Audi Toolmaking, a division of the brand, has brought back a small piece of Grand Prix history through the use of a 3D printer. A 1:2 scale replica of the 1936 Auto Union Typ C “Silver Arrow” has been brought back to life. That said, it’s not actually the vehicle that’s the centre of attention, but the way in which it was made.

Audi Board of management member for production and head of Toolmaking at the Volkswagen Group, Prof. Dr. Hubert Waltl said, “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.”

Waltl revealed that the first focus of the cooperation would be to implement metallic 3D printing and 3D sand-printing. The model previews the future of the automaker’s production processes, particularly for complex components. Metallic 3D printing was used to form the metallic components of the replica you see here.

It’s fashioned through the use of a selective-sintering laser that melts layers of metallic powder in a grain size of 15 to 40 thousandths of a millimetre – half the diameter of human hair. According to the brand, this process allows for the production of components with intricate geometries. This was an area where conventional methods could not have succeeded or do well at, previously.

The metallic powder consists of a mixture of aluminium and steel. In addition, the process can produce shapes and objects measuring at 240 mm long and 200 mm tall. Moreover, Audi says that printed components achieve a higher density compared to components moulded through die casting or hot forming.