HELIMEC, a product design firm, needed to 3D digitize a salt flat racer to perform computational fluid dynamics to analyze performance and streamline aerodynamics. Read the full case study.
The company needed to 3D digitize the Mariani salt flat racer to perform computational fluid dynamics (CFD) in order to analyze performance issues and streamline the car’s aerodynamic profile. HELIMEC chose Scansite 3D to do the 3D scanning and CAD file creation.
“It was an easy choice for us since we’ve used Scansite 3D for other projects and they’ve done phenomenal work,” said Andrew Greene, HELIMEC. “Scansite 3D provides us with the tailored detail we need to create the models required for analysis. Scansite 3D is highly accurate and David (Scansite 3D CTO) has the specific, extensive expertise that we need. Scansite 3D is easy to communicate with and they always understand and deliver what we want.”
“Scansite 3D provides us with the tailored detail we need to create the models required for analysis. Scansite 3D is highly accurate and David (Scansite 3D CTO) has the specific, extensive expertise that we need.” — Andrew Greene, HELIMEC
Unlike some companies, Scansite 3D is able to deliver onsite services, so the company went to Mariani’s facility to 3D scan the car. Once the car was digitized, Scansite 3D precisely edited the data by using the surrounding topography as a guide to fill in any missing information to ensure the best 3D data possible.
Virtual Road Testing
Once this step was complete, Scansite 3D then worked to create high tolerance STEP files, parametric file formats needed by the Computer Aided Design (CAD) program to run the CFD tests. HELIMEC ran these tests repeatedly with computerized modifications to the car, a virtual model if you will, to find out if the car’s performance would improve with the aerodynamic design changes.
“There is a lot more work involved in going from 3D scan data to a STEP or IGES file, which is what HELIMEC needed for this race car project,” said David Bassett, CTO at Scansite 3D. “We use the best hardware and software available on the market. But getting the raw scan data to a parametric format needed by CAD takes extensive expertise, talent and experience, which is what we bring to our clients.”
“From the scan data and CAD file that Scansite 3D provided, we created a computer model of the car, put it in a virtual wind tunnel and produced results information on drag, turbulence, and more,” said Greene.
As it turned out, the CFD results revealed that it would be best to start over with a new car. “We determined that not enough changes could be made to the existing car to improve its aerodynamic profile enough to compete at the level desired, so a new one was built,” said Greene. “Only Scansite 3D’s meticulous work could give us the details we needed to run all of the tests in the time we needed to run them.”
HELIMEC appreciates the expertise and experience of the Scansite 3D team and the precision of its 3D scanners. “You just know when you talk to Scansite 3D that you’ll end up with accurate, usable data, and once you’ve used Scansite 3D, you’ll use them the next time,” said Greene. “In any development effort, if you rely on a vendor and it doesn’t work out, it can be difficult to recover the lost time and costs. Scansite 3D takes the time to understand our particular needs for each unique set of problems and they always deliver on time. And, finally, it doesn’t hurt that Scansite 3D is a team of awfully nice people.”
“In any development effort, if you rely on a vendor and it doesn’t work out, it can be difficult to recover the lost time and costs. Scansite takes the time to understand our particular needs for each unique set of problems and always deliver on time.” — Andrew Greene, HELIMEC