This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)
A look at how Italian companies Garage221 and 3DiTALY used Fusion 360 to quickly design and 3D print a custom motorcycle tank on a tight deadline.
People often say that for some jobs, passion is everything (which is probably true). It’s also true that for some jobs, passion is paramount. However, passion is not always enough to overcome challenges. This was exactly the case for two Italian companies: Garage221, a workshop based in Rome dedicated to customizing motorcycles, and 3DiTALY, an experimental 3D printing laboratory. Before I get into this story, as I am based in Rome, I want to add that in this case, Autodesk’s Fusion 360 is what we call the “host” in Italy because it provided the necessary technologies to make this idea and dream come to life.
It all began about a year and a half ago when Garage221 won a contest created by the motorcycle manufacturer Yamaha to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the XT500, a decidedly iconic model for the Japanese brand and the entire two-wheel community.
The contest called for participants to design a motorcycle in memory of the first XT500, starting with a current model. The well-deserved medal awarded to the winner went to Violante by Garage221. The award, however, had another benefit to it: the realization of the winning project, which would be exhibited in many different international contexts, beginning with trade fairs.
“The challenge for us,” explains Pier Francesco Marchio, who owns Garage221 together with his sons, Alessandro and Massimiliano, “was to create a prototype that went beyond the simple task of styling. We were interested in creating a product that would be a viable alternative to the current model’s original design, and could perhaps become an example of a customization kit. So, no longer a special, unique, and rare product for a customer, but instead, an item that perhaps could be purchased by the general public. A classic on-off.”
It was a challenge that they met with perfection. During the last EICMA trade show in Milan and the Motor Bike Expo in Verona, Violante was on exhibition at the Yamaha stand.
It was clear that the most significant part of the entire project was constructing the new tank, a decisive element in determining the aesthetic appearance of the bike.
So, Marchio and his team got to work using a typical method for them, which included creating templates, cut-outs, and the consequent slab of steel sheets to achieve their desired shape. After working for several weeks, they realized that time was passing too quickly. The path to the final result would be too time-consuming if they continued to manufacture the machine based on their experience. So, they began to look around to find a solution that could support them in this adventure, allowing them to speed up the realization time because the first exhibition was quickly approaching.
“In this quest of ours,” Marchio explains, “We came to 3DiTALY, which not only supported us but also allowed us to effectively and quickly get exactly where we wanted to be.”
3DiTALY, the first 3D printing store to open in Italy, helps companies and designers from the concept phase to the realization of an object. They provide the necessary tools to complete the job and offer professional training to those who are thinking of starting a path towards autonomous project growth. All of 3DiTALY’s design projects start with Fusion 360, one of the most comprehensive and versatile professional CAD products on the design market.
“If we had been operating according to a plan that involved switching between different software, as is often the case for those who don’t use Autodesk Fusion 360, we would never have been able to maintain the schedule and would not have delivered the work on time.”– 3DiTALY Project Manager and Autodesk Certified User
3DiTALY and Garage221 began by optical scanning the available material area and where the tank would be inserted. Giampiero Romano, co-founder of 3DiTALY, explains, “This was to ensure not only dimensional certainty, but also the precision of attachment points and other areas of reference and the response of the tank.” After optically scanning the area to place the new component, the crucial work phase on the Violante began.
“The most challenging part of the whole process,” explains Romano, “was not only having a point cloud to provide the exact information regarding the construction of the tank in question, but also the management of data and its proper use. Indeed, more and more often, this kind of process gets bogged down by the precise and quick handling of the data. We also have to include the accuracy and quality of the information extracted, arriving at a final design that can then be 3D printed, ensuring the best possible result.”
“One of the most important constraints placed on the entire process,” he continues, “was the time that we had to complete the project, which was reduced to a minimum. So, we had to scan the area in only a matter of hours (almost a regular day’s work) and then proceed with all the necessary next steps. When we talk about tight deadlines, we are referring to a process that would normally take a whole week.”
One of the classic issues that arise when running projects like this is data transition from one step to the next. After transferring from the point cloud to CAD, another critical point is managing all the aspects that must maintain intact within the design software, without there being the slightest problem.
Gilberto Pescatore, 3DiTALY Project Manager and Autodesk Certified User, who personally managed this project with Fusion 360, explains, “It is here that the great competitive advantage of Autodesk Fusion 360 emerges, which we have succeeded in exploiting until the end as a tool of reverse engineering, even including the stylistic modeling. In these cases, having a single product to work with is definitely better. In fact, instead of a single product, I would say several products are harmoniously inserted into the same suite. This brings an unimaginable operational advantage because you always operate and reason according to a familiar pattern that is repeated throughout the work.”
“In short,” Pescatore continues, “we always work by handling the same instrument which, in turn, constantly offers a friendly and easy-to-follow way of operating. The difference lies in a great deal of time saved in transferring data throughout the necessary software process. I can’t quantify the benefits of Fusion 360 in terms of hours or percentages. Still, I can assure you that if we had been operating according to a plan that involved switching between different software, as is often the case for those who don’t use Autodesk Fusion 360, we would never have been able to maintain the schedule and would not have delivered the work on time: five 8-hour days.”
“This also takes into consideration verification time with the client,” he continues. “Verifications are made easier and quicker, thanks to the possibility of intervening on the shape design, and mechanics, thanks to parametric design. Fusion 360’s capacity to operate as one entity has saved us a great deal of time. Thanks to Fusion 360’s cloud platform, I’ve produced some information regarding CAD processing times. It started on a Thursday at 11:17 AM and ended on the following Wednesday at 4:33 PM. Not counting Saturday and Sunday, that’s five days. Then, I have to add another aspect, which specifically concerns those of us who use the software for our work. I’m referring to the costs, which are also in favor of Autodesk, in my opinion. In maintaining the license for a fully updated and functional product, we spend a fraction of what we would have to spend on another software package and manage it ourselves.”
Learn more about Garage221 here and 3DiTALY here.
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