Automakers are increasingly using 3D printing to bring their cars to life.
Ford and General Motors both use the technology to build prototypes and to make testing more efficient. And the auto startup Local Motors uses the 3D printing to build entire vehicles.
Now Audi, a subsidiary of Volkswagen, is also looking to find more ways to use the technology in the production of its vehicles.
As part of its development efforts, the company’s toolmaking division recently created a miniature model of the historic Grand Prix car called the “Auto Union Typ C,” which was originally made in 1936.
The miniature vehicle was printed entirely in house with metal printers. But it was not printed in one solid piece. Rather, different components of the vehicle were printed, and then the vehicle was assembled.
Audi said in a press statement that it is particularly interested in metallic 3D printing, which the company said could be used to produce complex components for its vehicles.
The company’s printer uses metallic powder — either steel or aluminium — to create the components. Lasers then melt the powder so that it can be applied one layer at a time to “print” the parts.
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