Feeling Tubby and 3D Scanning Disappointment

I know it’s been a quiet few weeks, but we have been working on a few projects, namely wheel tubs, finishing up the rear end and some 3D CFD work that I have planned.


The wheel tubs are coming together nicely. Progressing from having a few holes…


To be rather nicely filled out. For our first set of wheel tubs, I’d say we’re pretty happy!!


We also tracked down what was wrong with our Tilton brake reservoir. Turns out the factory installed gasket was rolled at one point, hence the leaking no matter how tight we got it. Another one of these will be on its way from Tilton soon.


If you’ll recall from my previous post on our Cambered axle progress I had to get a new set of caliper brackets made to fit out DynaPro calipers instead of the Superlites. I drew up these and sent them over to my friends at G&H Diversified to get the laser cut. Should have them back soon and hopefully everything fits!


The next side project I have working is some rudimentary CFD modeling to look at things like front splitter design and our rear spoiler. To start with, I’m doing this CHEAP, so free tools and software are the name of the game. I’ll be using Autodesk’s Flow Design software which you can use on a monthly basis for $35. At first this project seemed like it’d be a piece of cake, but it’s turned out to be anything but. First you have a generate a model. There are 3D models of 1979 Camaros out there, but they’re $90 at a minimum, plus they come in a file format that isn’t easily manipulated in software I have access to – necessary as I have to model in features on the CP car like flares, spoilers, cowl hood, lowered ride height, etc…


So, instead of paying somebody I think I’ll just try out Autodesk 123D catch, which uses photogrammetry to generate a 3D model from pictures. Basically you take a whole bunch of pictures from multiple angles and upload to the “cloud” and out pops a pretty 3D model. This sounds great, but in practice it’s a nightmare. To start with I built a plastic model of a ’79 Camaro, at $17 investment. Then I got “smart” and bought a lazy Susan to spin the model and take multiple pictures from a fixed vantage point, thinking that was what was needed – wrong. The model is supposed to be stationary and the camera move. This took a few hours of frustration to figure out. Then the first successful “model” I made was awful and completely unusable. At this point, I finally sat through some of the tutorial videos, picked up the concept of using markers to guide the software and marked the model and surrounding surface accordingly. This ends up looking like the above.


When you import into the software, this is essentially what you get. Doesn’t look to terrible, right? This was after HOURS of effort going through each picture and checking reference points to make sure the software picked it up correctly. Even this model, again after hours of work, is essentially unusable because once you pull that texture off, it’s a lumpy horrid mess.


At this point, I was frustrated and figured that I’d see what the 3D printing and scanning community could do. One company, The 3D Print Shop, opened up a local “shop” which I contacted to see what a scan would cost. First it was $100, and I ultimately got them down to $50 (which is the cost of Microsoft’s Kinect adapter to PC, my fall-back plan for 3D scanning). Naturally this was all negotiated by e-mail. I met up with the lady at her house, since she didn’t have a store front yet, and she did a 3D scan using a handheld camera similar to a Kinect. To say I’m not impressed with the result would be putting it mildly. The above is after I rejected the first model and her assistant spent several hours cleaning up the model. I ultimately paid for time invested (capped at $50), but I really got nothing out of it.

So I’m back to square one. I should have from the start invested in the $90 3D model and then had someone modify it to meet my needs. At this point I’m probably going to shelve the project unless I can get someone to do the work relatively cheaply. Having a 3D rendered version of the car would be really cool, but if it’s not in software I own or can even use, it’s not much use to me!

Should have some more work done on the Camaro soon as our goal is to be ready to race in January! Stay tuned!

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