Nissan Engineers Have Fun With Clay Modeling

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Nissan Engineers Have Fun With Clay Modeling

There is a clay modeling studio at the Nissan Technical Center in Japan where the sky’s the limit when it comes to designing vehicles.
The reality of a car doesn’t happen until is can sit on the land. Until this moment it is at the mercy of designers and modelers. The job of the modeler is to interpret the ideas and to create the curves and angles of the new vehicle.
This process first started with a number of quarter-sized models in clay, illustrating different design options and directions. Each is considered and eliminated or approved, through a process of meetings, until the best are left to be produced full-size in clay.
Hiroshi Kato and Naoki Maekawa worked on the all-new Nissan Note. “I’m really proud to see the model on the road,” said Maekawa. “If the person who rides in the model looks comfortable, it’s really good.”
Automobile manufacturers have been working with clay for decades, but now digital and clay modelers work side by side. As the shapes are created on a computer screen, they are simultaneously produced in clay, turning a graphic into an object that can be felt and examined.
There are many hours and days of work put in before the final touches can be put on the completed model. It is wrapped in a special plastic sheeting, covering the clay and making it look like painted metal. This model is so life-like that if it was placed in a car park no one would look twice.
“There are two types of clay modelers here,” said Maekawa. “One type is an engineer and one type is a sculptor. A sculptor can make it cool. I want to become a sculptor, I’m trying.” Creating a car is like art. It takes skill, time and inspiration.
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