Volkswagen and HP want your next car to have 3D-printed parts

While 3D printing is often discussed as an important new technology for the auto industry, it hasn’t made much of an impact so far. Now, Volkswagen and HP claim to have made a major breakthrough in metal 3D printing, showing that the technology can keep up with the demands of high-volume car production. But VW isn’t quite ready to take 3D printing mainstream yet.

HP was able to demonstrate that its Metal Jet 3D printers can make a lot of parts in a reasonable amount of time, but the items spewed out by those 3D printers weren’t meant to go on production cars. To celebrate the launch of the Volkswagen ID.3 — VW’s first mass-market electric car — HP printed 10,000 metal scale models of the ID.3, which were handed out to guests at the start of the production ceremony in Zwickau, Germany.