Team Spitphya (AKA Xenophya Design) have won the 2013 London Red Bull Soap Box Race. Dubbed the “world’s wackiest road race”, the Red Bull Soap Box Race is held in cities across the world. Last in the UK in 2003, this year’s event was held at Alexandra Palace in north London.

70 competitors were selected from several thousand applications and included a coffin, an 8 foot effigy of Usain Bolt, a slice of Victoria sponge cake and a rolling rugby scrum. Each team was judged not only on their time down the hill but also the creativity of their theme and ability to entertain 20,000 noisy spectators with a 20 second performance before their run.

The course was run down 430m of North London hillside incorporating 3 jumps and a set of stairs designed to create as much carnage as possible. The crowds weren’t disappointed with numerous spectacular crashes throughout the day at speeds of up to 40mph. Blood was split and bones broken. Parc fermé tellingly comprised of two lanes, one for ‘keepers’ and a skip!

Team Spitphya’s soap box, named the ‘Phyabird’ was inspired by land speed record breakers of the 20s and 30s; Malcolm Campbell, John Cobb, Henry Seagrave et al.

Mark Wells, Ian Wride, Greg Seed, Roy Norton and Thomas Kasher, a group of workmates from motorcycle design agency Xenophya Design, employed the same processes that they apply in their ‘day jobs’ in the creation of the Phyabird. The tubular spaceframe was designed in Rhino 3D CAD to fit perfectly around driver Greg Seed who was digitised using a FARO arm. A full scale clay model of the land speed racer style body was then created which was then moulded in fibreglass and painted in Bluebird Blue.
“We’ve ended up taking this project a bit too seriously – and allowed it to take over most of our lives.” Said team captain and Xenophya Director Mark Wells. “The goal was always to be first down the hill, no matter what the judges thought of us”.

In the quest to be fastest Team Spitphya wanted to create a retro aerodynamic, teardrop- shaped, streamlined body shell that would fit around the full suspension steel chassis. The wheels needed to fit within the elegant tear drop wheel fairings, allowing for a steering lock of around 19 degrees and suspension travel of 40mm. To create the organic body shell the team used T-splines working the model around the Rhino NURBS model of the chassis. The simple sculptural forms were created as a tangible way of evaluating and evolving the body shell in parallel to the chassis design. As the chassis design evolved the T-Splines model was manipulated and updated. Once the design was fixed in T-splines the model was sectioned and templates created for clay modelling to commence.

The Phyabird achieved it’s objective of being fastest in style. Greg piloted the cart down the course in 33.57 seconds, some 3 seconds faster than the runners up, hitting the final ramp at around 40mph and flying approximately 10 metres through the air! Combined with a judges’ score of 39 out of 40 for the performance this put Team Spitphya on the top step of the podium.
“We’re elated to have won the event” said Mark, “it goes some way to justifying the immense amount of work that has gone into the build”. With some minor repair work to do, the Phyabird will hopefully be appearing at soap box events around the country later in the year.

Video footage of the winning run is available to view at YouTube:

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Register now for this free webinar on Tuesday May 7, 10 AM Pacific.

Are you a fan of “Car Talk” on National Public Radio? In this popular radio show, “Click and Clack” demystify the complex challenges of everyday people trying to understand their cars.

In the spirit of this radio show, we offer “T-Splines talk.” T-Splines gurus Kyle Houchens and Sky Greenawalt (aka “Click and Crash”) will demystify the challenges of ordinary designers trying to understand T-Splines.

T-Splines offers designers the chance to make and edit beautiful aesthetic shapes easier than in NURBS, but we’ve found that designers well-versed in NURBS often have questions about how to best approach modeling with T-Splines.

In this webinar, Kyle and Sky will review user-submitted design images and walk through the process of drawing out a T-Splines-suitable topology on the images. This process of thinking through the topology layout (ie, how the faces and edges hook together) before beginning your model is a key practice that will greatly improve the quality of your models. Then, they will take one of the designs forward and actually create a 3D T-Splines model out of it.

Beginning and intermediate T-Splines users will benefit from seeing the thought process of Kyle and Sky as they approach creating these models in T-Splines.

Do you have a design you’d like some pointers on? Post it on our forum. We’ll try to pick 5-6 to use in the webinar, then get through as many as we can. If you have an interesting backstory to the design, your life, or your question, include that as well and we might read it on air!

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The folks at Simply Rhino have put together a free of charge, half day workshop to introduce T-Splines and give some hands-on time with the product.

The workshop will feature guided tuition showing how, in just seven simple commands, you can get productive in T-Splines and create complex geometry quickly and easily.

The event is free, but registration is essential.

simply rhino

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Ronnie Parsons and Gil Akos at Mode Collective are putting on a 2.5 hour webinar introducing precision sculpting with T-Splines for Rhino on Friday, March 8. They’ll include generous amounts of Q&A, which combined with the two-instructor approach, looks like a great way to get a solid T-Splines foundation. Price is $99 ($59 for students).

webinar

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About a year ago, Autodesk acquired the T-Splines technology, and immediately began harnessing it as a fundamental feature of their new Fusion 360 product. During this time, T-Splines for Rhino development slowed.

A few months ago, Autodesk CEO Carl Bass delighted the T-Splines community by announcing on the T-Splines forum that T-Splines for Rhino development would resume actively.

Register now for a free webinar on Thursday March 7 to hear Carl Bass and myself talk with the T-Splines community. We’ll chat about what has happened with T-Splines over the past year, why Autodesk has decided to resume more active development, and what this means for the future. There will be live Q&A at the end.

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A huge box containing the winning T-Splines Organic Modeling Contest models from 3D Systems arrived this week.

For me, it never gets old seeing a 3D model go from the computer to a physical prototype.

These were printed with DuraForm PA Plastic on an sPro SLS 3D printer. 3D Pro Parts, a subsidiary of 3D Systems, actually did the printing for us. They offer a good explanation about what actually happens when a 3D print is made using their SLS technology.

Transit
The winning transit model was this electric sailplane by Joseph Culbert. Here’s the render, and some photos of the 3d printed part. This print was so large that Jody designed it so that it could be assembled. Note that there was enough detail to print each of the pilot’s fingers.

Consumer products
The winning consumer products model was the Blackberry Peer by Felix Lorsignol. Again, here’s a render, as well as some photos of the printed part. Each of the parts fit nicely together in the assembly.

Beautiful models, and gorgeous prints. Thanks again to 3D Systems and 3D Pro Parts to providing this to the winners.

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Juan Santocono proposes this week’s T-Splines modeling challenge: a Star Wars imperial guard helmet.

Head over to the T-Splines forum to check out other submissions and to give it a try yourself. This is a great model to practice your T-Splines skills on.

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There are a number of reasons why a designer or engineer would reverse engineer a part. (We’ll define reverse engineering as fitting usable CAD data to a scan of a physical object.)

One reason is to get a completely accurate CAD representation of the physical object. Most objects are not exactly symmetrical, have imperfections, etc. Sometimes you want all that information represented in your CAD model. For instance, if you are making a custom after-market part that needs to mate to an existing physical object, you would want an accurate representation of that object.

Another reason is to reproduce in CAD the general shape of the physical object, but not care so much that the CAD file exactly represents the physical object. If this is your objective, you might assume symmetry of the object, or leave out imperfections or minor details. You might take this approach if you are going to manufacture a copy of the physical object and you have a loose tolerance, where the form and shape is more important than exactness.

A final reason is to use the scanned object as the starting point to explore a new form or variation. For example, you might scan a car hood, then use that data to make a new hood with a scoop in it.

In this webinar recorded on November 29, 2011, T-Splines user Sky Greenawalt introduces T-Splines 3.3 beta for Rhino, and shows how its new reverse engineering tools provide high quality, cost-effective solutions for each of these reasons.

Sky’s presentation is pretty expansive, ranging from discussions about shape and accuracy, to the nuts and bolts of how you actually run the commands.

Take a look at the webinar below. Your comments are welcome. You can also read the audience Q&A from the webinar.

T-Splines 3.3 is a free upgrade to anyone who has bought T-Splines v3 for Rhino.

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T-Splines 3.3 for Rhino (currently in beta) contains new tools for reverse engineering that have a broad application across many industries.

In a free webinar on December 7, T-Splines user Kevin Pasko will show how T-Splines 3.3 for Rhino enhances the footwear modeling process.

T-Splines CAD assets can be easily reused and reshaped for different variations, and the unique push-pull T-Splines modeling approach enhances creativity.

Kevin will show how T-Splines can be used to create editable, digital lasts. He will also demonstrate the creation of the mid-sole and out-sole of an athletic shoe with T-Splines.

T-Splines models are unique in that the each part is watertight, unified surface that can be easily pushed and pulled to get different variations. T-Splines models convert to NURBS or meshes for downstream compatibility.

Though this webinar will be focused on the footwear industry, the design principles Kevin will use are general and applicable to many industries.

Register for the webinar now.

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Creating a smooth surface, suitable for manufacturing, from scanned data is not a trivial process. It can be tricky, time consuming, and expensive.

T-Splines 3.3 for Rhino introduces new tools to make it much easier to get a high quality surface from scanned data. Learn more by registering for a free webinar on Tuesday, November 29, 2011.

T-Splines user Sky Greenawalt will demonstrate how he used T-Splines 3.3 to reverse engineer a Cessna nose bowl using T-Splines to within a measured tolerance.

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