How to Make a Car Body with Autodesk

Ever want to build a car from scratch or in this case scrap?  The Autodesk Rallier Roadster project was just that, it was our way to take an old Citroen 2CV and turn it into a new affordable roadster. To do this we wanted to figure out how to add some complex curves while continue to build on our metal craft skills.

The form of the car was created in a free design software called 123D Design and then placed into 123D Make. With 123D Make you can slice up your model into flat vectors that we then used to cut the skeleton of the car out of the water jet. You could easily use this same process for making custom RC cars or turning your parents Prius into the next Maker Monster Machine.

You can learn more about designing your own custom car using 123D Design and 123D Make through the steps below. You can also learn more or start building your own car at m.

4. Use the sketch tools to create your car body

5. Use the Loft tool to create the rough shape of our car body

7. To use your cut sketches create a closed sketch and hide the car chassis

8. Add all your other features or tweak the body as needed.

10. Select your materials in 123D Make

11. Choose the construction technique

If you dont have the app, go to and download 123D Design and Make for your desktop. Open up 123D Design.

You can download a model of your car from Thing I verse, GrabCAD or event directly from 123D. In this case we used a Citroen 2CV downloaded from GrabCAD.

Select the body of the Citroen 2CV and delete it by selecting the car body and pressing the delete key on your keyboard.

Use the sketching tools to create your car body. You will make your first sketch on the grid below the car and use the move tool to place it upright and in position. You can either Copy, Paste and Scale that sketch to make your other contours or you can drawn new sketches and move them into place.

Select all the sketches and then select that little gear button that pops up. On the gear menu select the Loft Tool. The loft tool will create the rough shape of your car body and now you need trim it down.

To trim the car body I create what I call cut sketches, these are shapes that I use to help shape my car body. Remember that they have to be closed sketches. Once created I recommend trying it and using the undo button until it looks correct and then pull it the other direction

Once hidden, select your sketch and use the Extrude command from the gear menu. Use the arrow to pull your extrusion through your car body. Then select the sketch again and repeat going in the opposite direction.

Once completed, select the body and move your cursor to the far right of the pop up menu where is says send to Make.

In 123D Make you can select from a variety of materials or make your own depending on what fabrication method you are creating in. We used the Water Jet at TechShop SF so I preset my materials to the size of our sheets of steel.

The construction technique that you will choose is interlocked slices. This will provide you with the ribs that you need to stretch, bang or bend your material over. When you are satisfied, select Get Plans and then the real work begins!

In making the Rallier, once we had the ribs we bent our Aluminum over the skeleton frame that we welded on to the Chasis. We used pop rivets to keep the body panels in place and then leather straps to hold our hood down and keep a old world feel to the car. Good luck and happy motoring.

Jesse Harrington Au is a 14-year veteran of using CAD for engineering, character development, and animation. Jesse speaks, blogs, writes curriculum, gives workshops, and makes creations of all kinds through his work with Autodesk. Jesse has created amazing interactive designs for clients of all sizes including the Exploratorium, Resident Evil Studios, Mathalete and Catapult design. He has also given groundbreaking workshops such as en-light-enment, which focused on introducing the idea of pedal power technology as a teaching platform at the Future of Energy Leadership Conference in Pristina, Kosovo.3D CAD with Autodesk123Dis his first book.

You can share your 3D printable designs from this project on upload photos and embed YouTube videos to showcase your work.

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