Highlights of the Easter Holiday 2015

I am sorry but it’s another Mondeo. That’s not important.

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Quite coincidentally it was the only car parked under the looming mass of a 1960s multi-storey apartment complex in Jutland. This kind of architecture is not good for much but it has horizontal stripes which make great reflections on shiny surfaces like car bodies.

In the car industry quite a lot of time is spent looking at the way reflections behave on vehicle’s interior and exterior surfaces. First, during clay modelling glossy plastic film is applied to the model and the designer inspects the highlights reflected from strip lights overhead. Then, when the model is constructed in CAD, based on scans of the clay model, again highlights are used.

This time the CAD package creates virtual reflections on the model’s surface and the studio engineer can rotate and swivel the lights or model to see how the surface looks. The virtual reflections look a lot like the ones above.

None of reflections in the model above would pass muster in CAD. The lines break and are disrupted across shut-lines, for example. This is not due to bad modelling but the behaviour of steel when it’s pressed. It tends to spring back and can be hard to control at the edge of panels.

Still, Ford did a nice job on this car but if you want to see even more carefully managed steel pressing then study an Audi A6 under some strip lights. Stand between the car and the lights and watch how one line can be “moved” across the surface of the car as you slowly move your head up or down. Focus on the reflection not the car itself.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

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