Pixels, Robot arms and racing circuits

My sincerest apologies (should it be required, I am not sure if anyone really cares that much) for not posting a Stylepixelstudios blog post for nearly 3 months. I was going so well for putting up a post a month, then it all came crashing down. Sort of.

It depends on how you define ‘crashing’, but nonetheless I have been a busy proverbial bee these past 3 months. So busy apparently, that I haven’t the time to update this blog. I have been dabbling in robot arm design, motorsport circuit design, race car design and pixel art. This is basically going to be a self-appreciating blog post, but if that interests you, let me take you on a short journey.

2Mar Robotics

In my last post I detailed the work of 2Mar Robotics, including their logo design and robotic arm, lead by former Young Australian of the Year 2012, Marita Cheng. I have been taken under as the Industrial Designer for the arm, in close collaboration with Marita in order to produce a user-friendly, configurable, aesthetically pleasing robot arm to help those who have quadriplegia. The arm is to be voice activates through an iPhone app.

The project is coming along in leaps and bounds, and while I cannot show you any photos, renders or sketches, I think the arm looks fantastic (what did I say about self-appreciation?). We have looked at options such as injection moulding, 2 part mouldable foam, clamps and friction locks, just to name a few. Great stuff, and I have learned a lot in the process. Great stuff even.

Pixel Art work

I was contacted a month or so ago to conduct some Pixel Art work similar to my Pit Lane View piece from a couple of years back. Without going into too much detail, the request was for a larger scale piece of an actual motorsport circuit. This would then be used to further the project. I have just finished the piece, which I cannot show unfortunately, and am hoping that it leads on to bigger and better things.

The thing to get out of this work was how valuable your previous online influence can be. This particular bit of work was started based off a simple Google Image search. The individual saw the image, tracked it down to my Behance portfolio, and contacted me for the work. My old artworks and designs still get views everyday from people all over the world on DeviantArt, and have been contacted on more than 1 occasion because of it. Do not underestimate the power of your online presence, and even your past work, whether it be online or not.

Australian Motorsport Circuit Design

In June’s edition of the Stylepixelstudios, I detailed the largest and most ambitious project I have undertaken: fully designing a permanent motorsport circuit for Melbourne, Australia. At the time I was in the location planning stage, looking for places that were suitable for a motorsport circuit capable of hosting a Formula 1 race.



Location planning including criteria of built up areas (purple), future planned residential areas (green), major roads (blue), major railways (black), and 45 minute car travel time from the population centre of Melbourne (red).

After assessing 4 different suitable locations (Outer Werribee, Outer Western Suburbs, Sunbury and Outer SE Suburbs), I found the place for the circuit:



The Sunbury option is not located in an area designated for future residential growth, is sufficiently away from current and future residential areas, is within 45 minutes drive from the population centre of Melbourne, and is serviced by an electrified railway.

Sunbury Elevation

In terms of elevation, the circuit area is not terribly exciting, as can be seen above generated from data from GoogleEarth.

Once I chose the circuit location, I went onto conceptual design stage using current and future circuits as inspiration, as well as thinking about what made great circuits and what fans and drivers usually liked about the great circuits.

Circuit 18 Circuit 20 Circuit 16

After generating 20 odd different and varying designs, I then imported the sketches into SolidWorks and using the powers of geometry, sketched some of the circuit ideas to comply with the FIA circuit regulations required for hosting a Formula 1 race (including a minimum 15m wide Start/Finish straight, and minimum 12m wide circuit in other areas).




Using the sketch, I then sketch out the racing line (expected and to the best of my ability anyway) and place the circuit data into a program called OptimumLap. I use this and a downloaded Formula 1 car set value and ran the simulation. This gives me an idea of lap time, corner speeds, and general characteristics of the circuit.

Circuit18 Simulation

Circuit20 Simulation

All great stuff.

The plans for the future are to chose a design and modify it to make it better through detail design. Then I will start designing the layout of the circuit and associated buildings and structure. Then I will develop a brand for the circuit, and present it as a fully fledged, believable circuit design.

Again, ambitious, but all great stuff.

Race Car Design

I have also started a newer, as ambitious project to fully design a new spec series racing car. The inspiration for which started with the ever continuing discussion on whether Formula 1 cars should have a closed cockpit (i.e. a roof). This has expanded to creating an entire base of technical regulations to govern the design, along with a set of sporting regulations which detail how a championship might be run with the car.

Initial ideas for the car are that it will be a a design that relies less on aerodynamics and more on mechanical grip. It will be powered by a small displacement engine working with a regenerative electric powerplant. Here’s a very early, rough and badly taken photo of a sketch I did (taken with a phone camera because we are in the process of moving and it’s all I had).



In any case, and all being said, some exciting and enjoyable stuff still to come!

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