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Thread: Software and book recommendations

  1. #1
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    Software and book recommendations

    Hi!

    I'm pretty new to kit and customs cars and there is so much I have to learn, as I don't even have an engineering background. I was hoping some veterans would be so kind to give some advice on how to get started.

    Let's say you want to design your own tube frame car with a custom body. Some questions come to mind:
    1) What books would you recommend in terms of chassis design?
    2) What program would you think would be more suitable for its design and force simulation?
    3) What program would you recommend for the body design?

    For example, I heard SolidWorks is very good for (2), but I think its license is 4000+$. Is there any program which can do similar things but or a much more affordable price tag?
    In a similar way, I heard it is not that good for surface modeling (which I think is the technique used to design bodies), so what would be a good program for (3) which is at the same time somewhat affordable and will let you make molds easily?

    Thanks a lot!

  2. #2
    Senior Member ArashB's Avatar
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    If you go to a car factory you'll see that it takes any army to build cars.
    If you want to design your own car are you going to learn how to model it from scratch? because that alone could be 6 month+ just to learn the 3D techniques.

    You can start by planning on what kind of dedication and money you have.
    Rather then waste many years trying to make a car that might crash one day, here is what I recommend.

    1 Start with the Toyota MR2 mid engine car as a donor

    2 Find its 3D model and play with it in Sketchup (free)
    3 Design your car on paper
    4 Find car designs that share the same panels as your car design (Being the year 2012, almost ever car design feature could be found on some car)
    5 Now you have to mimic your car design by importing 3d models of other car designs... dissect their panels and fuse them into one using Sketchup and place it over the MR2 model
    *note if you cant get it perfect, once the design is in foam, you can use clay, sanding, and other way to make it like you want. The Mr2 can also be stretched and made wide with a suspension package to suit most designs.

    6 depending on your budget make a homemade CNC machine, order a kit, or contract a hobby member from CNCzone.com to carve your design on foam.
    7 Use plastic vacuum forming or fiberglass to create your panels from the foam kit

    8 Bolt on panels over MR2
    9...
    10 Profit

    This is a rough sample of my work using the same sketchup technique and Deep Exploration 6 to render it.
    http://i.imgur.com/X03LF.jpg it will be made to fit over the Nissan 300zx car
    Last edited by ArashB; 01-31-2012 at 04:09 AM.

  3. #3
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    Wow, didn't expect a such a good answer this fast!

    The idea was, in fact, to use most of the components from used parts but using a stock frame is probably a wise advice. I may have become over-excited after diving through the build diaries Given how good your car render looks (congratulations ) this is something I should seriously consider.

    I've done some 3D modeling in the past but not for 3D printing, which I think is a whole different thing than real time rendering. There is some really valuable info in those steps so I'll be heading to do some research right now; the fact that you can make your own CNC machine sounds exciting.

    Thanks

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    Senior Member ArashB's Avatar
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    Your welcome and thanks for my design compliment.

    Right now Im at the stage of building a CNC machine out of ladders and metal TV stands. Its a tough learning curve but all the steps can be learned at the CNCzone.com forum. If I had to do it again I would recommend to save up around ~$2000 and just order a kit online. You may have to re-adjust the Z height but it will save you many months of trial and error.
    My machine so far.
    http://i.imgur.com/FGMg1.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/yUQZM.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/mfulR.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/57PIk.jpg
    http://i44.tinypic.com/ieiids.jpg

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    Looking good, ArashB.

    Thanks for the advice. Not sure what path I'll follow myself, but I don't think I'd enjoy building a CNC machine for months

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    SilviaR,

    There are several very good books on fiberglass and composite materials available at Amazon.com at fairly affordable prices. I highly recommend Herb Adams' book "Chassis Engineering". It is very, very good, and quite simple to understand.

    I used to be a sales rep for SolidWorks and it is an awesome program. However, unless you are doing some very extensive engineering and FEA analysis (stress analysis, basically), it is most likely much more software than you need. I highly recommend a program called ViaCAD or ViaCAD Pro. ViaCAD is available for less than $100 and the Pro version is a little bit more. It's basically a consumer's version of SolidWorks (my opinion) as it mimics much of the functionality and intuitiveness of SolidWorks.

    With ViaCAD, you can very easily model a car chassis (in square or round tubing) right down to the suspension. You can also use ViaCAD to model the body as well. And because ViaCAD is a true solid modeller (not just a surface model like TurboCAD or Rhino) and it can work with a lot of standard solid model file types, you can import your work into SolidWorks for further design testing or you can import it into a CAD/CAM machine for CNC machining.

    Take a look at my photos on Facebook to see some of the designs I've created with ViaCAD.

    Facebook

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    Quote Originally Posted by SilviaR View Post
    1) What books would you recommend in terms of chassis design?
    Herb Adams' book "Chassis Engineering"
    Race Car Vehicle Dinamics - Milliken/Milliken

    Quote Originally Posted by SilviaR View Post
    2) What program would you think would be more suitable for its design and force simulation?
    Frame design: CATIA V5 or SolidWorks or Autodesk Inventor
    FEA: ANSYS


    Quote Originally Posted by SilviaR View Post
    3) What program would you recommend for the body design?
    3D Max or Rhinoceros 3D

  8. #8
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    To echo what PabloPicasso said, for design and force simulation, SolidWorks (or Inventor) is definitely an excellent choice. CATIA V5 is even more pricey than either of those two choices.

    For body design, either one of those programs (Rhino or 3D Max) will do an excellent job.

    The reason why I recommended ViaCAD earlier is because if budget is a concern, it's a clear winner. Also, it's much easier to learn and faster to use.

  9. #9
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    Thanks a lot guys, definitely looking all this stuff up.

    mlochala, I can't seem to access your link. It says:
    The page you requested cannot be displayed right now. It may be temporarily unavailable, the link you clicked on may have expired, or you may not have permission to view this page.

  10. #10
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    Thanks a lot for the information.

    You can also find information about the car on wwwDOTcontractcarsDOTcom.

    Regards

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