Why do car manufacturers still make clay models?

Why do car manufacturers still make clay models?  - Photo 1.

Car production is indispensable for clay models – Photo: Carscoops

The clay model is essentially a “car” with a steel frame and “flesh” of thick clay. A clay model can cost $20,000 in materials and take several years to complete.

Theo Car Insider, digital technology can make artists look like they are creating a 3D image, but in reality it is just a 2D image presented in 3D space. To a certain extent, the real 3D design, which here is the clay model, can be seen, touched and deeply felt.

Why do car manufacturers still make clay models?  - Photo 2.

Computer modeling is not enough… 3D – Photo: Data Respons

Clay models are also more realistic. A beautiful design in the digital world can be ugly, distorted when turned into a real thing. In contrast, clay is malleable, moldable, shaping, and smoothing, which can create the car’s appearance as it really is.

Why do car manufacturers still make clay models?  - Photo 3.

The computer model is not realistic enough – Photo: Car Insider

Clay allows designers and engineers to make the necessary changes quickly, sometimes as little as a few millimeters, without the need for many precise drawings and sketches.

This is especially useful in wind tunnels, which are used to test the aerodynamics of vehicle designs. Even a small change can affect aerodynamic efficiency. Meanwhile, renting a wind tunnel can cost thousands of dollars per hour, so a method of rapidly changing objects is needed for testing. Not only does modeling clay allow it to be done easily, but it can also be altered in extreme detail with a sophistication that computers cannot match.

Why do car manufacturers still make clay models?  - Photo 4.

The clay model is easier to adjust – Photo: Business Insider

Finally, having a real-world model helps to better visualize what the car will look like in natural light. The car spends most of its time on the road and outdoors, so it needs to pass the test in the sun.

Why do car manufacturers still make clay models?  - Photo 5.

Only clay models can be tested under natural light – Photo: Chicago Tribune

Nowadays, people use both clay and digital models in car design. It can cost the equivalent of a super luxury car (hundreds of thousands of dollars) to complete and modify the clay model, but it’s still an essential part of the design process and will probably last for many years to come. .

“Even if digital technology makes car design less labor intensive, only human-finished clay models can help automakers achieve what they are aiming for. “- Business Insider conclusion.

Why do car manufacturers still make clay models?  - Photo 7.

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