Pointfuse powers re-engineering of race plane for electric new 2020 series

Published 14 January 2020

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: solidworks, design, autodesk, 3d scanning, aerospace, pointfuse, pointcloud

A competitor in the world’s first electric plane racing league spoken about how it has re-engineered its existing formula one race plane for the exciting new electric race series.

Air Race-E sees electric planes simultaneously race around a 5km circuit, just 10 meters above the ground and at speeds of up to 450kmh.

Described as ‘NASCAR in the air’, Canada-based Team Outlaw took the approach of adapting its existing formula one racing plane for the all-electric competition.

Team Outlaw required detailed structural plans for its 1993 Cassutt plane, so it chose to use a borrowed Faro S70 laser scanner to create a working point cloud file in the region of 3 gigabytes.

Once the data had been cleaned-up using Autodesk Recap, and the plane detail isolated, engineers then began the task of trying to import the data into Solidworks.

“In order to assess different design options, we needed a 3D model of the plane which we could use to explore different locations for equipment and different configurations,” commented Thomas Lockwood, a professional mechanical design engineer and one of the twenty-strong team working on the project.
“Having worked with laser scanning in the past I was confident it would be a relatively simple and cost-effective task to capture the raw measurements, however, what we hadn’t factored for was the process of getting the data, in a usable format, into Solidworks,” he continued.

“I’d used point cloud processing software before but it was hugely expensive so when I came across Pointfuse I was excited to try it out.”
Using Pointfuse the Team Outlaw designers converted the cleaned data into a series of meshed surfaces.

From the Pointfuse-produced mesh model, STEP files were exported for use in Solidworks, giving the design team accurate surfaces and break lines from which the CAD model could be created.

The plane is well into development, ready for the spectacular, action-packed race series beginning later this year.

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