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VW, HP Test 3D Printing on Miniature Cars

Hewlett-Packard Co. has 3D-printed more than 10,000 tiny scale models of Volkswagen AG’s upcoming ID.3 electric car to demonstrate the technology for potential use in high-volume production vehicles.
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Hewlett-Packard Co. has 3D-printed more than 10,000 tiny scale models of Volkswagen AG’s upcoming ID.3 electric car to demonstrate the technology for potential use in high-volume production vehicles.

 

The print run was completed in less than a month using HP’s Metal Jet system, which the supplier claims is as much as 50 times more efficient than other 3D-printing methods. GKN plc’s powder metallurgy unit provided the material for the toy cars.

VW aims to begin using 3D-printed parts in production vehicles early next decade, starting in low-volume cosmetic applications. The carmaker expects to expand usage to functional parts—such as gearshift knobs and mirror mounts—in the mid-term and eventually use 3D-printed parts in soccer ball-size structural parts at volumes of 100,000 units per year.

HP also is using 3D-printing to make tooling equipment that VW uses to produce metal and plastic parts for its T-Cross SUV/crossover vehicle. Aston Martin, BMW, Ford and Lamborghini also have begun using select 3D parts in low-volume applications.

VW handed out the initial batch of 3D-printed ID.3 souvenir cars at a launch ceremony for the fullsize model at the company’s factory in in Zwickau, Germany. The carmaker plans to distribute the remainder of the scale models to employees and dealers worldwide.

Watch a video about VW’s plans HERE.

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