Exciting day today in the engineering world of Local Motors - SolidWorks is finally installed and up and running!
Since I started this blog you've heard me speak of certain aspects that will be core to the success of our products. SolidWorks is the very nucleus of the engineering "cell". It maintains the integrity of of the vehicles we produce and houses much of the genetic make-up of each design.
Design software, in my mind is the most important tool a manufacturing company (a small start-up in particular) can have. When paired with the right manufacturing technology, it allows the smallest of engineering teams to bring their ability to produce top notch products to a world class level while operating within the 80/20 principle and far beyond. The GTM we designed at Factory Five is a perfect example. I designed the entire chassis and chassis jig in SolidWorks, sent the drawings out to have the tube steel and plate steel cut by our suppliers so when the parts arrived all the pieces "popped" together.
Without the design software, it would have taken countless hours for someone to order the steel, measure each piece (several of which are cut at compound angles), cut the steel, make the jig structure by hand, make sure the pieces fit and then somehow find a way to make the process of manufacturing each part easy to reproduce - definitely not 80% of the result for 20% effort. The exact opposite to be honest. This definitely is no way to get to market quickly, which is one of those key aspects you've heard me discuss in regard to the success of Local Motors. It's technology like 3D design software that enables that.
I'm pretty pumped to have the software installed because this is where the real birth of the vehicle begins. Although I don't have children, the only way I can describe the feeling of seeing the results of the process required to go from the first picture above to the lower picture of the actual chassis is like raising a child knowing that you were influential in its make-up, being a part of each success and that a part of you lives as long as it does. A great sense of pride.