Great British Sports Cars LTD
I have been involved in motor sport since I was about 5 years old and my passion is building cars. It’s about the passion of cars and being as close to the front for a budget, it’s a passion to win that drives the company. Everyone within the company has come from some sort of motor sport and when you look around the cars you can see that influence.
The whole concept with The Zero was to get back to the Lotus 7 concept in the sixties but make it for the modern day. There are lots of unique features; ergonomically there is a lot more space inside the car so for larger people there is more room, dynamically the chassis is a lot stiffer and a lot wider, he foot print of the car is wider too and the way we have managed the weight distribution incorporates modern technological thinking into a classic design.
We never had CAD, we designed the old fashioned way. Richard and I went to a partner in Germany who used Siemens and Catia. One of the problems for ourselves as we were new to this was the software was complicated to use and we couldn’t associate with it. However it felt very natural to associate the SolidWorks platform with the product.
We chose SolidWorks because of its simplicity… it was more intuitive when using it. Before we would have to make a part then try it on the car but now we can get the fit and edges so everything lines up perfectly before we have even cut the metal.
The company is doing everything for the MK V version of the car so every part is on the SolidWorks platform with an aim to have manufacturing drawings, assembly drawings, the full bill of materials, right down to bolt sizes, torque settings, lubrication on all the various parts so that we take it to that full OEM level.
What we have found is that we can use an existing component we have drawn up then adapt it. For example the shock absorbers, a lot of the parts are the same it’s just the length, spring rates and the internals that change but the actual body and shafts are generic components so our time saving is massive.
Using SolidWorks is very fast and intuitive. A lot of the controls allows you to cut corners as such so in our business the more time you can take out of having to design a component means you can spend time on a new component. It is very beneficial to take time out of the design process.
You can record the properties of the material and using cut through views of the parts you can see what areas of material are thicker, where you can cut things out so we have got the chassis much stiffer now as we have been able to optimise areas. We are aiming to take weight out all of the time. We are being smarter with the design by using the same component twice within the car so that it has two functions.
SolidWorks has been able to help us get the fit and finish, the finesse in the car.
SolidWorks enables to put the drawings in front of everybody and as there are 5 of us involved with the design. We like to put all the ideas in the pot and by being able to see the product we can eliminate a lot of niggles early.
We are going to be using more of the rendering capabilities in the future for marketing, especially the machined stuff… the visible aluminium. The rendered versions can present a pre-cursor of what is to come.
As we have become more familiar with the software we have been able to very quickly create panels and parts that would have previously taken days. We can now take the CAD data straight to the CAM software, then on to the machine and within the same day have a part on a car and trying it out.
Currently we are looking at running through our fitting instructions for the whole assembly of the vehicle and for individual aftermarket components to show how to fit them on to the vehicle. Currently we take a lot of photos for doing that, involving illustration diagrams and worded instructions. But now we are looking at SolidWorks Composer so that we can use the actual SolidWorks data to illustrate directly what the end user needs to do whether that be as 2D drawings or 3D animations.
The support from Cadtek has been spot on, especially the reviews of the new releases when we go to the upgrade events. Seeing all of the new features in front of you opens your eyes to what you can now do.