the art of ruddell





The Speedbirds division of Auto Imagination is devoted to the production of exciting high performance model aircraft. This CAD model for the Blackbird SR71 was based on a laser scan of a kit model, scaled up to the 1.6m length of the model aircraft.


the central manufacturing joint, which mimics the real aircraft, which is also split at this point.

machining from the CAD model at Auto Imagination's in-house CNC facility.

a real aerofoil wing profile had to be incorporated into the design in order to facilitate flight. The actual SR71 wing profiles were simple wedge sections which would not perform below supersonic speeds . . . The precise detailing of the machined master model can be seen here.

the model is produced using a lightweight hollow composite construction of glass/carbon, epoxy, foam sandwich and is powered by ducted fan 68mm Schubeler MiniFans.

Period crash helmets were scanned to provide the correct shapes. The 34 helmets were derivitives of 9 basic helmet styles, which included BELL, Buco, Arai, Lazer and Shoei

in most cases the colour schemes of the helmets were produced by trimmimng back the surfaces to the boundaries of each colour, for example white, blue and yellow. A separate mesh was laid over the surfaces where the logo mapping was required.

while driver's colour schemes tended to stay the same, logo content varied a lot, even in the 70s, sometimes changing every few Grands Prix.

The set of images for the Team Lotus Works Formula One Drivers poster were raytracings based on actual 3D helmet models.

model of the Matra MS10 being used as an underlay for my final drawing of the car, featured in my Matra limited edition print

Vintage Bentley Coupe - starting point: running chassis, original engine and gearbox

after digitising the chassis, bulkhead and radiator, I lay down the design on CAD. Early keypoints are the height and length of the body and the use of Gurney-Nutting-esque slanted louvres, as seen on the Road Train Bentley.

radiator - bonnet - bulkhead blend will determine the style that has to be resolved to the pointed tail.

vehicle is previewed at Race Retro 2016, with the body structure complete. This is the biggest ever print of one of my raytraced images - over 3m long!

a normal Monday morning and a "bit of styling" with 4mm tape, to determine the inner wing profile!!

car nearing completion, the exquisite hand made panel work can be clearly seen here

a return to the old days . . . photoshoot with ex-Jaguar photographer Jim Callaghan, at Junction Eleven Studios

the design intent has been fully realised on the finished car, and beautifully built by VBE Restorations

the famous monolithic Bentley radiator sets off the Coupe, whose highlights testify to the smooth blend we managed to get between the bonnet and the body as it sweeps back to the tail.

Bentley in stealth mode!! Love this shot. It's good to know that Callaghan is still a legend when it comes to photographing cars . . .

nice little re-engineering job for VBE on this beautiful Riley Monza . . .

creating CAD file of the Riley Typography by tracing over period photos of the original badges . .

and then outputting a 3D file for laser cutting . .

checking to see if my new Monza graphics will withstand the rigours of the road on the Gran Premo Nuvolari Rally . .

supporting Procter & Gamble's R&D, I created surface models from laser data supplied. The CAD models were then sewn together and output as solid models for FEA, to check that the bottles would withstand the rigors of the production line.

raytracing was not required for this project but this example shows how the complexity of the internal shape has been designed to create visual interest by the refraction of light through the glass.

during the devlopment of the the Rover 75 estate rear seats I scanned several versions of prototype seats for Faurecia, so that the master CAD model could be kept up to date.

during the design of the Rolls Royce Silver Seraph, and before deciding on a rectractable Spirit of Ecstasy, there was an idea to locate the emblem in a recessed compartment at the top of the grill . . .

I produced a visualisation of this for Rolls Royce, as the radiator was already on CAD. They said " of course we don't expect you to model the statuette itself " . . ha ha . . . no further encouragement needed!

done for Simpact Engineering, the Caterham CSR nosecone. The surface model can be seen passing through the laser scan data. The CSR has a wider nose than the original Caterham 7.

The finished nosecone on a production car.

further work with the Caterham 7, modelling the bodyside and the rear wings, over the factory supplied CAD model of the spaceframe.

the Flashpoint 5000 used to capture the main profiles of a VW Golf. This was done at Autograph GmbH's facilty in Flensburg as a benchmark, prior to them installing their own system for automotive data capture.

1929 very original 4 Litre Bentley: the owner's requirements were a full mechanical rebuild, restoration of the Vanden Plas tourer chassis and body, a re-trim and the replacment of the wings with Gurney Nutting style wings that the car would have originally had.

Scanning the wings of a period correct Blower Bentley for shape reference as the basis for the computer model of the new wings.

the signed off computer model was then output as full size plots and traditional wing bucks constructed

the wings were fabricated out of 18swg aluminium, being fitted over the wing buck and hand formed over shaping tools.

The finished car has won award after award at several Concours d'Elegance events, including the Car Classic 2013 held at the Art Center in Pasadena.

Satisfied customer with the Bentley 4 Litre at the Car Classic 2013 where it won the "Designer's Choice" award.

magazine article in the October 1998 issue of cadd about the Flashpoint 5000 scanning system at Leafield. Using an extended dynamic reference frame we were able to scan a complete XJ220 without having to re-orientate the model.

1921 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost; customer's requirements were new style wings, a different colour scheme and a new lower mounted hood.

During the design of the new wings I was asked "Why does the wing shape remind me of a Jaguar?" Well . . I can't imagine . .

finished vehicle with new hood and tonneau, by VBE Restorations, being put through its paces at a wedding.

to mark the Spirit of Ecstasy Centenary, more than 100 cars joined a celebratory drive around London on February 6th 2011. The cars taking part were carefully selected to represent the long history of the Rolls Royce brand.

Bentley, Napier or any other make of vintage radiator, can be re-engineered to facilitate CNC machining, production drawings or the archiving of 3D shape for reference..