and 40 thousandths of a millimetre across (0.015-0.040mm), or around half the width of a human hair. A selective-sintering laser melts these particles and they are extruded into fine layers, building up to the finished product.
Using this method, it's possible to create objects with very complex shapes that either can't be made with conventional methods or can only be made usually with great difficulty and the associated expense.
At the moment the 3D printers can create metallic objects up to 240mm long and 200mm tall, with a far greater density than die-casting or hotforming. This means that the process can create complex and high-performance vehicle components beyond what's normally available.
It's one of the latest innovations from Audi Toolmaking, which is regarded as a pioneer in the development of new technologies even within the Volkswagen Group. The company's output includes the 'intelligent tool', used to make sharper creases in the sheet metal of car bodies.
For more information, contact your local Inchcape Audi site.