Audi car seat design is revitalized by the application of 3D printing.

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The automotive industry has been embracing additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, in recent years. While much attention is given to the engine, horsepower, and exterior design of cars, one component that often goes unnoticed is the seat. However, the importance of seats cannot be understated, as they serve as the interface between the driver and the vehicle, providing support, comfort, and safety. With the average American driving 37 miles per day, having a comfortable seat is crucial.

In line with the growing focus on innovation in automotive seat design and manufacturing, a groundbreaking project called “Concept Breathe” has emerged. This project is the result of a collaboration between students from the Braunschweig University of Art, German carmaker Audi, and BigRep, a company specializing in large-scale 3D printing. The objective of Concept Breathe is to reinvent car seats, envisioning them as more than just an inanimate object but as an organism that reacts and responds to the driver.

Prior to this project, Audi had already explored the concept of a responsive car with its Klara concept study in 2017. However, the use of 3D printing as a production tool opens up immense possibilities for creating previously unimaginable forms. The team behind Concept Breathe utilized innovative algorithmic and parametric design principles, as well as BigRep’s large-format 3D printing technology, to bring their vision to life. The BigRep ONE 3D printer, with its one-cubic-meter manufacturing volume, was able to produce a 1:1 scale prototype of the seat, showcasing intricate organic shapes.

The seat itself consists of a 3D printed structure and 38 custom active components that create a haptic and visual breathing effect. The active components, highlighted in red, enhance the seat’s ability to respond to changing driving conditions and foster a stronger connection between the driver and the seat. Large-scale 3D printing technology played a vital role in bringing this innovative design to fruition, enabling the creation of large structures in one piece and reducing assembly time and costs.

The Concept Breathe project exemplifies how 3D printing is revolutionizing the automotive industry, allowing for unparalleled designs and optimizing the manufacturing process for complex components. This technology has quickly become an indispensable tool for innovation in automotive design and manufacturing, spanning from rapid prototyping to the production of end-use parts.

To learn more about the Concept Breathe project, you can visit BigRep’s website. We would love to hear your thoughts on Audi’s collaborative design project. Leave a comment below or connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter to stay updated on the latest 3D printing news delivered straight to your inbox. You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

*All photo credits: BigRep / Braunschweig University of Art

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