USA bobsled team discusses development of 'Night Train 2' for Olympics

Geoff Bodine and Bob Cuneo explain their decision to use Solidworks for 3D design

Sean Dudley
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley on 29 January 2014
USA bobsled team discusses development of 'Night Train 2' for Olympics

The team behind Night Train 2, the four-man bobsled that will be used by the US team at next month’s Sochi Winter Olympics, have been discussing the technology from Dassault Systèmes that was used in the project’s development.

Speaking at the SOLIDWORKS World Conference in San Diego, California, Geoff Bodine and Bob Cuneo talked about the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project.

The American team first used the original Night Train to help the win Gold at the 2010 games in Vancouver, and the Bo-Dyn team has collaborated again ahead of this year’s event hoping to emulate that result with a new model.

Bodine and Cuneo felt that the 2D design tool used to build the first generation Night Train would not be enough this time around.

The decision was made to use the Solidworks application, based on Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform and running on Microsoft Windows.

Bobsled speeds can often exceed 90 miles per hour, and the team used the technology to adhere to the strict rules enforced by the sport’s officials to create a sled that will hopefully give the US team the minor but decisive edge they need for success in a sport where the difference between victory and defeat can be a matter of milliseconds.

“We knew we needed an accurate and precise 3D design that could give us a realistic and cost-effective way to test and tweak Night Train 2 prototypes. The solution was SOLIDWORKS,” said Geoff Bodine, Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. “SOLIDWORKS helped us design using a lighter material and creating multiple 3D prototypes of the bobsled on the computer so we could get it just the way we wanted it before we began building and manufacturing it.”

The Night Train 2 has been aerodynamically optimised for the Sochi course, which features three uphill sections that will require precise handling to gain the most speed out of the curves of the track.

“SOLIDWORKS was incredible for allowing us to experiment with the weight of the sled and how that impacts the handling of the bobsled,” said Bodine. “You win in these races by a very small amount of time and the key to winning is very small changes in design. SOLIDWORKS lets us quickly make those crucial changes.”

The US team’s head engineer has been trained on the SOLIDWORKS software to help make quick repairs or adjustments to the components of the sled as necessary once competition is underway.

“Bo-Dyn and their bobsled that will race in Sochi show the power of the SOLIDWORKS 3D design software application in inspiring people to create new designs and bring a vision to life,” said Bertrand Sicot, CEO, SOLIDWORKS, Dassault Systèmes. “We wish them success in the Sochi Olympics.”

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