Altair, APWORKS, csi entwicklungstechnik, EOS GmbH, GERG and Heraeus used a classic car, the Volkswagen Caddy, to demonstrate the potential of industrial 3D printing as part of the 3i-PRINT project.

The companies involved in the project realized the entire new structure within 9 months, from design to post-production, simulation, optimization as well as manufacturing. Lightweight and stable, the new structure offers a very good level of functional integration.

The structure with organic design

In a context that promotes the increasing use of electric cars, thermal management, reduced congestion and the overall weight have been two main features in the design of the vehicle front. Structural requirements related to the safety, performance and comfort of the vehicle are thereafter added.

The front parts, manufactured using 3D printing, are load-bearing structures incorporating details for both active and passive cooling. In other terms, airflow channeled is used to cool the batteries and the braking systems.


As for passive safety and fluids storage, the team of experts integrated the functions related to thermal management into the organic design. Another example of an additional integrated function is the dampening solution, into the front structure during the optimization of the topology.

A mix of skills

Through the Volkswagen Caddy, the 3i-PRINT project aims to illustrate future technological possibilities. It remains an open collaborative platform where many companies with a wide range of specific skills can get involved in a manufacturing process.

Images via 3i-print

Stefan Herrmann, in charge with the lightweight design in the csi team, explains: [ we are proud to present the Caddy with a new, pre-fabricated, additively constructed structure. This new structure and the contrast between the old and the modern perfectly illustrate the potential of 3D printing and functional integration, especially for the automotive industry. I would also like to emphasize the simplicity and rapidity of the journey between the initial idea and the transformed vehicle, which lasted only nine months. Each of the participating companies has a leading position in its sector. The quality of collaboration and the synergy of skills made the 3i-PRINT project a resounding success.]

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