Soapbox – Gravity Racer

This was a soapbox gravity racer that I designed for a race that was the first of its kind.  The race was called the Micklegate Run which ran down a street called Micklegate in the centre of York.  I built this with a few of my teammates from event prop hire.  My responsibility was the concept and product design of the soapbox.  The project was sponsored by event prop hire.

Initially, we all wanted to create something different from each other, I wanted to create a miniature muscle car, one teammate wanted a spaceship and the other wanted a giant dessert inspired go-cart.  I combined these ideas into an original mashup that was both quirky and fun.  Initially, I sketched out concepts until I was happy with the overall look and the hybridisation of the theme.  I progressed the design by creating orthographic drawings to figure out the proportions and the basic ergonomics of the soapbox, this ensured the cart would be comfortable for the driver.  Once the design was taken as far as it could in 2D I then moved the project in 3D.

Using Solidworks, I modelled the basic form and its integral framework.  The model was refined and developed into a final design.  This was used to build the soapbox.  I then created a full-colour digital painting of the design and this was used as a point of reference for the painting of the car.

Using the model, I created 2D profile vectors that were used cut the body of the design from polystyrene blocks. Multiple profile cuts were made using a hot wire CNC machine which roughed the basic shape of the design.  This was then refined and finished by a sculptor.  The body was fibreglassed with wood embedded which allowed the shell to be bolted to the metal framework.  A giant acrylic hemisphere was used for the windshield.  I created a 3D model for the whipped cream top, rocket cones and giant wafer, these were milled out and attached to the dome.  The top piece was sprayed with a strong plastic coating.  I designed a grill with headlight sockets that sat into the fibreglass front.  For the back of the car, I designed an illuminated power bar and we embedded speakers into the body.  I created a hot rod style bucket seat with a  twister lolly inspired colour scheme.  As a finishing touch, I covered the design with stylish silver and purple vinyl graphics of our sponsor and the car number.


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