In a search for a new and exciting way to capture those adrenaline-filled moments on the track, I found myself looking for creative new places to mount a video camera. The idea was first sparked when Colin purchased a tiny lipstick camera mount, and was debating how and where to mount the camera. The engineer inside could not be contained as I began searching for the perfect location and mount on Colin’s 914. Since there was no location that would subtly house the camera, I decided to create something very custom for a very special guy. (see the 914 mount section for details)
I work in the CAD/CAM industry, so a host of exciting products and technologies are at my disposal. The process followed for development of the 914 camera mount and the 911 camera mount are extremely similar. I began by carefully examining the cars and searching for a location that would not only be an outstanding location from a filming aspect, but that would also provide for a concealed and professional installation. The turn signal lens was perfect for the 914, and the “reflector” lens on the 911 was ideal. There were many factors to be taken into consideration, including routing of the wires through the firewall and to a power source, and avoiding the replacement of a necessary light. Since Colin’s 914 is not street legal, replacing the turn signal lens was a non-issue. Nevertheless, the turn signal bulb could easily be swapped back in. For the 911, I chose the side reflector lens instead of the main turn signal lens so that if the mount was left intact, it would not cause a dangerous situation on the street.
After the specimens were gathered, their shapes needed to be reproduced so the camera mounts would fit into the stock location. Using the Roland LPX-250 3D laser scanner, the original pieces were scanned and reproduced. The laser scans have a resolution of .008”, which is enough detail to ensure the new mounts would fit properly.
Dimension FDM Rapid Prototyper Roland LPX-250 3D Laser Scanner
The data was imported into SolidWorks, where the real design work was performed. Various modeling techniques such as sweeping, lofting, and surfacing were used to develop new shapes to accommodate the actual camera. In the case of the 911, I gracefully bulged out the side of the lens, while the 914 mount was more straightforward. Since I was designing a completely new model in SolidWorks I was afforded the ability to add unique characteristics to the parts, such as text or custom graphics. GTC motorsports was added to both mounts, and I made a special lens for Colin’s 914 to match the other side. Visit Colin’s car at the track to view the “other” lens.
Although these parts do not encounter very much stress, I still used CosmosWorks to perform an FEA (Finite Element Analysis) stress analysis to ensure high strength and longevity. Hey, the resources and expertise are there, why not use them! Besides, the stress distribution images are cool J
After the model was completed in SolidWorks it looked great on the monitor…but it wasn’t doing anyone any good stuck inside the computer! The final step of the design process was to actually *build* the part. There are numerous ways to create a prototype including CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining the part from a block of stock, hand carving wood/wax/clay (so low-tech), or using a rapid prototype machine of one form or another. There are many different rapid prototyping technologies and machines available, and they all have their pros and cons. Since cutting edge technology is the most fun, I chose to use the Dimension rapid prototyping machine from Stratasys for my models. The Dimension is an FDM, or fuse deposition modeling, machine. It builds your piece layer by layer, from the bottom up. ABS plastic is accurately deposited by a head that looks similar to a giant ink-jet head, only it uses plastic instead of ink. After each layer is completed, the base moves down .010” and the next layer is built. Since the Dimension uses ABS plastic as a material, the parts created are unusually durable compared to most rapid prototyping machines. The plastic parts can be sanded, painted, or coated. I was very happy with the results from this machine for these special projects.
Since the parts were based off of the original parts from Porsche, there was not too much concern that they would fit correctly. After all, only a rookie engineer would design something that didn’t fit. Okay, so I was sweating it out until I actually put them on the car, but the concern was unnecessary since both parts fit perfectly. Woohoo!
The lipstick camera used in these mounts was carefully selected by Colin, and has proven to capture very high quality video. Since the lipstick camera has no recording unit, it must be used in conjunction with the inputs on a camcorder. Video from the 914 camera/mount can be downloaded from the gallery section, and video from the 911 camera/mount will be available shortly after our May 19-20 Watkins Glen event. Since the 911 mount location is extremely close to the far side of the car, even autocross videos might be interesting. I will tape a run and post it after our next autocross, date unknown. I might have to whack a cone with the front corner of the car for effect J
I hope you enjoyed learning about these parts as much as I enjoyed developing them. Please feel free to peruse the various media available of these unique mounts.
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