Drawing an F1 car using CAD


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    Profile photo of Guilherme

    @dot_com Nope, I’m using Inventor now, so I’m using the built-in renderer from it. I agree, the rendered images look pretty good, I kinda makes me proud of my car when I look at them :P I’m rendering an image right now, but it’s going to take forever with my lack of processing power…

    Profile photo of Guilherme

    Here’s a beta version of the engine air box. By far the most annoying, tiresome and hardest part up until now. I’m probably going to take a few days away from the project because I really need some fresh ideas.


    @guilherme Holy crap. My school year started recently so I’ve been busy dealing with my students and havent been able to reply to you, but I wish I saw this sooner. This is impressive for someone who’s been using Inventor for a couple years, much less for someone who just started using it.
    Try looking at grabcad.com. Its a site where people can post things they made. You may wanna post some of this simply to look cool.

    @dot_com For the 2013 version Autodesk Inventor added a rendering engine called Ray Tracing. Its a rendering engine built off of 3DS Max Studio’s engine (forget which one) but a bit simpler to allow for interactive rendering. Its a pretty good engine, especially if you set it to do a better render. It takes more time, but can often look really good. That being said though you cant play much with the lights or background, so its only used for quick renders. The best way to get a good render is to still import it into 3DS Max and do a proper render in there.

    Profile photo of Keith Collantine
    Keith Collantine

    @guilherme Really nice detail around the airbox. I can only imagine how much effort’s going into this but it truly is impressive!

    Profile photo of Guilherme

    @keithcollantine Thanks! That airbox really gave me some trouble!

    @moojoe Haha, I’m not one to brag about what I do. I share it with the people here and that’s good enough to me :) By the way, do you know how I could make a thin translucent surface over the LEDs? I was trying to do that to see if made any difference, but I couldn’t do it at all.

    I’m going to design the steering wheel now. I actually want to make a fully funcional steering system, and I’m feeling confident to tackle the uprights and improve the realism of my front wheel assembly drawings. If everything goes as planned, I’ll even make a video of it… maybe.

    Anyway, here’s the steering wheel dashboard. Those LEDs gave me a lot of trouble, but the end result was very satisfying! I’m not happy with the colour of the LEDs though (probably because I can’t tell blues apart from most blue-ish colours)

    Reference material: http://www.mclarenelectronics.com/Products/Product/PCU-6D


    @guilherme to make the transluent part, just make a piece that would go over it, make the material to be polycarbonate or some other clear material, (acrylic, glass, or so on, although polycarbonate is probably what its made in real life(otherwise known as lexan)) and use the assembly environment to place it on top of it.
    If you cant find the material, there are a whole bunch of extra materials and colors. when you click the drop down for either of them, at the bottom there is something that should say Autodesk materials library or some other form of library (I’m not at a computer with Inventor right now so I cant get exact names), just select the one right above the default selection. It has a ton more options.

    I remember you saying that you havent been able to learn the assembly environment yet. It really is something you need to do though, especailly if you want to make the steering work. Use youtube as a resource, and get a book on Inventor. If you can spend the $40-50, get a 2013 inventor book, but if you cant, just get a 2012 book used. It will be probably $20-30, and you can just use Inventor’s new features learning center thats built in to the software to learn the new things (lots of cool new features between ’12 and ’13). The way these things are properly done is you would make every individual part, so each LED on your wheel would be a part, and every other piece would be a part, and you would then assemble them in Inventor using constraints. This would allow you to move parts, since you just dont constrain certain degrees of freedom so you can actually test things and make them work in the Studio envirornment, which is the animation section in Inventor. Also with this you could assign proper materials and do stress testing among other pretty neat tests.
    It may take some time to redo some parts to be individual parts, but if you’re planning on making a full car, I highly highly suggest you take the time to learn the assembly environment and do this right. Not only will your final product work well, but depending on what you plan on doing with your life (I remember you saying you were in college), this is an amazing addition to a job portfolio. I know if I saw a teacher candidate with that level of expertise, it would certainly jump them to the top of the hiring pile.


    Just looked at your link to Mclaren electronics. First off, they say the front material is polycarb, so I would make the clear out of that.
    Secondly, I just realized they had full working drawings of the dimensions of that unit. Totally making one for fun tonight. Thats awesome.

    Profile photo of Guilherme

    Thanks for the tips @moojoe! I was trying to do that on the same part, but I’ll try to make that an assembly now. I didn’t know about the book… $50 is a little expensive, but it will be money well spent. I’ll probably buy it next month! I am thinking on doing more individual parts like you said (although not individual LEDs, that would be crazy =P). For example, I’m doing the steering wheel right now, and did the body of the wheel and the handles… Later today I’ll draw the buttons and switches and assemble them together. I’m very interested on those tests too (even though I know nothing about how to do them), and I’ll probably run a CFD simulation at some point too!

    By the way, can’t I add decals to an assembly? I’m thinking on drawing only one button and then placing a decal on each one on the assembly environment, but I can’t find an option to do that.

    And yes, the biggest reason why I’m doing this project is because it can help me pursue the career that I want :P I want to see the bodywork finished but I the same time I think it’s more important from and engineering perspective that I create fully functioning systems and test them.

    Ops, serves me right to work on this stuff till 3am, my eyes completely skipped the polycarbonate information! :P And if you do design your own display, please post it here!

    Here is the steering wheel, or at least how it’s looking at the moment. There are a few changes I want to make to the overall shape, then I’ll add the buttons and switches, and the paddles on another day.


    @guilherme Annoyingly I’m still at my school, and they apparently block just the images from this site, so I cant see the progress you’ve made, but will check it tonight.

    as far as the book goes…find a 2012 one used. Its probably a lot less money, and it will be just as good as the 2013 software version. I rarely buy the book for the current year of software, and just buy the year before that unless there was a major major change to the software (like when they went to a ribbon UI).

    Remember you dont need to make each individual LED multiple times. Say you have three colors. Just make one, save as three times, and change the colors for each of them. Then when you’re making the assembly place as many as you want into the assembly environment. Theres no limit to how many times you can copy a part in assemblies. you can one or 1000 of the same exact part, and the software will still treat each part individually when it comes to constraints and everything.

    As far as CFD…thats a whole other topic in its own thats extremely complicated and difficult. You often need a really really good computer to run it along with extremely sophisticated software that costs a lot of money. Best bet would to be to find a university or very kind company that could do it with you for free or little cost.

    As far as I know, you cant add decals to an assembly. Think of an assembly as a place where you are physically putting together each part that you made on its own. While you may often put decals on once you build something, in reality you are almost always putting the decal on an individual part of that assembly. Thus in Inventor you simply do a decal in a part then it will show up in an assembly. Play around with the decal settings. Once you figure it out you can do some really cool ones that kind of form with any curve you throw at it.

    Lastly, out of curiousity, what are you going to school for right now?


    Couple of edits:
    As far as CFD, check out Reddit.com. I know theres a subreddit for CFD and they may be able to help you on there. I cant get to reddit at my school so I cant get you a link though.

    And when I get home tonight I’ll look into if you can do decals in assemblies. I dont believe you can, but I never really tried either since I always just do it in parts, so I’ll look around at some literature that I have and see if its possible.

    Profile photo of Guilherme

    @moojoe Ok, I’ll look for an used one then. And yeah, I used to view the 2012 video tutorials and I never felt any significant difference with the learning.

    Oh yes, I know :P But I was talking about the alphanumerical display. Each character has 11 LEDs so assembling all 88 of them (plus 7 for the middle digit) would be a pain in the backside :P That’s why I did a single digit on the sketch mode and created a pattern. They don’t have any “individuality” but I think that was the fastest way to go for that amount of detail.

    Well, I mentioned CFD because I was looking at the Autodesk website these days and saw that they have a CFD software, but I didn’t check the minimum specs up till now… My computer would barely handle it, so maybe I will have to ditch the CFD after all :P Wow, never thought there would be a CDF subreddit! I’ll look for it later.

    Well, I tried again and didn’t find anything, and as impatient as I am, I decided to add the decals on the parts and simply create multiple button parts :P There are still more decals that I want to do, but I suck at creating images so they’ll have to wait because I’ll need help from my brother to create them. Most of the steering wheel controls are in place, I just want to add two more buttons that most cars have but are missing on mine and add the multifunction middle switch.

    By the way Zach, if you did model your own display, how does it look after you render it? I created that polycarbonate cover you told me about, but now when I render it the LEDs look like they’re all turned off. I tried to play around with the settings of both the LEDs and the polycarb cover, but couldn’t get it to work.

    And if I understood the last question correctly, I study civil engineering, but want to change to mechanical engineering next semester :P

    Here’s a non-rendered image of the wheel so far:


    Freaking awesome steering wheel.
    I looked into decals, you can only do them in parts. You cant do them in assemblies.

    Rendering with polycarb can be difficult due to the lighting. You can change the material properties to make it a bit more see-through and not scatter the light that much.
    For rendering it depends on what I’m doing. Quick renders to show off real fast, I just use the ray tracing in Inventor. If I want it to look a bit nicer, change the ray tracing settings to best and wait a bit. It looks pretty good but you cant really adjust the lighting that well, which is the key to a good render.
    Better quality I put it in Autodesk Showcase where I can set lighting and the environment and all, then use the ray tracing in that.
    Lastly, if I want the thing to look really good, I put it in 3DS Max Design, and spend a couple of hours perfecting my lighting. This takes a while, and can be difficult to learn at first, but this is how you make it look realistic. When you see those renderings that look like its an actual object, and you ask how on earth a computer program made something look so real, it was probably done in 3DS Max Design or something similar, with a couple hours of work to make it look good, then anywhere from 4-8 hours to 24+ hours of render time.

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    Oh man I bookmarked this thread ages ago and haven’t checked for a while but very glad to see more updates! Awesome work, can’t wait to see more!

    Great thread & project!

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