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detailed digital photos

detailed digital photos

(OP)
In my role at an aftermarket exhaust manufacturer, I design, build, and test several products every week. To remain competitive it is necessary to cover almost every vehicle ever made by our products. In my quest to speed things along I believe that much of the initial research could be completed by simply looking at some detailed photos of the underbody. So my question is why there is no such database online, or at least not one I can find. A2Mac1.com comes close, but I was looking for a far simpler approach. Say I get a 2006 Chevrolet Express 1500 5.3L 135" WB in the shop. I could take 100s of photos, and with a simple scale included in each photo, many measurements could be taken to start my development. With advanced CAD software I could even scale a current system and overlap the one in the photos. Is there anyone else out there that could use such a database?

RE: detailed digital photos

your competitors, and the authors of service manuals

RE: detailed digital photos

OEMs have databases like that, for instance I can get teardown reports on hundreds of competitor cars. I'd guesss the cost is of the order of one car plus 100000 dollars per car. As such the access charge to the database would be amazing. Of course if you think there's a market for it you could set it up yourself. 2 post hoist, moderately spiffy camera lens, website.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: detailed digital photos

I've dabbled in photogrammetry a little.
Not easy, not fun, and not accurate.
Similarly with a small, 'inexpensive' 3D arm type 'almost CMM'.
Not easy, not fun, and not accurate.
On the other hand, that POS arm came with a copy of Rhinoceros to act as its user interface, and _that_ was a revelation.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: detailed digital photos

I've had reasonable luck using photos of complex shapes to guide my modeling in Pro-e for home projects. I would think that it'd work adequately for exhaust system design.

RE: detailed digital photos

(OP)
“Even an wide underbody shot with a tape measure would be useful.” It’s not a CMM or 3D files. It is simply a starting point. I can, and often do, go out and find the vehicle I need to record and measure data, but that is time consuming and difficult to repeat. Not saying that every automotive engineer can use it. I assume that they all face the same challenges of such a diverse marketplace. I could spend a month fine tuning one make, model, year, and engine; there are just so many combinations that I would fall behind and not get my product to market. I guess no one has used such a thing, I could not find one online. For instance, say your company designs ground effect packages for sporty cars. There is no way that a photo would be used to finalize the product, but couldn’t a type of visual prototype be created? It could just be a Photoshop thing, to understand how curves, paint schemes, etc. would look with that particular body style. Same with, anything. Say your company makes alternators; with a photo of the engine compartment and a reference scale (i.e. a magnetic ruler on the valve cover) you could get a basic envelope of your alternator casing and start your design work from there. You will still need more detailed data to get precise bolt hole locations and pigtail connections, but it is at least a starting point. No matter the answer to these questions, I have my answer to my original. I do not think it exists as of yet. Thanks guys.
By the way, I do currently have a database of photos for use within my company, but they are only the area I am interested in and only on vehicles I have, obviously, already seen. I will attach one for an idea of what I am discussing. It is of a 2500 Chevrolet, as I have already completed that system, I was looking into the 1500 version. I need to know if there is clearance for the same muffler, specifically between the driveshaft and the frame rail. If so I can continue development of this additional application. Please don’t pick on my welding, this is only a prototype and I am not a welder.

RE: detailed digital photos

Agreed, a photograph is invaluable, and not sufficient.

For a while I worked at squeezing big exhaust systems into big yachts' (usually tiny and cramped) engine rooms. This is typically done after everything is built, because things tend to move around in construction and the concept of interchangeable parts has yet to reach the yacht building industry. So we would send someone out with a tape, or send a dimension form for the customer to fill in, but without a photograph we'd too often run our pipes into stanchions or generators that no one had mentioned.

In your case, at least under a van, you have a relatively cavernous space in which to route your pipe, but of course you need sway clearance for when things move around, and you have to accomodate OEM options, and popular aftermarket options like running boards, so you can't just slap your stuff anywhere.

For a while I thought it would be nice to have a laser scanner to map the available space, but its work product is a point cloud, and point clouds are not real easy to work with.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: detailed digital photos

Used to work on aftermarket additions to the 2500's...looks like GM has copied my heat shields for the gas tanks. Sigh.

(Ok, in reality I copied the idea from another aftermarket mfgr.)

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