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Toronto snowmobile racer Shawn Watling was using cardboard, string and stacks of paper to dial in his invention when a professional engineer buddy turned him on to SolidWorks® software.
Since then, Watling has tripled his work speed and won the Popular Science Invention Award for a device that could turn his sport on its head.
Watling has designed a breakthrough snowmobile track powered by a rearward axle instead of the traditional one in the front of the sled.
Third-party tests show that when compared with traditional designs, Watling’s Rear Axle Drive (RAD) technology delivers:
- 30 percent more power to the ground than a traditional design, meaning faster acceleration
- A 10 percent increase in top speed
- A 33 percent reduction in stopping distance
- Superior cruising and cornering
- Up to 72 percent increase in fuel economy
The former provincial hockey star and millwright is now in talks with several household-name snowmobile makers who are considering acquiring the patent-pending technology.
Watling modelled his current prototype machine in SolidWorks software – the whole sled down to every screw and washer.
He uses SolidWorks Simulation software for stress and motion analysis, and to cut excess weight from the design.
He exchanges DXF files with machinists for water and laser cutting.
“I went through all the things a snow machine does and charted all the physics,” says Watling.
“SolidWorks lets me try multiple scenarios using all types of geometry without having to make a physical prototype every time. For example, I rattled off eight quick swingarm designs in a couple of days and used SolidWorks Simulation to measure the ground forces, which is a critical factor in this design. I designed my latest sled prototype in four months with SolidWorks, avoiding three or four physical prototypes and probably a year and a half of labour.”
“I’m just so much faster, more organised and more productive with SolidWorks,” Watling says.
“Without it, I wouldn’t have advanced the design to this stage, much less be on the way to taking it to the next level.”
Watling relies on authorised SolidWorks reseller Javelin Technologies for ongoing software training, implementation and support.