One of the projects currently in the REVOLT garage is a Porsche 911. We did not perform the original conversion, but we were hired to convert the pack to lithium.
After evaluating the project specs and consulting with the client, one of the first things Chris did was to make a 3-dimensional scan of the engine bay to determine where the brackets for the pack would be mounted. From that, he created a virtual model of the part in CAD software.
Working in CAD allows us to quickly design the components we need and produce them in a reproducible way if we work on the same type of car in the future. However, there are often elements of the vehicle (cables, overhangs, etc.) that aren’t always obvious in the modelling software. This can lead to frustration if we produce the part in metal before discovering the conflict (we do try to learn from our mistakes).
To avoid expensive mistakes (and frustration), we prototype the parts we make. One technique we use when the parts are destined to be made from sheet metal is to laser cut the parts and build prototypes in similarly dimensioned cardboard.
Here are some photos of the bracket Chris tested:
By creating our part in cardboard, we discover the nuances of production before committing to metal, making our process easier to replicate, faster to troubleshoot, and less expensive than finding out the key part of the assembly will interfere with a feature after we’ve spent time and money to produce it in metal and prep it for install.
If you’re in the Austin area and need access to prototyping equipment (or just want to be around makers), you might wish to consider joining the ATX Hackerspace. They have tours on Tuesdays if you want to check out the space. If you see us (since we might be working on one of our projects), come on over and say hello!