Audi’s New Paint Etching Process Tattoos Cars

Audi's newest technology features custom-etched car tattoos. Check out this latest innovation, and pick up on the industry news surrounding it.
Audi Paint Etching Process

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Audi has developed an etching technique to navigate the dangerous waters of tribal sticker applications. Originally available as an Audi R8 Spyder exclusive, its matte, tattoo-esque images are becoming incredibly popular.

How it Works

The paint etching process isn’t difficult to conduct, and it spares drivers the agony of a torn-up paint job. By utilizing a basic template system, Audi can carefully customize desired designs to a car’s color, shape and modifications. Among the most popular paint etching designs is the archetypical Audi Sport logo.

The paint etchings, themselves, are created from specially designed powders. These powders are sandblasted across the paint, creating a rough surface on an otherwise clear coat. Because the process utilizes “depth” as a primary feature, drivers can opt for advanced designs, intricate patterns and few-thousandths-of-a-millimeter applications—which is less than the width of a hair.

Audi Sport

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Custom Options for Custom Jobs

Like we said, you don’t need to stick with Audi’s signature styles. In fact, a lot of drivers are putting crazy amounts of thought into their permanent decals. Today, Audi handles images which scale up to one square meter. They’ll work with any image you choose—assuming it doesn’t violate their basic third-party copyright laws.

Why Individualized Lighting is Cool

Audi’s etching process offers something highly unique—a well-layered design which uses transparent lacquer topcoats. When light hits the surface, it’s reflected by the design’s individualized surface areas. Project manager, Dr. Erhard brandl, considers the process to be the option’s highlighting feature. Because the pattern is in the paint, drivers needn’t worry about images peeling away, falling off or being damaged like a local decal.

Additionally, drivers don’t need to worry about replacement decals. In the past, decals became melted messes—scalding a car’s paint job while becoming altogether unsightly. Audi’s newest features haven’t been available for too long, but they’re already kicking off. Pretty soon, other Audi drivers will be able to order their own etchings. Because the process is relatively easy to incorporate, we’ll likely see it pop up across other manufacturers, too.

Larger Applications are a Possibility

Assuming Audi keeps up with its work, we may see the etching process used in larger designs. Hood designs, for one, are highly anticipated. Audi may additionally promote “art cars,” which sponsor unique patterns across the body. We’re entering an age of custom-art car designs. Whether or not Audi sticks with it is uncertain, but we can be sure the process, itself, will probably appear elsewhere.