Physical Digital assist Brunel University Formula Student team

Physical Digital assist Brunel University Formula Student team

Here at Physical Digital® our expert team have many years’ experience in the automotive and motorsport industry, with our MD having an impressive career at McLaren before founding Physical Digital® in 2005.

Helping to educate future engineers

As part of our dedication to working with universities and supporting future young engineers, Physical Digital have previously partnered with Formula Student teams to assist them with in their quest to design and build a single-seater race car which is then entered into the annual Formula Student competition, organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMECHE). The prototype is designed for autocross or sprint racing and presented to a hypothetical manufacturing organisation.

So far, for this years’ Formula Student competition we have chosen to work with Brunel Masters Motorsport (BMM), the 2018 FSAE Student Class 2 team from Brunel University. The focus for BMM Racing has been their Yamaha R6 Engine and its ancillary parts. 

The 3D Scanning Process

To achieve the best results, all scanners require objects have a relatively matte surface from which to take measurements. As such, the first part of any measurement job is surface preparation; cleaning down the part, removing oil and debris and applying a surface preparation to transparent or highly reflective areas. With the engine surfaces in their optimal condition, measurement can begin. 

BMM Cylinder

This project required an assembly of parts to be scanned and then digitally reassembled based on an initial assembly measurement. This is possible through the combined used of photogrammetry and optical scanning together.

Initially reference points are applied to the full assembly and the unique pattern of those points in 3D space are captured by Photogrammetry.

Markers R6 Engine

This serves two functions. Firstly, by defining the position of the points on each component relative to one another, when the engine is disassembled, the individual components scans can be reassembled based on this initial measurement. This allows for the measurement of interfacing faces and previously obscured surfaces. Secondly, by constraining all of the points in a single measurement, which are to be later referenced during the scanning process, the global accuracy is constrained and there is no accumulation of error associated with adding together multiple scans over a given distance.

 Markers2 R6 Engine

With a reference points defined, the detailed scan can be performed capturing full part geometry. Performed using the GOM ATOS Structured Light scanner, this system projects a fringe pattern onto the surface of the part and uses two cameras to triangulate points at areas of contrast generated by the projected pattern. This pattern shifts and as is converging and diverging over the 3D form generating the points that make up a scan. Taken from multiple angles, these scans build up to generate on full coherent surface using a combination of the previously defined reference points and the part geometry itself to align the scans together. The net result is an stl file consisting of points meshed together to create an accurate 3D representation the part.  


Mesh BMM Racing

Following receiving the scan data, Prakash Arumuga Nainar, Powertrain team leader, commented: ''BMM are looking into the feasibility of designing a Variable Valve timing (VVT) system for the Yamaha R6 engine. The camshaft scan provided by the Physical Digital team will help us develop a VVT camshaft that can accurately control the timing of the valves to reach the power requirements and optimize the torque, performance and the fuel consumption of the vehicle.''


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