Building a workshop to build the car in

As the project has reached a point where it going to need a place to be built in, we decided to build a modular workshop now. The design below was drawn up first. The idea was that it can be spit

The Cad drawing of the workshop

The Cad drawing of the workshop with the roadster in it

down into four sections to be transported to a new site Planning on moving to a better site in the next couple of years. The design is built around a freestanding central truss across the middle of the workshop to which the four section of the workshop are bolted. Each section of the workshop includes a floor section side and end wall and roof (when the sections are moved these will have to be supported with braces).

It will be another month or so before the interior of the workshop is completed so a little longer before we get back to the roadster. Looking forward to building up the basic frame and seating to test that it is comfortable before designing to much more, may be the steering wheel mounting need to be designed first. The car has got to be drive-able, so we wanted to do some full scale testing to be sure…..hence the workshop.


The interior….the seats

Firstly sorry for the lack of updates in the last months, we have been building as extension of our development workshop in Florida, adding an extra 800 sq feet for chassis building and it has taken all our spare time to get the new concrete floor in.

Taking a break as it is recommended that you allow 28 days for the concrete to cure and evaporate water contained in the concrete before sealing, so a little time to progress the roadster design.Interior-1

The seat design– the idea behind the seat design is to produce a fixed position seat and use a movable pedal box and steering column to allow for different driver height and size. To be able to made the seat look like an integral part of the car design, most of the seat will be molded carbon fiber cover in leather. In effect a hard surface to allow good fitting to the painted panels. Only the seat center will be padded again with a hard edge to give a good looking fit. (more…)

The interior-checking humans can fit in the car

Interior design_20160204_151911

To be able to model the interior of the car firstly we needed a model of a human, using Grab Cad . (check out this site for downloadable models- links to my downloadable models). We downloaded a model of a man (could be a woman…) loaded into power-shape cad modeller and checked the height of the model man. It was 6 foot 3″ so we scaled it to both 5foot 7″ and 6foot.

Grabcad model of a man

Grabcad model of a man in the new sitting position


Working on the Hood Assembly

Over the Christmas break, decided to look at the hood assembly design. At the moment the body-shell skin is a rough patchwork of surfaces. By this method you can more quickly come up with a basic shapes that you want without all the time needed to ensure that the surfaces are joined and flow together perfectly. Making class A surfaces (perfect surfaces) as you are trying ideas would be very slow and make it more tempting to keep a shapes as they took so long to make.

37 Willy's in red with hdr background

37-Willy's-port-containers-hdri This is a “38 Willy’s” style pickup model with the body skin surfaces redrawing to a class A standard. Rendered using Maxwell Software with an spherical Hdri background which also creates the shadows and reflections on the model.


Looking at what it takes to make a mould to produce a bodyshell

A short post about mould making, as not much time to spend on design work, we are setting up a new development workshop at the moment.

Methods to manufacture one off and low volume body-shells…….making moulds from composites

If you want to produce any form of low volume production body-shell, composites are the answer. This is because the tooling costs are low. The tooling cost:- the costs of producing a master buck (the shape and style you want) and the tooling (a mould) to produce the parts required from it.

In the case of composites, the most common- Glass Reinforced Plastic (Fiber Glass or Glass Fibre dependent on where you live). The cheapest form of this is chopped stand mat wetted out by hand using Polyester resins. Using this method we have produced 10 different sets of body-shell moulds in the past.

Using Polyester resins in wet lay, the main advantage is it’s the cheapest system to use. Be aware that not all polyester resins are of the same quality. Reprocessed resins tend to shrink up to 8% and should be avoided as the shrinkage will cause assembly problems as you complete your project.

Picture 078

This is a section of a bodyshell mould modification laid up using Dsm tooling gel and anti shrink resin using the wet lay process. Very messy system but with a little practice anyone can do this.


The Roll bar idea



As we are still looking into new dynamic software to check the suspension and ride height system out, still favoring Solid Works premium, but it’s expensive and still do not like the surface modeling side of the package. Therefore would not be using it to model with, so working with the demo to evaluate it at the moment.

Therefore to keep the design work going forward decided to design the roll bar. While looking at the roll bar and how it will be mounted to the chassis, I decided to modify the main chassis rail removing the tail parts and extending the main rails. This has reduced the number of parts in the chassis and the main rails are now shorter and one straight piece. (more…)

Steering Racks

Back after a short break still have not tried the trial Solid works package to prove out the suspension design


Thinking about the next problems Steering racks

These are nice quality components that are high adjustable

Shows the Woodward Steering Rack front mount style in position on the chassis, the brackets and tubing still need some work as the hydraulic ram are in the same place. These steering racks are nice quality components that are high adjustable

Building cars with modern wide tires has it’s drawbacks. The wider the tire’s section the more caster is needed to get the steering to self center. This is compounded if there is a large scrub radius. The end result of all this is heavy steering with little feel. Therefore manual steering is not very effective, thus power steering is required. (more…)

Looking at 3d Cad systems with Motion Simulation

This rendering shows how little space is available for the suspension system

This rendering shows how little space is available for the suspension system

The front suspension design is too complex to ensure that the suspension model will work though all the movements and the changing ride height system adding to the possible movements.

To this end we have been researching 3dCad softwares that can simulate the suspension movements as we now need this capability in-house as the design work progresses to ensure no wasted redesign work later on.

There are many software’s that offer motion simulation as an option. The first is free from AR-Cad click here to view. This is a package that we are going to try out,an adding benefit is this software can resolve force input. This will be useful at the ride height adjusting system change the effective spring rate of the coil-over by changing the angle of the unit. This would enable the change is the ride height to be calculate…..possibly. The limitation is the importable models are only simple solids and dxf files. Useful for some basic checking but as the model will simplified not much use for collision detection.

Ar-Cad also offer a full 3dCad package which includes the Motion Simulation, a software called SpaceClaim for around $2,500. This looks to be a good solid modeller but not sure if you can model with surfaces in it (car bodywork is normally modeled in nurbs surfaces) Click here to visit web page. Will be doing move research into this software as this allows importing of iges/step files allowing the use of more complex models in the simulation.

Lastly we are looking again at Rhino3d, the basic modeller is a good surface modeller and there are many plugins to improve this for class A surface work. See previous blog on this (found another useful plugin- A curves click here for details ). For Motion Simulation there is an add on package called bongo click here to visit web page. We are still considering changing to rhino3d for design work as the surfaces produced are nearer class A, but still not sure if the software can produce surfacing as modifiable as Delcam’s power-shape. Need to use it more to find out what it can do. Note they have a 90 day trail period so if you want to try it Click here.

Looking at design projects by others

espera-sbarro-eight-bridgestone-tiresThe students of ESPERA Sbarro Montbéliard built this: called the Sbarro Eight hot-rod concept.>click here and here for more info.

Sbarro is an auto school that teaches its students, the fine art of car design and car materials. Not sure that I’d want one, but it’s good to see something new and fresh built from the ground up start with a 3d model. It is a shame that only a school in France can inspire their student by allowing them to build something like this. It’s time for some of the American colleges to show their students talents as well as this…..

hotrod-concept_UVO5m_5965Another designer who’s work I have seen on the internet over the years is Tristan Hipps (more…)

Front Suspension System

215 front suspension_20150722_010511

Suspension with coil-overs in maximum ride height

215 front suspension_20150722_101347

At min ride height showing the swing arm movement

Working on the front suspension system forced some decisions on the design. Variable ride height with soft spring value at the high ride height and stiffer spring value at the lower ride height was add to the design spec. Air bags are the easy option but do not meet our spec, in fact they do the opposite as the spring value increases with ride height. The only way to increase ride height is to increase air pressure hence increase spring rate.
The only method possible is a mechanical system which changes the coil spring angle and the effective length. The design in the picture shown my first attempt using a swinging arm to mount the fix chassis end of the coil-overs to.
All the suspension mounting points are taken from the suspension analysis software and transferred to the Cad system. (more…)

Front Subframe Ideas


Decided that the front suspension and engine mountings should be on a sub frame. This will enable different engine and suspension systems to be made and offered. Starting with the ultimate system with the Coyote engine and self adjusting ride height independent front suspension. Started with a basic tube setup as shown. (more…)

What is all this design work for

As I have not done any design work for the last two weeks I thought I’d post on what the point of all this design work.

The design shown is going to be produced in my home workshop, the main workshop is for production only. Production and one off design work do not mix, so firstly I am building a home workshop, I’ll post the design for the workshop soon. Then I will produce a wooden master to make molds from. This will be produced from the model using cut sections thought the model to produce bulkhead over which string will be added. The chassis will be laser cut and folded by a local fabrication shop. All the machined components will be machined in house but the machining could be outsourced.

The end result will be a complete driving car. All the stages of the design and build will be documented on this blog.

Idea for the Roadster Hood

Idea for the Roadster Hood and Roll bar

Think about changing to a Carbon fiber frame

The Main Chassis Rails

The main chassis rails have now been redesigned to include holes to plug weld and bulkheads to increase the torsional stiffness. the bulkhead are designed to be welded to the sheet though the slots shown. Then the inner cover plate will be plug welded to the outer rail

chassis rail 1

This shows the bulkhead inside the chassis rail

chassis rail 2

Shows the slots cut into the outer rail for the bulkheads to be welded into. All the holes will be cut using a laser cutting machine before the plate is folded.

chassis rail 3

Show the slots for the bulkheads

chassis rail 4

Shows the plug welding holes to weld the inner cover plate to the outer rail.

  Thinking about changing the rear structure to Carbon Fiber to reduce the weight and make the structure easier to make as it is becoming too complex to fabricate. This would entail adding overlapping onto the chassis rails to allow bonding and riveting.

Will work on the chassis rear legs next as the ends of the rails may need to change. Planing to unfold the chassis rails and produce a 2d dxf file of the chassis rail parts. These files can be send to the laser cutters from which they can produce the parts.

2015 Roadster Design Progression

215 Roadster underside

The Large fabricated side Rails will make the chassis very stiff without an interior full of bars. Plus they offer excellent side impact protection

215 rear view

Rear view, the rear chassis area is only conceptual at the moment. It may be too complicated.

rendering of 210 Roadster

This is a rendering for the basic chassis design for the 215 Roadster, showing the basic folded sheet construction

Decided to start work on the chassis design for the roadster using the body design shown in an earlier post. The idea of the chassis is to be a very stiff and minimal design. The chassis is also designed so that the body can be made in panels and bonded / bolted to it. As a concept idea the side chassis rails will be staying and will be developed further and will be the basis for the chassis frame.If you would like a more detail info subscribe to the 2015 Roadster Newsletter

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Finally a better looking site

Decided to look though some of the WordPress themes again before writing our own. It’s a lot of work so changed to the Three By Theme. I liked the general look of the theme. (more…)

Still working at WordPress

Over the week end I added fire bug to my fire-fox browser. This allows you to inspect any web page you are viewing and highlight the code and see what css code is acting on it. As a reminder webpage are write in html code and you can use css (cascading style sheet) called a the top of the html code to affect the colors fonts layout of the html web page……………………..the end result I found the classes (something that calls the css style to the html page) for the line height and the margin bottom of each paragraph and changed them as you can see in the posts.

Why bother……we are designers and the look of anything bothers us: web pages, hot rods, in fact anything we look at. Still not happy with the look of the blog so started working through the WordPress design your own theme tutorial  Click here to visit the webpage it you want to see the code.

Trying to sort out wordpress theme


Just a note to say I am trying to reformat the site to look more like my website. I have experience designing layouts for a html site using css (this is a system using a separate style sheet) but with a blog site you have use a database and php code. At the moment I am not fully understanding the format of a WordPress site.

It’s driving me nuts trying to reformat the theme I am using. I will sort this but I am editing it live so bear with me.

I like the basic set up of WordPress, you can blog with no understanding of code, but if you do have coding knowledge it is not as simple as it should be. Changing a simple thing such as line spacing with code line-height: value; I changed the code in the style.css  as I would in a html site, but it still defaults  to the original setting. Still have no Idea why. Think I’ll write my own theme.

Why design using a 3d Cad System

Engine gearbox layout

A basic start point of design… The engine, Ford Coyote the transmission (in this case a Hewland trans-axle using 2d line drawing as no model available with custom drive support and the tires

In the past our cars were built as most do now, start with an idea then start building a chassis. Now everything is designed using 3d cad. Here’s why

  • It Makes your designs build-able

You can start with a model of the engine you want to use and a model of a man therefore ensuring that both will fit in the car

      • You can reuse sub-components from previous designs
  • Some components can be directly machined from the model
  • Produce high quality rendering (pictures) from the model  to show the customer.
  • Time-line of the project is easy to keep too.
  • Everyone working on the project knows what is expected as they have renderings and the model to refer too.
  • Sub contractors can have accurate 2d drawings of the parts required complete with note directly from the model reducing errors and rework.
  • Bad Styling or Design shows up sooner in the project.
  • Less desire to change the designs as you build, help to get the project finished
  • Forces you to cost the parts of the project earlier so changes to suit the budget can be made at the start.

The only negative is you will need to learn how to use the software, this takes time but even for one project It’s worth it. Or you pay someone like us to do it for you.

The end result will be the car will look and work better for it.

Interesting blogs I found on the net        Core7   thoughts about modern redesign of old styles and warfields     using Corvette c5 transmission 





Reduced ploy model of the Ford Coyote

The same model reduce file size

The same model as the last post with a reduced file size

To save buying the very expensive graphics card at this time, I reduced the poly (triangle) count on the model, this reduced the file size to the point where my existing graphics card can cope. In the future I will purchase a better one as my models are becoming more complex, therefore more graphic card memory capacity is required to rotate the model smoothly. But for now I can use what I have, plus I want to more research into graphics cards. Cad systems requirements are different to games requirement, direct x performance is important. The recommendations are for the workstation cards but they are much more costly than the Pc cards.

The file size reduction can be perform within many types of 3d Cad software, in this case I used Delcam Power-shape as I am using this to do the concept modeling

Further work on my 32 style Roadster

Model of Ford's Coyote Engine

Model of Ford’s Coyote Engine

Working on the 214 roadster, started it in 2014 hence the name. Decided that a small block Chevy is too old hat, so searched the internet for a model of Ford’s new Coyote engine. Finally purchased a very detailed mesh model (triangles), it looks wonderful. There is a but, the file is so large that it slows the screen refresh as you rotate the model.

Looking into the Nvidia Quadro M6000 graphic card. Visit the web page  , very large sticker shock may I’ll have to look lower down the range.