Could the Trabant ReMaterialise?

By on September 30th, 2009 in blog


The Trabant, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, was an automobile made in East Germany before reunification. For more than 30 years, the Trabant was one of the most popular vehicles in East Germany, and in fact when the wall came down in the late 1980’s, Trabants carried many migrating East Germans to the west.

However, as an automobile the Trabant lacked, well, a lot of things. As with many eastern European industries, it was unable to compete in a western setting and its production was discontinued in 1991.

And then at the 2009 Internationale Automobil- Ausstellung (IAA) in Frankfurt it was revealed that the Trabant might be resurrected! Called the Trabant nT (for “newTrabi”), the 21st century Trabant is a long way from its 1960’s ancestors, as it includes modern tech including an electric engine.

What does this have to do with fabbing? It turns out that one of the leading 3D print services, Materialise, is working closely with the manufacturer (Herpa) to build “both interior and exterior automotive parts with fused deposition modelling technology”. According to Materialise representative Patrick Lucht:

The German automotive industry is one of our largest customer groups. When we had the opportunity to take part in the ‘newTrabi’ project, we did not hesitate for a second to support the production of this vehicle that is so closely connected with the history of modern Germany. Also in the upcoming serial production we see a lot of potential for our additive manufacturing technologies, which are ideal for manufacturing vehicles in limited numbers.

DNA technology was once touted as a way to resurrect dinosaurs. Could 3D printing be a way to resurrect dead automobiles?

Via Wikipedia and Materialise

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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