Machine Design

Looking good with half the parts

A 3D CAD program helped an industrial-design firm halve the number of major parts for a motorcycle.

The Wraith from Confederate Motorcycles undergoes testing in Utah. The motorcycle uses a proprietary 91 in.3 engine and weighs 375 lb.

Foraxis' Brian Case says think3 CAD software helped get the part count for the Wrath bike down to 70. Rendered models rather than 2D drawings made for clearer and more productive design reviews.

Using thinkID from think3, Cincinnati, designers also changed the bike's backbone from an unwieldy 4-in.-wide aluminum tube to a seamless carbon-fiber piece weighing just 4 lb. Brian Case, president of Foraxis in Pittsburgh, says the software let his firm trim six months from the production schedule.

Confederate Motorcycles, bike designers and enthusiasts in New Orleans, credits Case with 50% of the bike's creative design. The 3D visualization let him eliminate redundant fasteners and bolts, and combine several structural members into one part. "Now the motor drops onto the frame. It attaches with a couple bolts, and a large part of the assembly is done," said Case. He adds that the software's flexibility let him make modifications on the fly. Changes to 3D models instantly modified the engineering and 2D CAD files, used as working drawings for the motorcycle assembly.


Confederate Motorcycles
(504) 561-9122
Foraxis Design
(513) 263-6770

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