VW Readying 3D-Printing For Mass Production

Volkswagen is gearing up to use 3D printing at a mass scale previously unexplored by any other automaker.

While we’ve seen prototypes of 3D printed cars and some vehicles currently on the market incorporate small parts made by a 3D printer, VW is pressing ahead with the development of the technology for mass production.

Helping the car manufacturer to radically develop 3D printing in the automotive space is the new metal jet 3D printer from HP. This new printer specializes in making parts from metal and promises to be up to 50 times more productive than printers to come before it. Consequently, Volkswagen can use the printer to produce a large number of parts without having to develop and manufacture the corresponding tools that it would using more traditional methods.

We are living in the future.

Volkswagen is collaborating with HP and GKN to introduce 3D printed parts to its production vehicles as soon as possible. Initially, small parts including tailgate lettering, special gear knobs, and special keys with personalized lettering will be manufactured for customers. As development of the technology increases, Volkswagen hopes to begin 3D printing the first structural components for mass-production vehicles within two to three years.

“A complete vehicle will probably not be manufactured by a 3D printer any time soon, but the number and size of parts from the 3D printer will increase significantly,” head of technology planning and development at Volkswagen, Dr. Martin Goede said.

“Our goal is to integrate printed structural parts into the next generation of vehicles as quickly as possible. In the long term, we expect a continuous increase in unit numbers, part sizes and technical requirements – right up to soccer-size parts of over 100,000 units per year.”

HP’s new 3D printer produces parts layer by layer using a powder and binder. The resulting part is then baked into a metallic component.

more photos...
  • sidewaysspin

    Many manufacturers already use them.

  • SteersUright

    Cool? I think?

  • Vassilis

    Very, very cool!

Hyundai Wants To Give Each Of Its Vehicles A Unique Look

Instead of a corporate look, the Korean automaker will style each model according to its target group.

BMW M6 Driver Claims Oil Puddle Created By “Criminal Minds” Caused His Ring Crash

The driver said someone might have been behind that, as it’s not the first time something like this had happened.

Convoy Carrying Old TWA Plane That’ll Be Converted To A Bar Stops To Fix Flat Tire

The plane is a 60-year old Lockheed Constellation L-1649A Starliner on its way to JFK Airport in New York.

Listen To This Tuned, 998 HP Audi RS6 Avant Purr Like A Kitten

The super wagon was casually driven on public roads, with the occasional acceleration bursts.

Waymo Publishes Guidelines On How First Responders Should Deal With Self-Driving Cars

Dealing with an autonomous vehicle accident is different than most.

Aston Martin Gets Outside Help For The Valkyrie’s Composite Parts

TenCate joins the long list of partners helping make the Aston Martin Valkyrie project a reality.

Consumer Reports Issues Safety Warning For Four Child Car Seats

Those child car seats performed poorly in Consumer Reports’ recent safety tests that are more rigorous than the federal ones.

Jaguar F-Type SVR Vs. Mercedes-AMG E63 S Drag Race Is Incredibly Close

The two cars might be as different as they come, but their 0-100 km/h acceleration times are similar.

Man Returns From Hospital, Finds Local Council Had Crushed His BMW By Mistake

The worst part is that the 3-Series was actually destroyed two weeks after he informed the police of its disappearance .

Audi A8 Challenges BMW 7-Series To A Driving Dynamics Face-Off

Both flagships feature six-cylinder twin-turbo engines and all-wheel drive, but only one can be the winner.