A savvy designer uses CAD software to work in tandem with creative service bureau. Their combined efforts resulted in unique, prototype vehicle.
One year or so ago, a light bulb went off in Mike Littrell’s head when he saw pictures of Bill Gould’s concept hot rod delivery truck. The car enthusiast and president of C.ideas had been searching for an opportunity that would showcase his company’s full service rapid prototyping (RP) capabilities, including RP build, finishing, painting, plating, and fused deposition modeling (FDM). His firm has been providing 3D printed prototypes and direct digital manufacturing (DDM) to engineers and product designers since 1998. Gould, president and CEO of Gould Studios, an industrial design outfit, primarily serves the medical device and consumer goods industries. However, as a car buff himself, he tinkered with auto designs on the side.
Littrell and Gould agreed to form a joint-venture hot rod with C.ideas building a large, eye-popping model from Gould’s SolidWorks software designs for use at trade shows and other exhibitions. Gould began the project by generating parts in 1/8 scale using the CAD software. He sent the designs to Littrell as IGES files. To create the larger model, Littrell resized Gould’s files to 1/4 scale – about the size of an office desk.
According to Littrell, the Model T was produced using multiple processes. For example, the entire body and engine block were built using FDM technology using C.ideas in-house acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) with a honeycombed interior to reduce weight and build time while maintaining the exterior aesthetics and detail. The parts that required the most durability were produced in FDM. Highly detailed small and medium sized parts were created in Polyjet at 0.0006-in. layer slices.
The windshield, headlights, and taillight lenses were created using stereolithography (SLA) Accura 60 clear which was sanded, polished, and clear coated. The front tires were printed in an elastomer called Tango Black with a durometer of 70a for rigidity. The rear tires were built in Tango Plus with a durometer of 28a for the required elasticity in order to insert the large rear wheel. Once completed, the elastomer parts were soaked in C.ideas’ proprietary GT process to improve strength.
Littrell and Gould worked in tandem to make design changes that would help with the production of certain components. Gould adjusted some features to allow for wall thicknesses and mechanical assemblies after the model was finished, plated, and painted. He then created a number of hyperShot renderings so the he and Littrell could choose a color scheme. Gould also provided numerous photo rendering color studies so that Littrell and his team could determine the best color combination and decide which parts would be vacuum metalized. The goal of the whole project was to produce the entire model using only digital 3D printing technologies.
A Gould Studios solid model of the hot rod model. Here is a wireframe view of the solid model.
A hyperShot rendering of a model ready to cruise Route 66. A 1913 Ford Model T Speedster rendered in hyperShot.
This design is illuminated with Gould’s own lighting created in HDR-LightStudio. This is a hyperShot rendering of the original concept car design of a “C-cab delivery truck.”
The hot rod CAD model includes 133 files of parts, assemblies, and sub-assemblies totaling 300 MB. An estimated 60-100 hours were spent designing the cars. System configuration: Custom Intel Dual quad-core (8 CPUs) running at 3.83 Mhz. Nvidia Quadro FX-1700 graphics card, twin 180 GB, 10,000 RPM hard drives built to specification by Datel Systems. A series of large fine-art prints will be offered on the Gould Studios website, created from select hyperShot renderings.