Faced with the challenge of redesigning the suspension arm for Nimrod-Racing’s Traxxas Slayer – a radio-controlled, one-eighth scale racing car model – engineers from R-Design Studio used a GOM ATOS white-light 3D scanner and Geomagic software.
The arm was scanned, with the scanner projecting fringe patterns onto the object’s surface, which are then recorded by two cameras, resulting in a triangulated mesh surface output as an STL file. The STL file was brought into Geomagic Studio software to extract design intent. The software automatically identifies features such as planes, cylinders, cones, spheres, and extruded and revolved surfaces, enabling objects to be modelled as they were originally designed.
Following this, the company used Geomagic’s Parametric Exchange to directly transfer geometry from Geomagic Studio to SolidWorks, eliminating the need for intermediate neutral CAD transfer files such as IGES or STEP. The parametric model was then further refined in SolidWorks, and R-Design optimised the geometry and completed the redesign of the suspension arm using the built-in finite element analysis functions.
The geometry was then sent to an Objet Eden 3D printer, which builds a part layer by layer with 16-micron accuracy, ensuring smooth surfaces and highly detailed parts, and a silicon casting tool was created for R-Design’s vacuum casting system.
Within the casting system, carbon fibres and tapped inserts were placed into the silicon tool, which was filled with a special resin. The vacuum in the casting chamber enables the resin to completely fill the form, without bubbles. According to the company, small numbers of parts can be created – in this case, 100 pieces of the suspension arm – at a relatively low cost.
The resulting suspension arm is said to be ten times stronger and lighter in weight.