Volkswagen announced their European-market fix for their dirty, cheaty 1.6-liter TDI engines recently, and it’s a deceptively simple-looking tube with a bit of screen on one end. They give it the exciting name of flow transformer, which sounds like either something that opens a wormhole in space or something you can buy at Walmart for $15 that promises better gas mileage and doesn’t really do shit. But here’s an interesting idea: could they 3D print these parts?
That idea was brought to us by John Hauer, who, not surprisingly, CEO of 3DLT, a company that’s in the 3D printing service business. Mr.Hauer’s dreams of hopeful boat-ownership aside, this is a pretty compelling idea, and Hauer makes some interesting points about it in his article.
The part itself, as shown in that video there, is an ideal candidate for a 3D printed component: plastic, non-moving, no assembly needed after the printing. It’s also very possible VW used 3D printing when prototyping the repair part. (For a good explainer on how this thing works, and why it wasn’t on cars to begin with, check out this TTAC story. Please note again that this fix is for European 1.6-liter engines; a fix for the American ones hasn’t been announced yet.)