Chassis design software, what are people using?

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Chassis design software, what are people using?

Post by sammj » Fri Jun 18, 2010 1:05 pm

Was wondering what software people are using in the design of the chassis and components.

I have come across this one for bend calcs etc.
Anyone had any experince with it?

I know some are using CAD, any particular version?

Any reccomendations?


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Reverend Hedgash
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Post by Reverend Hedgash » Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:40 pm

Hello sammj.

We did all our design work for our Bellytank with a mixture of AutoCAD, 3DStudioMax (3DMax) and hand drawings.

3DMax was great because we could measure components as we found them, or even before we had them, to see what was the best orientation for clearence, look or access.

Of course having a bellytank means everything has to go inside and at the end of the day the tank itself was the best guide for what we had to do, but we did not want to cut the tank up and stuff it to begin with so we kept it as intact for as long as we could and did as much digitally with a carefully measured model version.

The biggest issue I see with home built cars is getting the overall vibe right. There are a lot of very awkward looking tanks and lakesters out there which with a bit more planning in the design stage would have got them looking grouse. hot Rods have attitude and this is mostly expressed through stance; a paint job can add excitement but only so far.

We spent a lot of time getting the axles in the right position, the openings and stuff right before we commited ourelves to cutting metal. It dragged out a bit but the results of the planning are plain to see in the end.

That said, often though we would plan thing one way, but it was only when we assembled it that another important aspect became apparent which changed the solution. so a balance is required between designing and doing, jumping from one to another. We also built a model which helped at the early stages of frame design.

The good thing with 3DMax is we could generate renders in colour too which meant we could see how the thing looked with various different colour schemes and layouts.

Neither of these programs are easy to use for the novice though, they are very complicated. I only used them because I use them daily for work. I am sure there are others out there which could get you going just as quick.

Sketchup is a very user friendly 3d program, I am unsure how it copes with complex curves though.

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Post by momec » Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:45 pm

Well said Rev
If you want a hard design to look right or as you say "get the vibe right" try designing something for Comp Coupe class.
I have drawn the Diahatsu so many time and as they say 'only its mothe r would love it".
I refuse to start the build till l'm at least happy with the roughed out finished look and i'm far from that.
l think Comp Coupe is inherently the most ungainly unstable looking body shape and there arn't many truely good looking examples.
Planning is a huge part in getting it right and my rule of thumb has always been lf it looks right it is right.

Acme Racing #251

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Post by Reverend Hedgash » Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:04 pm

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, there was also this design assisting piece of machinery we used early on called the Vong. It was an electric do-hickey and it helped immensely in getting the vibe right.


Send us what you got Chris, if I ever get time off again I'll see if I can unravel a few clues on the vibe front...
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Post by gidge348 » Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:22 pm

I have been using Solidworks to draw things up, it is pretty expensive at about $5000 but worth every cent of it if you have a use for it.

I would never condone the use pirate software but I have heard of some unscrupulous people getting copies for as little as $20.

Not only can you draw all parts in 3D and build a virtual car by assembling the parts, you can get weights of parts, assemblies and the complete car.

You can move steering, suspension etc to see if you have clearance problems before you start building.

You can do FEA analysis, ie. stress parts to see where they are likely to break before you build them.

You can do Virtual wind tunnel tests and get an idea of what is happening around the car.
Etc, Etc.

Most CAD/CNC output companies will take the native Solidworks files and cut out, bend or machine the parts you need.

It is made by Dassault Systèmes part of the Dassault group that makes missiles and fighter jets etc so Solidworks is a pretty high end product.It is not an easy programme to get your head around to start with but once you do the sky is the limit.

If anyone is interested in using the program I would highly recommend getting a tutorial Video there are heaps on Ebay, this is the one I have used, but there are plenty of others. ... 41502e15e4

On the ebay page there are a few sample tutorials that will give an idea of the power of the program.

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