Audi 3D Prints the 1936 Silver Arrow in 1:2 Scale

Audi Toolmaking has reproduced the legendary Auto Union Typ C using its 3D printer systems to prove just how flexible this tech can be.
Audi 3D Prints the 1936 Silver Arrow in 1:2 Scale 1 photo
Photo: Audi
3D printing might seem like fun, but Audi is using a selective-sintering laser technology to explore series production applications. It could drastically reduce the time taken to make prototype parts for engines, suspension, and other major components.

The Silver Arrow model Auto Union Typ C is built at half scale, but it has been altered to fit a person. In the photo above, you can see how an employee is using it to race across the factory floor.

Unlike most commercial printers that use plastic wire, Audi's high-tech system uses a selective-sintering laser to melt layers of metallic powder with a grain size of 15 to 40 thousandths of a millimeter, roughly half of the diameter of a human hair.

“We are pushing forward with new manufacturing technologies at Audi Toolmaking and at the Volkswagen Group,” stated 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 printers in series production.”

Audi Toolmaking is currently using 3D printing to produce prototype parts in aluminum and steel. This process can be used to produce shapes and objects with a total length of 240 millimeters and a height of up to 200 millimeters. These printed components achieved a higher density than components made by die casting or hot forming, Audi says.

It's unclear how making a race car from 1936 gives us a better A6 sedan, but the technology is advancing at an alarming pace, and pretty soon mechanical engineers will learn how to make an intake system in a CAD system instead of sand casting. Already several manufacturers do their aerodynamics and durability tests virtually.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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