Monday, September 15, 2008

Putting the Printer Through Its Paces Yet Again

Now that we are in the phase of milling scale models of the Rally Fighter, it's time to fire up the ZCorp Rapid Prototyping (RP) Printer and make some parts.

Specifically, instead of paying the milling company to mill the wheels into the model, or even paying another supplier to have the wheels made with a stereolithography (SLA) machine, we are putting our investment to work for us and printing our own wheels and tires.

The tire is modeled after the wheel we currently have in our shop and it's what will be used on the first actual prototype, so it made sense to use it for the model as we make the necessary changes to the body for packaging all the necessary components and to get the best possible look at how the tires will affect the styling of the vehicle. Since we don't have a wheel selected (or designed for that matter in the event we decide to tool up and make a wheel specific to the Rally Fighter) for the prototype, I used another readily available resource - 3D Content Central - to pluck a wheel of the correct size that had already been modeled in SolidWorks, saving a significant amount of time. This could not only significantly derail both our engineering and design team from our critical path, but do so on an item that wouldn't be for production and would require several hours of design time since the wheels would have to match the overall feeling and function of the vehicle - a pretty difficult and daunting task, especially when the styling is still in flux.

Stay tuned for some images of how the RP wheels turned out!

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