Solidworks Spotlights the Digital Side of Automotive Manufacturing

Solidworks Spotlights the Digital Side of Automotive Manufacturing

Feb. 16, 2018
Vehicle designs ran the gamut at Solidworks World 2018, from those built by major car shops to small electric vehicles.

The automotive industry has gone digital and independent. At Solidworks World 2018, there were several designers, from major car shops to small electric vehicles, showing off their vehicles. No two designs were alike, and all came from the professional maker space. Solidworks’ message of bringing the manufacturing process to the designer is clearly on display through these companies, as they took their designs from 3D models to real-life vehicles.

Ringbrothers and the Javelin

Ringbrothers is a custom car design and automotive restoration company located in Spring Green, Wisconsin specializing in customized auto parts and restoration of classic vehicles, led by brothers Jim and Mike Ring. They manage about three design projects a year and were asked by Prestone to build a commemorative car for its 90th anniversary and unveil it at the Speed Equipment Manufacturing Association Show. The 1972 AMC Javelin was chosen as it is a car the embodies the rich U.S. history of car manufacturing and innovation. The build took less than 10 months, and it was the first vehicle completely designed by Solidworks at Ringbrothers.

Matt Moseman, product development specialist for Ringbrothers, used Solidworks and the Microsoft Surface computer to design custom parts. “We worked with Gary Ragle, an incredible auto designer, to generate the renderings and leveraged SOLIDWORKS on Surface devices to design prototype parts that are 3D printed,” said Moseman.

Baja SAE and Forumla SAE from UCLA

UCLA’s Bruin Racing is an undergraduate student organization that designs and builds vehicles for competitive racing in the Baja SAE, Formula SAE, and SuperMileage Vehicle divisions. The Bruin Racing program is completely student funded with the help of sponsors. They use Solidworks student software to perfect their designs before building. It is their primary design tool, and every component of each vehicle, including the assembly structures, are modeled with Solidworks 3D CAD to ensure proper fit and design. Critical structures are analyzed with Solidworks simulation via finite element analysis and motion studies.

The Baja SAE is the oldest of the three teams. Their vehicle, shown on the right, is a scale version of the off-road Baja 1000. The car must endure a 4-Hour Endurance Race against 80 other cars. The race includes rock crawling, jumping, mud pits, and other obstacles created to cause mechanical failures. A new feature was added this year, an Electronically Actuated Continuously Variable Transmission that will improve the top speed, acceleration, and efficiency.

The Formula SAE on the left is an open-wheel, single-seat track car. The vehicle design is optimized for autocross competitions with a focus on acceleration and handling. Formula vehicles focus on advanced design and analysis to improve performance as much as possible. This year, the team added its first aerodynamic component with the addition of a carbon fiber under tray.

Arcimoto “FUV”

A concern for all electric vehicles is weight, especially those that are designed to carry multiple people. Arcimoto reached its final design of the Fun Utility Vehicle (FUV) by going through eight generations of prototypes. All design iterations were initialized and fine-tuned in Solidworks. The software handled all aspects of the design, including the drafting and data management of the vehicle. It has taken 10 years for Arcimoto to reach its final design.

The FUV is a three-wheeled electric motorcycle that has exceptional maneuverability, can carry two passengers with gear, and is designed to park and drive in urban environments. The vehicle has a range of 70 miles on a full charge and 130 miles with the extended battery model. The top speed is 80 miles per hour and can be driven on the highway.


URB-E’s mission is to solve high-speed travel in urban environments. URB-E CTO Sven Etzelsberger and CCO Grant Delgatty used Solidworks to quickly create 3D models of their foldable vehicle. By using the kinematic feature in the software, they were able to design a vehicle that would be light, have a removable batter, efficient ergonomics for the rider, and deliver a comfortable ride. The vehicles range from 14 to 18 miles per hour at a distance of 16 to 20 miles, and weigh within 30 to 35 pounds. They are easy to carry and take with you on public transportation and store easily. URB-E is built in California and has taken advantage of the aerospace manufacturing industry located there to deliver over 5,000 vehicles in more than 30 countries.

Sponsored Recommendations

The entire spectrum of drive technology

June 5, 2024
Read exciting stories about all aspects of maxon drive technology in our magazine.


May 15, 2024
Production equipment is expensive and needs to be protected against input abnormalities such as voltage, current, frequency, and phase to stay online and in operation for the ...

Solenoid Valve Mechanics: Understanding Force Balance Equations

May 13, 2024
When evaluating a solenoid valve for a particular application, it is important to ensure that the valve can both remain in state and transition between its de-energized and fully...

Solenoid Valve Basics: What They Are, What They Do, and How They Work

May 13, 2024
A solenoid valve is an electromechanical device used to control the flow of a liquid or gas. It is comprised of two features: a solenoid and a valve. The solenoid is an electric...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!