Individualize, Integrate, Innovate: The 3i-PRINT partnership project has used the front-end structure of a classic VW Caddy to demonstrate the full potential of industrial 3D printing within the automotive industry. The structure is very light, stable, and, at the same time, features a high degree of functional integration.

Altair, APWORKS, csi entwicklungstechnik, EOS, GERG, and Heraeus covered every development step of the process, from design, simulation, optimization and manufacturing to post production of the part. From conceptual design to final vehicle, the project was completed in only nine months.

The project goal is to prompt ideas of the future of car body construction. To demonstrate that these ideas are attainable.

Electrification of the automobile, e.g. drive technology and actuators, thermal management, etc, is driving dramatic changes in current manufacturing and design work-flows. Package and weight reduction are key points for engineering and design teams. Additive Manufacturing gives designers and engineers options that are simply not available using traditional manufacturing techniques.

This project explores a few possibilities:

  • Topology optimization
  • Crash verification
  • Geometry interpretation
  • Scalmalloy®
  • 59 welding seams
  • Thermal management
  • Pedestrian protection

  • Brake cooling
  • Lightweight design
  • Lattice structures
  • Geometric and design freedom
  • Functional integration
  • Perfect tolerances
  • Natural air cooling


We are proud of the achieved total weight of the complete frame concept of only 34 kg.

The perfect, fast and uncomplicated interaction of partner companies is becoming more and more important. This makes it possible to go from an idea to results, which move forward the state of the technology, within only 9 months.

The result of our collective work is the world’s first, all-metal additively manufactured, functionally integrated vehicle front structure on a scale of 1 to 1 using the latest technical standards.

Future topics for further consideration include flexibility, customizability, functional integration and sustainable lightweight design.

See what the 3i-Print project team delivered.

The 3i-PRINT partnership project has used the front-end structure of a classic VW Caddy to demonstrate the full potential of industrial 3D printing within the automotive industry. The structure is very light, stable, and, at the same time, features a high degree of functional integration.

Read the original post at 3i-Print.

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