Tag Archives: cad

Bloodhound SSC Steering Wheel Design Challenge

Found this competition on carbodydesign.com and figured it was a good competition to get back into designing. The task was to design a steering wheel for the new Bloodhound SSC SuperSonic Car.


After a bit of research I found some interior pictures from the Thrust SSC which was a SuperSonic Car from a number of years ago. From what I saw the interior seemed to be all business and very minimal. As result I decided that this functional aesthetic needed to be retained with some subtle design features to generate interest whilst adding to functionality.

Here are some images of the Bloodhound SSC.

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Model Making Process- CNC Machining Part 2

Realizing some parts of my model were quite tough to machine out without creating alot more individual parts than I already had, I had to look around for other machines that I could use. The RMIT TAFE up the road actually had access to a larger Roland CNC Machine that cut using 4 Axis. This meant that the parts that could be cut out on this machine could be rotated to allow the drill to access parts which were originally undercuts.  This machine being bigger was a great help for helping to create the outer wheel pods of my concept with the help of the Technician who allowed the machine to run overnight, saving me a bunch of time.


The program used here was called Modela. This program was taught to the Product Design students at the Tafe and was extremely helpful. It was a simpler program compared to SurfCam only requiring experience to know how to push the machine to work that little bit smarter than usual

The RMIT Gossard Workshop also had a Roland Machine which was a 4 axis machine but was often used as a 3 axis. This machine which I ended up learning how to use by myself, had rather simple interface but still took a bit of fiddling about to get it working perfectly. This machine was able to create very good finishes on parts but being a smaller machine with smaller drill bits was quite a bit slower.  Through using this myself I was able to learn to run tool paths through the SRP Player and also where I could push the machine to work faster or slower depending on the complexity of the part. By the end of the project I felt confident enough to run the machine entirely by myself and was able to run other students project parts awell.


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Model Making Process- CAD for CNC

After refining my final CAD model a number of times, cleaning up surfaces for rendering and updating and design changes, the 3D model was ready to be CNC Machined. Lucky enough our uni RMIT has a number of CNC machines at their disposale ranging from high speed small scale 4 axis machines to large (2.5m+) 2.5 axis machines able to churn out large parts in a matter of hours. Due to the size and axis limitation of these machines a full 3D model is unable to be cut as a single piece through to these machines. This meant splitting or ‘slicing’ up our 3d models into more manageable sizes that would make the best use of each machine. Examples of this were sending the more highly detailed parts onto the smaller machines which had the drill bits which were small enough to cut out the details needed.  This was also the case when a particular piece was easier to machine on a 4 axis machine rather than a 3, perhaps because it saved time or produced a higher quality result.



The form that I had ended up with was quite long and had many undercuts which resulted the large number of CAD images you see above. Where as some students in my class were able to cut their model from less than 10 pieces, the design of mine included many undercuts which made splitting my model quite a task in itself. At the end of the CNC process I had cut out almost 25 pieces on 4 different CNC machines over 3 weeks. I had considered getting some parts outsourced to save time however the quotes that I received back were quite unreasonable, one place asking for upwards of $6000 and 3D printing being even more expensive. With the time constraints I was under and the  iffy nature of these machines, some parts did end up getting 3D printed to save myself time at quite a considerable cost at the university. In hindsight completing my CAD earlier would have prevented these extra costs but it was a good learning experience

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Model Making Process- CAD Process

Throughout the concept development process it was important for me to create CAD models to help visualizing my ideas through other mediums apart from sketching. This gave me the ability to block out forms quickly and utilize it as something that I could sketch over to refine certain shapes that I liked. 

I used Autodesk Alias to surface my model for my major project this year after learning to use it for a semester in 2011. I believed that this program was the best choice as it was a sought after skill in the automotive industry. Using online tutorials and the help of some friends who were also learning to use the program I was able to skill up to a level that was high enough to enable me to surface a form that could be transferred for CNC machining as well as CAD rendering. 

The top half of the images represent the earliest CAD models where the surfaces were created more to show form generation rather than clean surfacing. The later half represented a CAD model that I intended to use for both CNC Machining and Rendering with much cleaner surfacing and better reflections. 


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