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Modeling the VeeDub ReDub Platform in Solidworks

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

Before we could get to cutting and welding, we needed to draw up the VeeDub ReDub prototype chassis on the computer with our CAD software package of choice, Solidworks.

We started using Solidworks decades ago in our aerospace machine shop to recreate parts for aging aircraft and then for developing the DF Goblin kit car. It is an invaluable tool for developing something like the VeeDub ReDub platform because you can rapidly iterate through virtual designs quicker than you can build physical models.

Below I'll provide a brief overview of how we modeled the platform. I wish I could go into more detail but it would be a lot to write.

Using the dimensions we gathered from the Beetle and the suspension data we studied on the Lotus Elise, we were able to start designing the platform in Solidworks, starting with the chassis.

Modeling something as extensive as a brand new chassis always includes a lot of "two steps forward one step back" moments (and even some "one step forward and two steps back" moments). The key for us was to determine which items were immovable and lock those in place. For example, the pan of our platform must match up to the Beetle body so the pans were locked into place very early on.

(Side note: Although the floor pans in the model look like simple sheet metal with bent up rails around the perimeter, we are actually using off-the-shelf VW pan halves that are used to repair almost every rusted out Beetle. These have seat mounts, indentations and other features. Whether these were modeled or not didn't affect the platform development so we skipped them.)

With the chassis drawn to match the Beetle body, we turned to the front and rear suspension along with the rear subframe. The rear subframe is removable to allow someone to drop the engine from the fully assembled car without having to remove the body.

At this point we were ready to start on the first prototype. In the next blog posts I'll show the first step: plasma cutting the sheet metal pieces.

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