Drawing an F1 car using CAD


This topic contains 72 replies, has 27 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 4 years, 11 months ago.

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    So, after a few days I finally sat down to work on this for some hours. First of all, thank you everyone for being so interested on this project and for the good luck wishes. That certainly gives me an extra motivation :)

    I decided to improve on that cockpit section, because honestly that one is very crude. I’m having trouble with rendering at the moment, so for now I’ll post the drawings here on wireframe view. Anyway, the first version I posted some days ago was really flat, I just joined the two bulkeads by flat planes. At first I wanted to make both the upper and lower surfaces a bit curved, but then I realized that the lower surface curvature beings from backwards of the dash bulkhead, so the lower surface is still flat. The upper surface is slightly curved, and that is more visible closer to the soon to be implemented cockpit opening :P

    The regulations regarding this section of the cockpit talk more about extrenal and internal widths, and about how it must be symmetrical to the car’s centre line (as if that needed saying). Long story short, it states that the width at any point must not be less than it would be if the chassis simply taper forward linealy from the dash to the front bulkead. It also states that a minimum area must be left clear inside the cockpit (the template is inserted 10cm behind the forwardmost pedal), but I’m not worried about that because I’m not modelling the chassis with exact thickness

    The measurements are much the same as from the first version I posted, except that the front bulkhead is now at its minium allowed size, 300x275mm. 550mm high at the (A), 600mm high at (B).

    Here are some pictures:

    FIA template


    Cockpit – Section AB (side view)


    Cockpit – Section AB (isometric)


    Front bulkhead detail


    Once I do the front suspension I’ll add a tiny bit of detail on the front bulkead: little round covers that give access to the torsion bars. However I’m doing that just for detail really, I’m not going to draw any of the internal suspension system.

    Also, those vertical and horizontal lines on the cockpit body will be gone once I can sort out the rendering.



    @andae23 doing a complete car may take forever. Did you manage to work on it for a little bit or you didn’t start your car yet? :P

    @joac21 I think the AutoCAD equivalent is the tabulated surface tool, and I’ve been using that a lot :)

    @lin1876 I’m not that ambitious, and honestly when I get to work on the bodywork it is going to be more simple than the 2010 Lotus and the 2009 BMW Sauber combined :P I wouldn’t know how to port that into a game, although it would be really awesome to do so! But honestly what I really wanted to do is get my hands in a CFD software (if there is any freeware version available…) and let it analyse the finished car for a complete day :P


    I’ve been reading f1fanatic for a couple of years now, but have had no real push to create an account and comment on anything until I saw this.

    as a big CAD fan and as a high school CAD teacher, I gotta say this would be an amazing project. I’m currently honing my skills a bit more by designing my own engine (not for F1), and just doing that is difficult, much less getting into a bunch of regulations and such.

    I think an awesome project to do would be to coordinate with a couple people who do CAD, not necessarily in person, but throughout the world, and design a car. While designing a car on your own is an awesome undertaking and I envy your bravery for attempting it, I could see it being a lot of fun doing it in a group.
    Sadly though, the last time I used AutoCAD for 3D was in 2007. Since then I’ve moved on to Autodesk Inventor for personal 3D CAD projects, engineering drawings, and teaching.
    If by any chance youre a student or educator, you actually have access to all of Autodesk’s software, including Inventor, for free at students.autodesk.com. If anyone knows the software or is willing to learn, I would be more than willing to try to create a car as a group.



    No I’ve never started drawing an entire F1-car: I drew a front wing and some other stuff on CATIA some time ago, just for practice.



    @moojoe Thanks for the tip with Autodesk Inventor! I am indeed an engineering student, so I’m downloading it right now. Is it too much different from AutoCAD for 3D? Can I import the .dwg file I’ve been working on to Inventor? I’m going to check CADLearning right away so if I learn how to use it, I’d be really happy to work as a group too :)

    I’ve been thinking lately on some practical problems I’m going to face, and the one I’m most worried about is how long a engine/gearbox assembly is. The regulations regarding engine dimensions specify the cilinder bore and spacing, as whell as the crackshaft height, and that of course gives me a general idea, but I’m not exactly an expert on F1 engine construction, so I don’t know how long they acutally are. Furthermore, the length of the gearboxes are completely up to the teams (I guess it means that they are as small as they can get), and that’s not cool to me because I also have no idea about gearboxes (since they are veiled in secrecy more so than the engines), and I need a rough idea about all that to decide where the rear wheels centre line is going to sit, and without that I simply cannot work on anything at the back of the car. If you guys got any ideas, let me know!


    @guilherme Inventor is extremely different from AutoCAD. Its a totally different environment designed for more fluid 3D design. Autodesk has some great tutorials on how to do everything from super basic projects to extremely complicated design in the student community, so with a little work, you should be able to learn it just fine. Stay with it though, its a bit of a learning curve.
    If you’re an engineering student though, and will be using CAD in your discipline, learn Inventor. As an engineering teacher I work a lot with companies to gear my classroom towards what is being used in industry, and a lot of companies use either Inventor or Solidworks these days. The nice thing too is theyre both similar software, so if you know one, it only takes a bit of time to learn the other.

    As importing goes…its very ackward. DWGs are either 2D drawings or line drawings whereas Inventor uses solid modeling technology to make its parts. While I’ve never had to import a 3D DWG to Inventor, I’ve done it on a 2D level and that was hell. A quick search would probably give you more info, but if you already have your dimensions, you could easily recreate the parts in Inventor (3D parts are really quick to make in Inventor, compared to AutoCAD.) This would also help you learn the software more.


    Bradley Downton

    Ok, so, firstly @guilherme – This is fantastic, I really hope you stick at it and can’t wait to see the progress! :)
    Secondly, I have designed an F1 Car using CAD, however not quite in the same way, let me explain.
    Last year at College (My AS year for all of you who are also in the UK :P haha) we were given a design topic of ‘Mystery and Imagination’ in CAD. After doing research I wanted to do something that you could build, like Lego, as this was a starting point. I also wanted to do something involving F1 though, and so decided to do an F1 car with removable parts. The program I used was Pro/DESKTOP (really rubbish) but this was the outcome:

    And this is an exploded view to show you each part:

    It effectively became a toy car that had removable pieces so kid’s could smash it up and then rebuild it (as I know, like I did, kid’s like to smash things up).
    Now I might be a little biased, but I thought this was cool… and really wanted one :P



    @bradley13 Thats a very nice toy :) I like the MP-4 26 style side pods, but I miss the air intake above the engine cover.



    Bradley Downton

    @bag0 – I based that on the Lotus T128:

    All parts of it were based on different parts of different 2011 cars :P



    First of all, I must say a big thank you to Zachary for the tip with Inventor. I tried it today and it is AMAZING! I still have a lot to learn but I think it will be much easier once I get to know the software better.. I did the front tyre again, so here it is:


    @moojoe yeah, I didn’t even try to import my DWG file, I’m doing it all over again. I should be much easier now though :) I’m looking at their CADLearning tutorials, and so far it has been a pleasant experience learning this stuff!

    @bradley13 your toy looks incredible! :) I’m sure I’d have loved one of these when I was a kid :P



    Hello people.

    Just doing a quick update here. I have redrawn what little I did on Inventor now. Here is the Section A-B of the survival cell, in all of its carbon fiber glory:


    I’ll start working on the Section B-C of the survival cell on the coming days (I still need to learn a lot more of the software, although I already have a general idea of what I want to do), but I can at least post the sketch of the cockpit opening:

    Cockpit opening template


    Keith Collantine

    Can I just say: Best thread ever. Keep up the great work guys! Fascinating to see this develop.


    Fer no.65

    I’m jealous! I learned CAD design at school, but not THAT much… !

    Well done guys!



    Heh, thanks @keithcollantine :)

    And @fer-no65, if you’re an student you can just do as Zachary said up there and download the software for free at students.autodesk.com. I knew nothing of Inventor before doing this, but there are 20 hours of video tutorials for free at CADLearning (you’ll find it on the “Learning” tab on the site, if you’re interested), you only need to register there!

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