May 24, 2012
Alex Tagliani had to be set straight, so to speak, and Murray Roddis’ metrological measuring service provided the solution.
“Sam Schmidt Motorsports had a couple of wings and one was like the ‘golden wing’ and the other they said no matter what they did they couldn’t get it to run right,” Roddis says. “They narrowed it down to the rear mainplane and we scanned them both and compared them to the nominal. One was within one-thousandth of an inch across the surface the same as the nominal and the other was six-thousandths of an inch high on one side and three-thousandths of an inch low on the other side, which is the thickness of three pieces of paper.
“ ‘Tag’ figured that because it was twisted like that he had to lift off the throttle because he was getting an unusual lift on one side going into corners. He felt it gave him a 1 mph loss in speed.”
Roddis 3D, which offers a range of scanning, probing and modeling services for motorsports and industrial uses, has been working in conjunction with the IZOD IndyCar Series technical inspection team at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this month to scan bodywork components of the new Dallara chassis. A scale demonstration, a more enhanced system could be incorporated for the 2013 season.
Basically, the system is a camera that tracks the movement of the scanner or probe in a calibrated space. The collected data can then be used to construct digital, three-dimensional models. The handheld scanning system being used by Roddis incorporates 1,000 lasers across a 4-inch-wide swath. A separate probe measures density.
“Information collected could be used for manufacturing tolerances, to determine actually how long these wings last before they come apart,” says Roddis, an Alberta native whose industrial scanning company branched out to motorsports in the past two years. “We could tell, based on measurements comparing recent scans to previous scans how that wing has changed over time.”
Such as the new-for-2013 aero bodywork kits that will differentiate the chassis.
“How are we going to measure these cars in technical inspection when they become more than one shape?” Roddis says. “So lasers and scanners and databases are the simplistic method. We can take a nominal or a calculated volume based on shape, mathematical total, physical features, and by scanning over a surface and then comparing it to that nominal within a few seconds we can provide a multitude of measurements across the car. That is one of the huge advantages to this system.”
Added IZOD IndyCar Series technical director Kevin Blanch: “The best application is for the expected diversity of body kits. We want to make sure they’re the same as the week before and after any repairs. As a team repairs some component, you could go back and scan it, compare it to the former in the database and re-certify it. If we can get it incorporated, then we wouldn’t have to carry body fixtures for all the different pieces on cars.”
Safety applications, such as scanning a driver’s helmet after a crash to identify any deviation or making 3D models of driver seats, also would be valuable.
“It’s a very powerful system and has lots of applications,” Roddis says.