Like many great ideas, Viridian Automotive was born over a few pints of good ale in a country pub where car enthusiasts were discussing the sorrowful demise of the British specialist sports car industry.
Whilst originally conceived to update existing TVR models, it soon became apparent that Viridian could fill the void in the market for a bespoke British sports car. It would use a novel composite and aluminium extrusion chassis and utilise the latest technology wherever possible but still maintain the traditional values of British sportscar design and manufacture.
Work commenced on the detailed chassis design in Solidworks software in September 2009. A full-size model of the car exterior was constructed with regard to component specifications, aerodynamic and ergonomic requirements to allow a tangible appreciation of the design and convey the proportions and thoughts of the designer more than any sketch or computer model can.
By utilising accurate engineering datum the life-size model was sculpted and styled in foam by the design team over a wooden former. All technical criteria were met throughout the development of the project through iterative discussion between the design team and the engineer.
In order to ensure accuracy and symmetry of the exterior design, a digital model was required to allow the creation of precise moulds, both for ongoing design development and for the next crucial stage of Viridian’s expansion; Marketing.
After thoroughly researching the scanning industry it was clear that Central Scanning, with its experience of a previous Porsche RS61 replica project, had the necessary skills and expertise to fulfil Viridian’s requirements.
Central Scanning’s brief was to digitise the full-size foam buck as well as specific components for use in the Solidworks chassis design including the engine, gearbox, steering column and master cylinder.
The scanning of the full size model was undertaken at the Viridian development facility and Central Scanning bought their STEINBICHLER T-SCAN Laser scanning system which, with a measuring volume of up to 6 metres, is ideal for a car.
The system uses 'flying laser dot' technology and allows each point being measured to have its intensity adjusted 'on the fly'. This allows the scanning of multiple surface colours without having to adjust the settings on the scanner, which is the case on many other scanners, so the scanner is good for fast data capture of non co-operative surfaces.
Resolution can be adjusted from 0.070mm to 1mm allowing for high resolution scanning and with the system scanning at 20Hz it is very fast and after the initial setup the scan data was captured very quickly.
The various components for use in the Solidworks chassis design were taken to the Central Scanning facility in Bromsgrove where they used a combination of the STEINBICHLER T-SCAN Laser scanning system and the STEINBICHLER COMET 5 Fringe Projection system. The comet provides high resolution for sharper edge definition with accuracies below the 0.01mm range.
Once the point clouds for both the components and the car have been generated the Steinbichler software allows post-processing of the data to a variety of outputs for reverse engineering and inspection.
The resulting data from Central Scanning was then imported into Alias Design Studio where it was manipulated to create the solid surface model.
Similarly both the component and car body data was imported into Solidworks, this is to ensure that the body sits on the chassis accurately without interference and that the components are packaged together with all the necessary tolerances and accuracy.
The use of scanning for both processes is vital to ensure accuracy in the production design, which reduces the risk of potential expensive mistakes if errors have been made in component location.
From the solid surface model in Alias, simple renderings of the model were produced confirming the design success, which resulted in the commitment to milling a ¼ scale model. This is now used as a marketing tool for potential investors and customers.
Viridian Automotive are now looking for further investment to produce a running prototype, and welcome any parties who may be interested in investing in this exciting project to contact the Marketing Director.