Tag Archives: concept development

BLOODHOUND SSC STEERING WHEEL DESIGN CHALLENGE

I began looking up some popular race steering wheels for supersonic cars and also those which are used on race cars today. Functionality was key here and being a high speed car  I looked towards drag racing vehicles as I imagined the kind of steering and ease of use of the steering wheel was key here.

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 Here are some early sketches that I did just to capture the form I was looking to achieve through the steering wheel concept. I wanted to capture some of the sleek form of the SSC car , capturing its speed but also being comfortable to use. I decided that I would get out some automotive clay that I had left over and sculpt it out 1:1 size as this would help in ergonomics aswell.

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After cleaning up some room in my basement workshop, I started to get the stand together for the model and base for it to sit on. I popped by Mitre 10 and picked up a metal right angle bracket and bolted an MDF plate to start putting clay on.

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Clay sculpting tools are quite expensive, I had some lying around that a friend lent me but some areas I had to make do, hence the potato peeler to get rid of clay. I had some sheet steel too which was good for scraping back the clay and a heat gun to heat up the clay when needed. I used a sandwich oven as my clay oven and I was good to go.Image 

For the steering wheel arm section ( where you hold onto the wheel) I ran some wire into the clay and then bent it using a vice to get it into shape. The wire was about 8mm thick, easy enough to bend but with enough strength to hold its shape.  Since the wire wasn’t bolted in I had to support the arm section while building it up as the clay got a bit heavy. After letting the clay cool down however the wire was strong enough to hold it self up in the position I chose. The next thing I have to get is a mirror to place in the center so that I can see the whole shape.

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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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