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What do they use to design cars?

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I''ve built a dune buggy from a ''71 vw bug and it was pritty cool. Now a couple years later im thinking about making my own car "from scratch". I''ll use existing drivetrain and suspension parts like I did on the buggy but they will come from a better car, and I plan on making a body. I''m pritty good at designing things and I think I''m going to go to college to be an automotive engineer but doing all this on paper is just not a reality. What kind of software do automtive engineers use? I would like to prototype my chassis and body together in the computer before I start welding or molding. Since I know I wont be able to afford this software I just wanted to take a look at it. See how close it is to Max (which I have), to see if I could use that. I''m also seriously considering writing my own software. If in the future I open my own exotic car shop designing my own cars, some in house software would be nice. Some ideas for the software: The xref feature that max has, so you can work on isolated pieces at once. Exporting of cross sections of the body to cut out of wood and create a mold. Real world physics to test door hinges, suspension, breakage. Please stop me if i go into too much detail... Does anyone know the format that CNC machines read or how the dimensions are inputed? I figured the read some autocad format. My software would have to be able to export blue prints, or formats compatible with milling machines.

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I don''t, but man you got a future ahead of you if this is your gift. Be proud. I was thinking about doing it (could always go back and try), but I just don''t know as much as I''d like to about cars.

Hey, be sure to show us the car when you''re done!


==================
Benjamin Heath
==================

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I use PTC Pro/Engineer software and it's Windchill collaboration system occasionally, when designing/modeling heavy machinery for my client.
I believe that some major automotive manufacturers also use it.

IMHO, Pro/e is a brilliant piece of software - it has all the features that you listed, and the models can potentially control NC robots directly - but it costs like hell!

There are probably more cheaper solutions available, though; AutoCAD with Mech DT comes to mind, but I can't comment on that due to non-existent personal experience.

-Nik

EDIT: By the way, engineering programs are usually entirely different from MAX. As MAX is mostly vertex-based (hollow geometry), Pro/e uses various forms of solids and mathematical reps for modeling almost exclusively. However, you can import and export geometry between the programs, MAX->Pro/E for modeling reference, and Pro/E->MAX for final visualization.

[edited by - Nik02 on March 1, 2004 1:36:10 AM]

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Pro/E is nice but I know that most big companies (in my experience anyways) prefer to use Catia.

BTW, its even more expensive than Pro/E

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quote:
Original post by Ranok
Pro/E is nice but I know that most big companies (in my experience anyways) prefer to use Catia.



It depends on how good deals the companies have got from the vendors
But yes, Catia is good too, used it in school a long time ago.

-Nik

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Now that you say that I think I''ve heard of Catia on discovery channel or something.


I was thinking about that, if max exported a cylinder to a cnc machine it would really be a 20 or so sided prism, are there any tutorials about modeling with true shapes? I know because of the api''s they will have to be represented by sided objects but on the data side they will be true.

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I heard that some German car companies use AutoCAD, but that was a while ago, not sure if they still do.

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Here are my ideas in more detail, I still really dont know much about an official design process (im used to hammers and lipstick to see were to objects touch).




Design modes:

1.) Shape Mode, this is used for modeling of the body, rims, interior, etc. Since these object's shapes are mostly artistic and very flowing they must be modeled with model creation such as 3d studio. This includes, splines, lathe, loft, nurbs.

2.) Intricate Mode, this is used for component design. This includes threads, holes, bearings. This mode will resemble an Autocad like program heavily. Tools include, circle, line, box, slice, etc.

3.) Assembly Mode, this mode will be used for the final assembly of the car. Parts will be added and connected by joints and mounts built in the above modes. This mode will apply physics to the objects testing for breakage and joint binds.


Interface:

The main interface will consist of viewports. They will be configurable like 3ds Max, maximize, 2-5 viewports. All will be scaleable, all will have a selectable view and selectable mode. Views include: Top, Bottom, Left, Right, Front, Back, Ortho, Perspective. Individual viewports can show a differnt mode allowing assembly in the main window, with shape mode for the wheels in a sub view, and shape mode for the body in another sub view. A consume function on each view will over take the entire UI to that view's mode and object. The views will default to the mode's preset setup. Closing this will return you to the previous setup.


Files:

Every project will have a folder and project file much like Visual Studio. There will be an assembly file which contains a list of all the objects used from the project and their relations. Each object will be stored in an object file. One file format for all objects, the files header will define the object (either shape or intricate).


Output:

The project will export many differnt formats. .3ds for marketing and sales, .bmp and .jpg renders from a viewport, (insert format for cnc machines), cross sections of shape objects, blueprints of intricate objects.


Physics:

Objects will be connected in the assembler by either a Joint or a Mount. Joint types will include : Hinge, Ball, Slider, and Universal. Mounts and Joints will be modified in Intricate mode. Between every mount or joint is an a body. Each body connects only 2 joints or mounts. The body will be represented by a spline with circles at intervals along it. Scaling the circles represents the thickness of the material at that point in the body. Realworld data for materials will be used to test stresses and breakage on each component in assembly. ( I dont know much about this stuff so this is just talk)




Suggestions please?

edit: looking through catia's images i was drooling.

[edited by - honayboyz on March 1, 2004 9:09:44 AM]

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Pro/E has two modeling modes out-of the-box: Solid and Sheetmetal. You can convert between the two; for example, you create the base part from a bent sheet, and then bore a solid hole into it. Also, there is the Assembly mode to, duh, assemble the mechanisms and to lay common references to the parts if modeling functional assemblies.
Of course, there is the drawing mode and other essential stuff.

I like this system, because "solid" and "sheet" parts are different to manufacture in real life also.

---

Usually, in solid modeling programs, the geometry is stored in the model as mathematical expressions, such as extrusions, cylinders, etc... with their corresponding cutter operation equivalents (which subtract from the model instead of protruding from it).
So a cylinder or a ball is perfectly round in the "eyes" of manufacturing robot, instead of the polygon representation in which the model is shown on screen.

---

Good luck with your project!

-Nik

[edited by - Nik02 on March 1, 2004 12:07:47 PM]

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