Streets ahead

30 July 2015

DAX Sports Cars teamed up with Majenta PLM and Physical Digital to reverse engineer its DAX 427 kit car and give customers more choice with custom designs

The DAX 427 on the open road

DAX Sports Cars was the first UK kit car manufacturer to produce a Cobra 427 replica back in 1983 and, over the intervening three decades, has sold over 4,000 kits.

Today, it’s on a mission to revolutionise the kit car industry, by using reverse engineering and CAD/CAM/CAE software to boost quality in the build and fit stages and reduce the time it takes to recreate kit car models and parts.

With that goal in mind, the company recently teamed up with software reseller Magenta PLM and Physical Digital, a specialist in 3D scanning and reverse engineering, to scan and reverse engineer the DAX 427. The software used in this project was Siemens PLM Solid Edge and NX.

1. The project kicked off with a visit to the DAX workshop by Majenta PLM, in which a full-car bill of materials was collected, along with all existing 2D drawings of manufactured parts.

2. The original 2D drawings were then redesigned using Solid Edge to turn them into 3D CAD data.

3. Physical Digital then scanned the major body parts. Once scanned, the bodywork – including body, doors, bonnet, boot and coupe roof – was reverse engineered into the CAD system. This allowed the Physical Digital team to make use of A-class surfacing technology to produce a complete and accurate solid 3D model of the car.

4.Attention then turned to the inner workings. Again, the team used the scanned data of all the parts beneath the bodywork to complete the mechanical workings.

5. The reverse-engineered data and 2D model drawings were then assembled together to create a complete 3D model of the DAX 427 replica, while other parts were modelled directly into the CAD software.

This approach, says Johns, doesn’t just enable DAX to carry out a full analysis and create custom designs. It also means it can provide its customers with the option to see their car in a virtual 3D environment prior to purchase. “That gives us a unique selling point in today’s kit car market,” he says.

Scanning and reverse engineering

“The ability to interact with your design on a computer screen is incredible. Being able to manipulate designs at any stage during the design process is a key advantage, as this allows us to save a substantial amount of time and provide revisions quickly and efficiently to our customers.”

The partnership with Majenta PLM and Physical Digital, he adds, will enable DAX Sports Cars to expand its portfolio of cars and give customers virtual build options, so that they can pick and choose between fit options, parts and colours.

Solid Edge CAD model of the DAX 427

“In addition, the use of 3D CAD and reverse engineering has allowed us to do away with the worry of locating parts and their specifications, as they are stored right on the system, [for us] to send to our suppliers,” he says.

“We’re so pleased with the progress so far and can’t wait to start virtually testing modifications and so on. From jigs, cars, parts and old drawing files, we’ve been able to fully rebuild the car in the CAD system very quickly – something we once thought would be impossible or too expensive.”

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