Wild West Off Road: Workbench Goes Ultra4 Racing
Dallas Lund and his father, Tim, run Wild West Off Road - a full-service shop that designs, builds, and fabricates parts for off-road racing and OEM vehicles. Tim manages the projects and runs the fabrication shop while Dallas works remotely and handles all of the design work. Remote work, CAD file sharing, and helping teams of engineers get the job done without the hassle of IT overhead and bothering the client with install requests? Sounds like a great Workbench use case to us. We caught up with Dallas last month and asked him what Wild West Off Road is all about and how Workbench makes life a little easier.
What's Wild West Off Road's claim to fame?
We are most well-known for our four wheel drive independent front suspension (IFS) assemblies used in vehicles that race in the Ultra4 series; and most recently for our design work on Jason Scherer’s new Ultra4 racer featured in DirtSports Magazine (pictured above).
How did you manage CAD files in the past? What prompted you to try Workbench?
Being located in the Pacific Northwest is a disadvantage when we are involved in a sport that is centered around southern California. Our clients cannot simply stop by for a meeting. In the past the only way we were able to share design concepts with our clients was through screen shots and the occasional 3D PDF.
This method worked, but only allowed us to scratch the surface of true collaboration. For the longest time we also did not have a PDM of any sort and after losing some data to a computer malfunction we knew that we needed to invest in a PDM to protect our files. We were able to make a basic cloud storage service work for a while, but without revision history, file protection, and access options we knew that the solution was only temporary.
We draw from a small database of manufacturers for our assemblies in order to have all the parts completed in time. For most of our projects the design, manufacturing, and fabrication operations span at least three states. Some of our clients prefer to weld or fabricate parts themselves, or use their local machine shop for the machining, while we keep some of the work in house as well.
In some cases, we will never see or touch any of the parts we designed as they go straight from the manufacturer to the client. This requires constant communication with the client to ensure that everything is assembled and welded correctly. Because the manufacturing, fabrication, and assembly operations are spread out it requires that all of the CAD files and drawings are up to date, organized, and accessible by anyone involved in the project.
How does Workbench help?
Ever since we started using Workbench we have been able to greatly increase collaboration with our clients. Having the ability to share 3D models of our assemblies without asking our clients to install anything on their end was huge for us because it allows us to better tailor our designs to suit the clients' needs and addresses the little details with as much attention at the rest of the project. Workbench gives our clients the opportunity to explore the 3D models themselves, make comments, suggest changes, and view changes we make in almost real-time.
Workbench is also a fantastic tool for manufacturing; whether we are building parts in house or sending them out for machining the files are always organized and accessible. With better organization and being able to share these files with our manufacturing partners we are able to ensure that only the most recent revision of any file is accessible and that the correct parts were built without long and sometimes confusing e-mail chains.
The revision management and cloud accessibility features make Workbench an indispensable tool.
Where did you use Workbench on Jason's build?
Workbench was key in allowing us to collaborate with Jason Scherer on the design of his latest Rubicon Express and Nitto Tire sponsored Ultra4 race car. Workbench allowed Jason to see 3D models of the suspension and chassis as it was being designed so that he could provide crucial input during the design phase. When it was time to build, Workbench allowed us to easily share DWGs with Jason. He relied on the 3D models to assemble and weld the parts together.
To see Jason’s new Ultra4 car receive the honor of being DirtSport Magazine’s ‘Masterpice in Metal’ was incredible. For me, as the engineer, knowing that I never touched a single piece of metal that went in to building this car makes it even better.
Would you recommend Workbench?
I would recommend Workbench to anyone who collaborates with clients or manufacturers on a regular basis. I would also recommend Workbench as a reasonably priced PDM. Workbench setup and integration is super easy, and can save a lot of time compared to other PDM options.
Got questions for Dallas? Want him to design a suspension for you?
Let us know in the comments!
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About the author: (Brian Neville-O'Neill)
Brian is GrabCAD’s marketing content manager. If you spot a typo on the site, it’s probably his fault.
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