Victorian go-kart designer wows judges with a contemporary-yet-classic frame design
And the winner is…Ben Murphy.Victorian go-kart designer Ben Murphy has won the first stage of the Electric Superbike Project competition (www.theelectricsuperbike.com.au). The first stage of the competition – the frame design – attracted more than 100 registrations, and Murphy’s entry was chosen from a shortlist of three that included Victorian Chris Peters and Simon Teed from Queensland.
As the winner of this stage, Murphy walks away with a beefy HP Z200 Workstation courtesy of competition sponsor Hewlett Packard Australia, and the opportunity to work with some of the leading figures in the automotive design industry to refine his frame design before manufacture.
The Electric Superbike Project is a community-based competition run by specialist 3D computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology distributor, Intercad, in conjunction with Triple Eight Race Engineering and Racetech Steel. The goal of the project is to involve aspiring and professional designers across Australia and New Zealand to collaboratively design, test and build a state-of-the-art electric superbike using SolidWorks, the industry-standard CAD/CAM software platform.
Once the motorbike is complete, the final design will be road tested by racing great and TeamVodafone’s V8 Supercar Championship driver Craig Lowndes. The bike will then be auctioned off to the highest bidder with all proceeds going to Red Dust Role Models, a non-profit organisation seeking to improve the health and wellbeing of disadvantaged youth living in remote communities.
Max Piper, CEO, Intercad, says the enthusiasm and innovation shown by the design community has exceeded all expectations, and bodes well for the rest of the competition which still has several months to run.
“This is a unique opportunity for the design, engineering and racing communities to come together and impart their skills and resources for a worthy cause,” says Piper. “The pride shown by the competition entrants and the high level of skill and innovation evident in their first stage designs is testament to the strength of the Australian and New Zealand design community.”
Murphy’s design of a classic tube-steel motorbike frame won over the three competition judges with its attention to detail, practical material choices and innovative simplicity. Speaking of his win, Murphy – who works for go-kart manufacturer Drew Price Engineering – humbly says it was his wife who first brought the competition to his attention.
“My wife received an email from Intercad about this new motorbike design project, and knowing how crazy I was about racing bikes, she sent it to me immediately,” he says. “I’ve spent around 200 hours since then working on the frame design in my spare time, using a trial license of SolidWorks that Intercad was kind enough to supply me with. It was easy to get up and running with the software, which made it possible for me to start right away, browse the material libraries, and define the basic concept of the frame, which was then shortlisted and further refined with the positive feedback from the judges.”
Triple Eight Race Engineering’s Drawing Office Manager, Ian Drapier, says Murphy’s design is “the most thorough and better integrated” of the shortlisted designs. “I like the fact that he has adopted the principle of keeping the frame to a minimum and using the bodywork for seating, and also the way he has tried to use the battery compartment as part of the chassis,” says Drapier.
“There are some nicely machined components mounting the housings to the frame, and while the frame is of fairly basic construction, on the plus side it will be easy to manufacture and cost effective, especially since Racetech Steel is a main sponsor for the project.”
“My starting point was the material,” adds Murphy. “It made sense to use Racetech Steel’s chrome moly tubes for the frame, not only because they are so closely associated with the competition, but because I’m familiar with their products and they have the quality and strength I wanted. Chrome moly tubes are strong enough to allow me to reduce the wall thickness and make the frame lighter. I considered alternative exotics such as carbon fibre and titanium, and while they certainly have their advantages, from a practical sense it would make the bike more expensive and difficult to build, and wouldn’t necessarily meet Australian Design Rules.”
Competition organiser and fellow judge, Intercad’s National Product Manager, Julian Spencer, says the winning design shows Murphy paid close attention to the practical physical attributes of the frame, using SolidWorks’12 decimal point accuracy to minimise weight at every point, but maintain optimal rigidity.
“Every component of the motorbike will be designed and evaluated in the same way, and when the final design is complete, the bike will be machined directly from the SolidWorks drawings,” he says. “This is how a community of SolidWorks users can collaborate on a physical product, with parts sourced from different regions of Australia and New Zealand, even though the community itself spans thousands of kilometres across two countries.”
The next stage of the competition focuses on the drivetrain and wheels. Timelines for entries – along with the final approved SolidWorks drawings of Murphy’s frame design – will be announced on The Electric Superbike blog in the coming weeks.
Murphy is passionate about design, 3D solid modelling and the racing industry and has combined his interests on his blog, BergerHaus Designs.
| A PRPressWire release || September 13, 2017 |||