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Metrology Drives Performance Livernois Motorsports

By November 16, 2022December 6th, 2022Case Studies

Metrology Drives Performance3D Metrology Software, Training and CMMs

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.

3D Metrology Software, Training and CMMs

LME Ford Mustang GT 5.0L has been tuned and modified with a 3.0L Twin Screw Supercharger; it makes just over 700 Horsepower.

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.

3D Metrology Software, Training and CMMs

Chevy block waiting for ported cylinder heads to be installed and tested.

“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.”

3D Metrology Software, Training and CMMs

This is the ultimate street car equipped with a Livernois 427 LT1, Livernois Powerstorm race reries heads, nitrous, direct injection, and tune port injection.

3D CAD

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.

Reverse Engineering

“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.

3D Metrology Software, Training and CMMs

Dodge Hellcat Challenger on a Livernois chassis dyno checking tuning results, including port tuning, supercharger modifications, e85 fuel mix, and e85 injectors.

“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

3D Metrology Software, Training and CMMs

In this example a combustion chamber is being measured for reverse engineering. The as-built 3D CAD model will be used to perform design enhancements, increasing fuel-air flow, and horsepower. Non-contact laser scanning is being used due to the complex surface profile of the chamber, which also has a lot of dynamic transitions. Modeling clay is placed around the chamber where it meets the deck. This is done to assist with post-scan design to reduce clean-up and to maintain a sharp edge that is square with the deck.


3D Metrology Software, Training and CMMs

Contact probing is used to reach into the head to collect accurate measurements of the valve seat and the bowl side of the port. Both scan data and probe data are used collectively to create a single 3D CAD model.


3D Metrology Software, Training and CMMs

Probing is once again used to capture internal geometry from the open side of the port. A variety of probe lengths provide the flexibility to reach well within the port, measuring its entire internal profile.


3D Metrology Software, Training and CMMs

Both non-contact scan data and contact probe data are collected by Verisurf Software and presented as point clouds, ready for refinement and conversation to mesh models.


3D Metrology Software, Training and CMMs

Verisurf Software has tools to expedite cleanup of any over-scan data and any other erroneous data. The software then converts the point cloud to a watertight mesh that presents smooth geometry and can be used to check the flowlines of all features.


3D Metrology Software, Training and CMMs

The mesh model is then output to Verisurf Quick Surface, which is used to create a high precision finished surface model that will be used to program efficient machine tool pathing.


3D Metrology Software, Training and CMMs

The post Quick Surface model is opened once again in Verisurf for conversion to an intelligent 3D CAD model. The final CAD model is then output to Mastercam to generate the final CNC file for machining.


3D Metrology Software, Training and CMMs

Toolpath backplotting within Mastercam software illustrates the actual machining toolpath prior to cutting the parts. This image is showing the Mastercam backplot looking at the combustion chamber from the bottom deck of the head. Notice the two alignment points, which align with the dowel pins used for the installation of the head to the engine block. The machining mill plate uses the same dowel pins for machine alignment.


3D Metrology Software, Training and CMMs

Hurco machine tools are used primarily for cylinder head port machining due to its 5-axis capabilities. TCP (tool center point) is an advanced Hurco feature that allows the work coordinate system to move dynamically. This helps the machine tool stay in close reference to the CAD model and makes it easier to program.


3D Metrology Software, Training and CMMs

Close-up of machining intake ports of the L-92LS cylinder head. All 5-axes are moving at the same time. Note: mill plate has receivers for the dowel pins for alignment.

Contributors:

Livernois Motorsports and Engineering
https://www.livernoismotorsports.com

Verisurf Software, Inc.
https://www.verisurf.com/hardware/master3dgage/perfpack

RMC Engine Rebuilding Equipment, Inc.
https://rmcengine.com