Through our own extensive R&D programme, we have discovered that mannequins are essential to extracting marginal gains.
When using an athlete, the repeatability in the wind tunnel can be significantly worse than the effect you are trying to detect. For example, determining whether the best seam position (A vs. B) may not be statistically visible without many days of testing in the wind tunnel due to the inherent noise of athlete testing.
Unfortunately, athletes are not robots and they are, despite all best endeavours, notoriously unrepeatable. A life-size mannequin on the other hand, doesn’t get tired, grumpy or cold, and can keep testing all day long with minimal fuss and maximum repeatability.
You have to accept that this is not a ‘real rider’, but as part of a large programme we feel it is the best way to extract repeatable performance. In the past we have had mannequins made from machined foam, but the solution chosen after extensive testing, was to 3D print them. The advantage is that a mannequin can be made quickly and affordably.
Our 3D printed mannequins are designed to be easily assembled and disassembled, whilst providing a robust and repeatable solution.
Our mannequins are constructed utilising Vorteq’s 12 large 3D printers. This allows us to print the parts of the mannequin in parallel, minimising the turnaround time for our customers.
A range of surface finishes are possible, but our preference, for maximum repeatability in the tunnel, is to leave a slightly rough finish.