Classic Paradise is a Dutch-based specialist restorer of classic cars, run by highly talented enthusiasts Leontien van Brummelen, Job Vreugdenhil.. and Smokey the cat!
With a project portfolio consisting of Alfa Romeo’s to Zastavas, and just about everything in between, it is easy to imagine the level of engineering challenge that Classic Paradise faces on a daily basis.
The team engaged on a project to restore a Ford Ltd Country Squire, a true classic American land yacht, with a list of mechanical issues as long as its lifetime of adventures.
One particular challenge was the passenger-side window mechanism. For many years a disconcertingly loud ‘bang’ accompanied the door opening and closing, and the window had remained unopened for fear of consequence. Not a challenge to be avoided for the Classic Paradise team!
Careful dismantling of the door panel revealed the cause. A plastic component that connects the winding mechanism to the door frame had disintegrated over the years. A relatively simple part itself, but essential for the vehicle to be restored to a usable condition.
The challenge with any vintage vehicle is the sourcing of replacements. Many hours were spent on eBay and specialist parts supplier sites were trawled to no avail. The team eventually turned to their trusted engineering partner, De Wit 3D Engineering (https://www.dewit3d.nl) for expert help in recreating the broken component.
De Wit 3D Engineering specialise in the use of 3D technologies and offer a full ‘reverse-engineering’ service. A multi-step process was performed. Firstly, to capture the original shape of the defunct component using a precision 3D scanner, then to re-process the scanned surface information through an advanced data pipeline, ultimately resulting in a CAD model suitable for the production of the replacement physical part. In this case, 3D printing.
Each step in the workflow requires both the dedicated tools and also the expertise to use them for a successful engineering outcome.
The level of damage and distortion of the original part magnified the challenge. 3D scanning technologies can capture existing geometry to incredibly high levels of precision, in this case around 50 microns, which is less than the thickness of a human hair! However, simply capturing and reproducing the component in its damaged form, is of no benefit. The key feature points of the original were required to be accurately captured and retained in the as-designed position, however, additional material and geometric structures were required in the new CAD model to ensure that the replacement 3D printed part is durable enough for many more years of use.
Mesh2Surface from KVS was the software selected by De Wit for this purpose. Mesh2Surface is a plugin software package that runs directly inside the market-leading CAD package SOLIDWORKS and provides significantly enhanced functionality for 3D scan data processing.
“With Mesh2Surface for SOLIDWORKS the whole process was very simple, efficient and accurate. By far it is the most effective way to do this type of job and provides all the tools that we need. We can reconstruct the whole part in a parametric way in minutes. Alignment, cross sections, automatic extractions of feature lines just by brushing on the scan data – it was so easy.” said Anton De Wit, Founder of De Wit 3D Engineering.
“What I especially like about Mesh2Surface is its simplicity and the tools designed just for the right job. This software provides only the tools that I need and the right ones. With the amazingly fast deviation analyzer, I can check my design at any time, regardless if I am creating new surfaces or extracting existing ones from the scan data. This was very important to me to get the job done right.” continued Anton.
The process and the final part was an engineering success, thanks to the expertise of De Wit 3D Engineering and their selection of the correct tools for the task.