Between September 16 and 18 the quiet town of Castell’Arquato will be transformed into a buzzing furore of energy and excitement, as 150+ Supercars and Motorbikes, as well as 500 top cyclists take part in the inaugural Best of Italy Festival 2016, celebrating the very best Italian brands, food and wine. Piazza’s will become street-food markets and you can get up close and personal with the greatest cars and motorbikes ever made.
TV personality and Ex-super model Jodie Kidd requires something a little bit different to race up a hill at the Italian Supercar Festival, so what are you supposed to do? Well we were given the brief to be extreme and throw a good dose of the latest manufacturing technology at a show room fresh Maserati 4200.
The car arrived to us after a date with an angle grinder had removed the windscreen area and the cabriolet top had gone. We had to cover the now open cockpit with a monoposto style canopy, with aerodynamic aero-screen and rear hump, whilst still allowing the doors, bonnet and boot to open.
You have to love the ambition of those of us actively involved in motorsport. Jodie Kidd and the car were booked to be launched within 4 weeks, at the Brooklands Supercar Sunday event. There’s nothing like a tight deadline to focus the mind.
In order to design something that would interface well with the cars shape we enlisted the help of PES Scanning who have specialist 3D scanning equipment capable of capturing a complete car shape with a high degree of accuracy. The car was scanned over the course of a day and CAD compatible data was sent to us overnight so the design phase could begin.
3D Scanning the Maserati
Sample data from the scanner
The type of CAD modelling for these highly complex surfaces and the interface required to the car is a highly skilled function in it’s own right. Luckily with our background in F1 design we have the requisite experience to take on these kind of projects. That’s not to say that given the lead time and the quality requirement for the end result that it was an easy task.
To produce any fibreglass or carbon fibre moulded item such as this, you need to have a pattern to begin with. A pattern is a term for something shaped as per the required final item, usually it’s made in a material like wood or high density foam, from which you can make a mould. The mould is made in fibreglass and the inside of the mould has the final shape and finish that you want for your product.
Machining a pattern the size of this is an enormous undertaking, and has to be split up into manageable chunks that fit on the CNC machine. The machining took around 10 days with the machining centre often running through the night un-attended.
Rear section Pattern ready for moulding…..
…..then after making the mould……
…..and the final part being trial fitted…..
Once the patterns were complete, assembled, and prepared the moulds were made from them. Vinyl Esther resin is used so as to make durable moulds that don’t distort over time. After the moulds were cured, demoulded and trimmed the final items for the Maserati could be produced. They were finished in a white gel coat making the final preparation for painting easy. Due to the time frame of the car build the car wasn’t available for trial fitting before painting so at this stage we had to trust in the accuracy of all the previous elements of the project and hope everything fitted. The final fit of all the components was completed 24 hours prior to the launch!
A few sub-projects landed with us during the main canopy design and build project. One was to create the bespoke styled rear view mirror shown in the picture below, and new centre console that deleted some of the buttons required for things like electric windows. For both of these projects we used our 3D printer to produce the final items in durable ABS plastic. In the case of the centre console we also emplyed our 3D scanner to capture the original form of the Maserati component before making modifications in CAD and printing the final component.
3D Printed custom designed rear view mirror.
3D Printed centre console
If you have a project that requires any of these elements of design and manufacture, we’d be happy to discuss your requirements and how our solutions might help.
email@example.com or call us on 01227 206303