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Autodesk releases the Molecule Viewer to Labs

Designing a Motorcycle Swingarm with Project Dreamcatcher

Question: When does a motorcycle swingarm look like a pelvic bone?

Answer: When it's designed with Project Dreamcatcher!

Autodesk Research Project Dreamcatcher Motorcycle Swingarm

A swingarm is the main component of the rear suspension of a motorcycle. It attaches the rear wheel to the motorcycle. The swingarms you see below are designed with Project Dreamcatcher and get their organic shape as the system iteratively tests the strength of the piece and removes unnecessary material as you can see below.

To set up for this simulation a designer needs to specify their objectives. In this case, the objectives include the forces, the bounding space for the swingarm (as seen in the initial state above - effectively stating that the finished solution must live within this space), the connection points (where the swingarm connects to the wheel and motorcyle) and objects that must be considered in the space (the wheels and chain).

Autodesk Research Dreamcatcher Connections
Connection points for the swingarm
Autodesk Research Dreamcatcher
Obstacles for the swingarm - a chain is placed on both sides to create a symmetrical result

Dreamcatcher can produce many options for a designer to choose from. Here are some alternative swingarms.


From these options a designer could then decide to do further work, such as:

  • change the shape if they want something less organic and more traditional looking
  • develop wings for a footrest or saddlebags
  • add decorations like an embossed logo

Dreamcatcher is a collaboration between the Design Research and Computational Science groups at Autodesk Research. The Computational Science group is looking at the simulation and generation of these shapes using high performance computing options like GPU's and the cloud. The Design Research group is exploring the user experience for designers and how to push beyond the limits of what is possible today. This makes for a lot of exciting possibilities with Project Dreamcatcher - what would you like to design?


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