Tomorrow sees the beginning of the 2014 Winter Olympics, an event that has plunged the UK into a fervent, writhing diaspora of ‘meh’.
With half the United Kingdom submerged by floods and battered by storms; while the Capital ensues a crippling public transport meltdown, nobody here in Blighty could really give a hoot about watching icy sports.
Thankfully Team USA (“U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!”) has piqued our interest at DEVELOP3D with the design of its latest bobsled – a slick, 4-man craft nicknamed ‘Night Train 2’ – a huge jump from the original Winter Olympics bobsleds.
By the same team that created the Gold Medal winning original ‘Night Train’ Bobsled, it is a continuation of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project – the result of former NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine’s quest to build an American made, medal-winning bobsled.
Designed by former NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine and Bob Cuneo, they’ve applied high-speed car-racing know-how with design engineering skills to create a new generation of bobsleds.
Bobsled speeds often exceed 90 miles per hour and races are won by hundredths of a second. Aware of the strict rules enforced by sport officials and the challenges of achieving even better race times, Bodine felt that the 2D design tool they used for the first generation Night Train would not be enough to build the world’s fastest bobsled.
The original bobsled’s aerodynamics were optimised for the fast downhill track of the Vancouver, Canada competition in 2010. The track at the Sochi Games, however, is filled with three tricky uphill sections that require precise handling to generate the most speed out of the track’s curves.
“We knew we needed an accurate and precise 3D design that could give us a realistic and cost-effective way to test and tweak Night Train 2 prototypes,” said Bodine.
“SolidWorks helped us design using a lighter material and creating multiple 3D prototypes of the bobsled on the computer so we could get it just the way we wanted it before we began building and manufacturing it.
“SolidWorks was incredible for allowing us to experiment with the weight of the sled and how that impacts the handling of the bobsled. You win in these races by a very small amount of time and the key to winning is very small changes in design.”
We wish them every luck, but there’s no chance of me crying about the result like I do when watching the ending of Cool Runnings.
Excuse me, I think I have something in my eye…