Monday, December 14, 2009

Case Study: Reverse Engineering WWII Jeep Frame

Recently, Direct Dimensions had the unique opportunity to scan a 1940’s Bantam Jeep underframe. The Bantam BRC-40, alongside models like the Willys MA and the Ford GP, were among the first Jeeps produced by the U.S. Army. Due to their extensive use in WWII, they quickly became iconic of the war and of the era in general.

This particular Bantam frame, provided by client Todd Paisley, posed a challenging 3D problem, as it had rusted and corroded to the point where it was no longer usable. Direct Dimensions was brought in to reverse engineer the component in order to produce a digital model upon which new underframes could be manufactured.

DDI engineers Michael Lent and John Kelbel completed the scan in one day using a 12’ Platinum FARO Arm paired with the Laser Design SLP 2000 laser line scanner. The SLP 2000 proved ideal for this challenge, as its dual cameras and wide laser range reduce scanning passes, saving time while still ensuring high accuracy.

According to John Kelbel, the heavily warped underframe was scanned in sections from two separate positions, both from the front of the frame and from the back. These scans were then digitally combined using Rapidform software. Using Rapidform XOR software, the data taken from the scan was reverse engineered to produce a CAD model of the original ‘design-intent’ of this part suitable for manufacturing. The final deliverable allows the production of components based upon the historic Bantam underframe for several generations of Jeeps to come.

You can see additional documentation on the Jeep Reverse Engineering Project, including an interactive 3D model on our website.