Clay development
30 Sep 2013

Clay development

30 Sep 2013

The nice thing about clay is it lets you try out all sorts of new ideas quite quickly. Often whilst roughing in one idea, I’ll see a scratch in the clay or a the shape of a random chamfer that sparks another idea. You just don’t get this in 2D sketching since it happens as a result of the modelling process, rather than absolute cognitive design input. Lots of these leads turn out to be absolute crap, but sometimes you strike gold… find enough of these that hang well together and you might have a decent design by the end!

Clay development 1

So many ideas here, all fighting. Urgent need for simplification and refinement!

I took a decision on the seat pad and have opted for a vinyl trimmed gel seat pad. I know it’s got to be thin, but I want it to be as comfortable as possible! I’ve found a supplier in India that makes the kind of orthopedic gel that are used in the medical industry for technical cushions in wheelchairs for example. I’ll get my friend to bring it over when she comes to Germany on business, but for now a rough foam/tape mock-up will do to figure out the shape.

Clay development 2

Clay development 3The body continues to evolve, but I’m struggling to figure out how to integrate the TFT display successfully. Everything I try looks kind of strange, so that needs more thought. The biggest step forwards however came when I eventually took the decision to expose the radiator again. I had been trying very hard to keep the radiator covered, but in the end because of the physical width of the radiator, it was making the bodywork have to be very wide at the bottom there. Looking at the bike in plan view, having the bodywork opening to its widest point at the front was never going to look good. On the way to this decision I tried several things which resulted in design features that I carried forwards, including the blue taped outline below.Clay development 4

Clay development 5

Clay development 6

Finally with the radiator exposed, it all starts to make more sense. The SV650 aficionados among you will have spotted the radiator cap is on the wrong side. On the SV650 it’s on the right hand side, however since I’m ultimately going to be making the bodywork largely symmetrical, I have to consider the design as if it were on the other side, and allow for clearance to the radiator cap.

In other news, I’ve decided that for reasons of practicality, the TFT display should be left in place when the bodywork is removed. In order to achieve this, the central portion of the bodywork that sits over the airbox will be a separate part and become the airbox lid, bolting directly to the original airbox lower. The proposed perimeter of the bodywork, where it meets the airbox lid is mapped out in black tape below. I don’t think I mentioned that in clay modeling we use paper tapes during the development to define where edges should go. By laying tapes on a surface, you can easily create a theoretical edge that you can model to, and know that when the tape is removed the edge you are left with is going to run smoothly, and look good from all angles.

Clay development 7

The airbox lid is starting to come together a bit better now after I’ve decided it will be a completely separate element from the rest of the bodywork.

Clay development 8Lots of aspects are stating to be refined now, and the addition of some fillets start to make the design look less segmented. In clay modelling it’s good practice to work with hard edges first, putting in fillets and radiuses later. Doing so means that you know the surfaces that you have created are actually good controlled surfaces which will result in good reflections and highlights.

I’ve identified the fuel cap I want to use also and have started to think about the practicalities of how this is going to work in terms of its location. If I put it as in the image below at the intersection between the airbox lid and the bodywork, the bodywork can be removed without disconnecting the fuel system, however I have concerns about controlling the panel gaps around the filler cap…

At the tail end, it was looking a little visually heavy at the back there, so I have split it into two wings just to see how it works. Definitely a feature that works for me.

Clay development 9

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