Skip Barber Racing School's James Achard reverse engineered the front upright weldment of a race car using SolidWorks. He then redesigned it using the FEA built into SolidWorks.

Skip Barber Racing School's James Achard reverse engineered the front upright weldment of a race car using SolidWorks. He then redesigned it using the FEA built into SolidWorks.


When builders at Skip Barber Racing School design with 2D software, they seldom redesign or analyze existing components. But once the company began working in 3D with Solid-Works, it had more opportunity to closely examine details of the formula cars driven by its wanna-be racers.

Take a front upright weldment, for example. The work had been outsourced to a local manufacturer that charged about $480. "When the new CAD software with built-in FEA became available, a linear static analysis of the weldment showed the gussets were indeed adding strength to the assembly. But the tubing was oversized and the gussets could have been smaller," says Skip Barber chief engineer James Achard. That meant a lighter design with fewer welds and less postmachining. The cost dropped to $185 and Barber brought the work inhouse.

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