Metrology Drives Performance
at Livernois Motorsports & Engineering
By Nick Merrell, Verisurf Software, Inc.
Livernois Motorsports & Engineering, Dearborn Heights, MI, provides engineering services, performance products, and niche vehicle design and manufacturing to the OEM and aftermarket automotive industry. Throughout the process of providing custom manufactured performance parts, service, and tuning, Livernois combines traditional experience and know-how with advanced measurement solutions from Verisurf Software, Anaheim, CA to maximize the performance, form, and fit of every build.
Today, high-performance engines and engine components apply to a broad spectrum of vehicles, everything from modified OEM designs, retrofit street mods, and road racers, to dragsters, off-road buggies, trucks, and more. The path to increased engine performance varies depending on the builder, budget, and expectations for the finished product, but one thing is for sure, high-precision, and high-performance go hand-in-hand. OEMs, performance shops, racing teams, and DIYers are all in search of more horsepower, usually from an existing platform.
Livernois is in the business of increasing performance in street-legal vehicles, increasing the efficiency and flow of fuel and air, without compromising durability. This emphasizes the need to be precise in their designs, manufacturing, and testing to ensure compliance with EPA regulations. Livernois performance engine products and services include custom porting and CNC machining to finish parts; custom performance component design and manufacturing; cylinder accessories; engine accessories; performance component packages for stock engine brands; full-service machining for cylinders, heads, and blocks; block tear-down and assembly; full engine modifications and re-builds; new engine design/builds.
“At Livernois, we specialize in late model Ford, GM, and Chrysler performance parts, with many of our mods coming right from the factory. In part, this is why we are in Dearborn, the heart of U.S. auto manufacturing,” said Dan Millen, President, and CEO of Livernois.
Performance engine designers/builders, like Livernois Motorsports, are turning to advancements in metrology to help increase horsepower, improve component designs, and make everything fit in the process. Livernois worked closely with Verisurf dealer, RMC Engine Rebuilding, Inc., Saginaw, MI, for a flexible measurement solution to meet their various needs. Verisurf software is a multi-capable, purpose-built measurement platform designed for engine builders to reverse engineer as-built components. The software applies Model Based Definition (MBD) to create intelligent CAD models that serve as the authority for design, manufacturing, and quality verification of finished parts. The measurement solution is also used to assess space requirements and help design mounting brackets and other fixtures.
Verisurf is built on the Mastercam platform and when initiated, appears on the Mastercam ribbon toolbar menu. Verisurf CMM software is also compatible with all other popular CAD software and drives all portable and fixed CMM hardware devices.
“We selected Verisurf software to drive a Hexagon Absolute Arm with RS-6 scanner attachment used to capture measurement points. The CMM can capture individual measurements in probe mode, or a complex surface area using the scanner. The measurement data is saved directly to the software for analysis and processing, depending on the project at hand,” said Grant Rathwell, CAD/CAM, and Machine Operator at Livernois. “We view the whole solution as a flexible and powerful measurement tool, one that we are finding new uses for all the time.”
The key to the repeatable performance of a given design component lies within a 3D CAD model using Model-Based Definition (MBD). When incorporating MBD the 3D CAD model contains all the detailed information necessary to produce and reproduce a part. This includes everything from design and manufacturing to quality inspection. In the end, the 3D CAD model is the design authority, containing all data to reproduce the part, through inspection. Essentially, a virtual golden part. If you are lucky enough to start off your project with an accurate 3D model, great, but that is rarely the case, especially when comes to mods.
“When you do not have MBD data to start with you must create it. A perfect example is tuning, which is about 75% of what we use reverse engineering for at Livernois,” said Rathwell. This includes maximizing the performance of the cylinder surface, combustion chamber, intake flange, intake valve, exhaust flange, exhaust valve, intake and exhaust runners, supercharger, and turbocharger inlets. “Castings are not perfect, and some are worse than others. Identifying flaws and maximizing flow can make a big difference in performance. Some of the things we look at when tuning to improve performance include, unshrouding the valve while staying within the fire ring, checking clearances within chambers, checking runners to the short turn to the bowl, and cleaning up areas where it meets the seat, smooth out valve seats, and adjusting seat angles. Reverse engineering is also helpful for machining reference, determining whether the tool should come in from the bowl side or the runner side,” added Rathwell.
Livernois uses the Verisurf Performance Engine Builder Suite that includes CAD, Measure, Reverse, and Quick Surface modules to quickly reverse engineer as-built artifacts into CAD models for design modification. “For our typical porting applications, we go directly from a scan to a point cloud to a mesh, and right into Quick Surface for design. The quality of the surfaces is good, and when we need to export the file, it does not bog down. Plus, the overall process has reduced our port design time by 75%,” said Rathwell. “Using Verisurf we can teach technicians with little to no CAD experience, how to reverse engineer,” added Rathwell. The Verisurf Quick Surface is an application that allows port designers to quickly modify complex surface geometry and create high-speed toolpaths for machining. Livernois performs the whole tuning process, from reverse engineering to design, and machining in-house.
Making it Fit
Quite often the biggest challenge with engine mods is making everything fit under the hood. Livernois uses Verisurf software to measure, design, and build pulley brackets, accessory brackets, custom valve covers, and even best fit analysis for turbo inlets. “You never know what you will come up against, sometimes we need to change a hole to a bracket or create a clean way to install a modified fuel pump assembly. The flexibility of the measurement software lets us do only what we need,” said Millen.
“We take great pride in offering unparalleled service and top-quality automotive performance products and accessories at the best prices possible. Without innovation and the use of technology this would be a difficult promise to keep,” said Millen. In addition to their online store and retail showroom, Livernois can install everything they sell at their 36,000sqft facility in Dearborn. The manufacturing and service facility features fifteen vehicle hoists, chassis dynamometers – all-wheel drive and portable 2-wheel drive, engine dynamometer, full engine machine shop, engine build department, private label, and custom product manufacturing, cylinder head development center, flow benches (600/1020), CNC machining centers, and complete fabrication shop.
Port Tuning Workflow
Livernois Motorsports and Engineering
Verisurf Software, Inc.
RMC Engine Rebuilding Equipment, Inc.