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Photos
Ulrike Myrzik

Text
Johannes Hofsommer

The most important tools of Audi Design

They turn dreams into reality – from an idea to the clay model of a prototype. They facilitate perfection in form and are treasures of unimaginable worth – the golden tools of Audi Design …

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Pens and Pencils – An idea, a pen, a dream – automotive future

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CAD Modeling – Dry information technology meets pure creativity

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The Dream Reader
Lines must flow, say the designers. In the hands of these experts in form, pens and pencils glide across the paper in sweeping, yet gentle movements. Emerging gradually from the lines is a sketch that looks more like a work of art than a draft of a future model. From pencil, through fineliner to marker – the variety of drafting instruments knows no bounds. They are the first tools for transforming the dream of a car of the future into reality.

2
The Data Knife
Known as CAD (computer-aided design) to the experts, this term covers more than just number crunching. The computer uses the software to turn the data into an initial virtual 2D model on the screen. The conversion of these numbers into visible results is just the start of a process that ends in an actual three-dimensional model.

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Pens and Pencils
In all their different variations, they bring expression to the ideas of the designers.

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CAD Modeling
Before the model is made for real, it is brought to life on-screen with state-of-the-art technology.

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CNC Mill – The extension of the computer

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Rakes – Smooth surfaces and sweeping forms are its thing.

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The Form Cutter
It is the extension of the comput­er in Audi Design – the CNC mill. Using the data from the CAD mod­el, it shapes the modeling clay – the material of which designers’ dreams are made – into its basic form using boring and milling heads. Applied to the clay via joystick, it operates down to nanometer precision. The resulting 3D model provides the designers with the basis for further shaping by hand.

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The Conductor
Smooth surfaces and sweeping forms call for the highest level of precision. They are among the most challenging tasks facing a model maker. And yet, the experts at Audi Design have no need for a computer or data-based tools, turning instead to traditional scrapers. These “rakes” as the modelers refer to the triangular devices, become precision instruments in the hands of crafts­men and women. Used with care and a fine touch, they bring final form to the model, just like a conductor brings timing to an orchestra.

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CNC Mill
It cuts and cuts and cuts. And finally, there it is: the basic form of the model in 3D.

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Rakes
Layer by layer, the model makers use these scrapers to “feel” their way to the desired form.

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Hot Air Gun –
Making the job of model making as soft as butter.

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Tool Kit –
Magic treasure from an almost forgotten time.

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The Heater
When cool, the clay is hard. At 60 degrees, however, it is as soft as butter and malleable into any desired form. Thus, the hot air gun is a fundamental piece of equipment for the designer. The tool allows the model to be altered, new clay to be added or previously used clay to be reshaped. In no time at all, the 2,000-watt blower heats the material enough to permit work to continue uninterrupted.

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The Box of Tricks
The tool kit used by the model makers of Audi Design offers a veritable treasure trove of devices for perfection in form – modeling wires that fit into every corner and crevice, pointing tools for crafting the tiniest details and so-called “window mice” for magically carving right angles into modeling clay. Also part of this magical treasure chest are fin­ishers that looks a little like tiny garden rakes, as well as slicks that shape the material into any desired form.

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Stereolithography Apparatus
Data, figures, parameters form models “out of nothing”: The SLA machine makes it possible.

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Design Tapes
Sensing forms is difficult. Applying form with tape alleviates the detail work done by the model makers.

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The SLA machine – How models appear from “nothing”.

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Design Tapes – They introduce color and bring shape to dreams.

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The Miracle Machine
The acronym SLA stands for Stereo Lithography Apparatus, and its task is as complicated as its name implies. From the data provided by the CAD model­ing process, the stereolitho­graphy machine calculates a build plan of individual model parts. The data forms the basis for a procedure that seems to verge on the miraculous. Slice by slice, a solid-state laser applies one layer of epoxy resin after another, until “out of nothing” a 3D model appears. This later allows the model makers to integrate indi­vidual add-on parts like side air intakes into their clay models.

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The Bands of Color
They are indispensible for making contrasts, waves and arcs vis­ible on the skin-colored clay mod­el – design tapes. Each color serves a specific function. Black makes visible the contrasts of the subsequently painted model. Blue helps the model makers find the correct line. Brown sup­ports form. Red and white are used to mark distinctive points. To highlight them even more, the model makers use their tools to work along these perfectly applied lines.

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Clay Sculpting Blades –

Precision to tenths of a millimeter.

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The Finishing Touch
Light, pliable and with one toothed cutting edge – clay sculpting blades are at the heart of the mod­el maker’s toolbox. Available in countless shapes and sizes and individually adapted, the wafer-thin leaves of spring steel are the perfect shaping tool. Through them, the model makers are truly able to feel the form beneath their fingers as it takes shape. Mil­limeter by millimeter, the model makers use the sculpting blades to remove layers of clay, providing the model with the finishing touch necessary to pass the test required to bring an Audi model to the world’s roads.

Audi Design

Hand-in-Hand
The tools in Audi Design are as varied and special as the people who work with them. However, to ensure that a model reaches the end of the creative process looking like a complete and fully formed entity, Audi Design relies heavily on dialogue and networking – fully in keeping with the mission statement: the best ideas come from a team. The expertise of each individual, from designer to model maker, flows together in this process. Creativity, craftsmanship and hi-tech go hand-in-hand at Audi – from the first sketch to the finishing touch. The experts, with all their creative and technical skills, work together. Together on the automobile of tomorrow.