Mankind has often imagined what it would be like to fly like a bird. The wingsuit makes it possible to have such an experience. Good wingsuits are custom made. In addition, wingsuit developers continue to explore new ways to improve the design for better, more accurate flying.
The Icarus Project is a University of Southampton MEng project that aims to create the most scientifically designed high altitude, high performance wingsuit to date. Taking part are nine students studying a range of specialities including aerodynamics, air vehicle systems and interdisciplinary. Lecturer in aeronautics and wingsuit BASE jumper Dr Angelo N. Grubišić is both project coordinator and test pilot for wingsuit development and the record attempt.
The student design team turned to OR3D, a company that specialises in providing 3D CAD models from laser scan data, to help in the design a suit that will culminate in a world record attempt for the highest, longest and fastest freefall jump wearing a wingsuit.
In addition, Geomagic software was used to help turn the laser scan data into 3D CAD models.
“The challenge that was set by the Project Icarus team for 3D scanning in a wind tunnel, while in operation, was an opportunity we couldn’t miss,” said James Appleby, senior applications engineer at OR3D.
Using Mantis Vision F5 scanners, OR3D captured three wingsuit designs under flight conditions in the wind tunnel at the University. The company then processed the scan data from the wind tunnel tests into 3D CAD models using Geomagic Design X, a specialist scan to CAD application and Geomagic Freeform Plus an organic modelling package. The CAD models will be used by the project team for Computational Fluid Dynamics analysis.
Explaining the process in more detail Appleby said, “Using the data captured we were able to produce a mesh model, which was then edited in Geomagic Freeform Plus as digital clay using a haptic device to manipulate the 3D model. This enabled us to edit any minor details we were not able to capture with the scanner in wind tunnel conditions. The Freeform Plus models were then converted and exported as solid 3D CAD models for further analysis.
“We knew the Mantis Vision F5 scanners would give us the information we needed in normal scanning scenarios. However, scanning in a wind tunnel was a world first. The scan results were fantastic and vindicated the performance of the F5 scanners as true rugged, ‘in field’ pieces of equipment.”
“Getting high quality scan data was half the battle. Without 3D Systems Geomagic software packages, we would not have been able to provide the deliverables required for the Icarus team.”
The wingsuit is in development stage with plans to undertake a test flight in spring 2016.