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Popularized by programs such as ESPN's X-Games, extreme sports such as street luge, downhill skateboarding and the likes have been beamed into the living rooms of millions of television viewer's world wide over the last couple of years.
Jarret "Dr. GoFast" Ewanek is a veteran ESPN X-Games street luge competitor. Dr. GoFast, a degreed Aerospace Engineer and owner of Dr. GoFast's hi speed gear is not only a top ranked street luge racer, but also indisputably the king of extreme sports technology.
Pushing the desktop engineering envelope to the max, Ewanek accomplished a very brave and rewarding task using leading edge CAE technology.
It was at the 1998 Red Bull Streets of San Francisco street luge race that Ewanek amazed all in attendance by debuting his latest technological piece of wizardry and then going on to dominate the competition. Never before in the 20 year history of the sport has anybody been able to successfully design and build a full function rear suspension system for a street luge.
Although the suspension system that Ewanek used had hundreds of hours of design, simulation and testing, it had never seen the pavement prior to the first practice run of the day.
"I wanted to prove that using strictly computer aided engineering (CAE) technology, a design concept could be fully developed and immediately put into use without any physical prototyping or testing whatsoever.
" He did just that! Risking his life on the treacherous street course that contained several flight inducing jumps, he not only proved that his revolutionary suspension system would change the future of the sport, but did so on the first run down the hill.
Ewanek systematically approached the problem by assessing the CAE tools that were accessible and maximizing their strengths to obtain critical data that would not be possible with physical testing.
Using Autodesk's Mechanical Desktop 3.0, Dr. GoFast created parametric solid models and assemblies of all the basic components in his initial design concept.
This complete virtual street luge was brought into MSC.Working Knowledge's Working Model Motion software for initial kinematic analysis.
Using TOPO software, Ewanek was able to obtain accurate topographical data of the San Francisco race course.
This data was brought into Mechanical Desktop to model a full scale virtual hill including the feared jumps. A series of iterative simulations were set up inside of Working Model Motion which allowed Ewanek to take a virtual ride down the hill weeks before the other competitors even saw the hill.
These virtual rides allowed Ewanek to collect valuable test data such as dynamic weight distribution, real time forces, speeds, and even how far through the air he would fly off the jumps. Analyzing this data, Ewanek was able to perfect the design of the whole rear suspension system, aided by the convenience of Mechanical Desktop's parametric capabilities.
Although he has probably rewritten the books on street luge design, Ewanek is still looking at pushing the envelope further.
Ewanek is now working on the design of a full blown front and rear suspension street luge for the high profile 1999 competition. In a world where pushing things to the Xtreme is the norm, Ewanek has proven that there are no limits to the forefront of technology.