Lightweight Frame

DEP proud partners of the LIGHTWEIGHT VEHICLE FRAME development team of Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center

May 16, 2018

DEP, working with Dynamic Corvettes, produced all CAD models and performed the finite element (FE) analysis for an innovative lightweight aftermarket car frame. The frame was unveiled by The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center at the SAE’s World Congress Experience (WCX) event in Detroit, MI.

The project was conceived and led by Gregg Peterson, the Center’s principal materials engineer, who was instrumental in technology transfer with NASA—successfully adapting software from the aerospace industry to automotive. A number of organizations were also involved, including: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT), the University of Tennessee – Center for Industrial Services Institute for Public Service, and the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI).

Due to the wide demand for lightweight frames in the custom car market, the goal was to design a lightweight frame that could be easily morphed into virtually any wheelbase, vehicle length and width without requiring additional tooling. This ensures that the frame can be used in a variety of classic and hot rod car builds.

After considering dozens of car body frames to base the project on, the team selected the 1963-67 Corvette (C2 second generation design) due to its overall popularity around the world, being the most desirable body style among classic car aficionados. Dynamic Corvettes based in Saginaw, Michigan, assisted the team in developing specifications for the lightweight replacement frame for the C2 Corvette to ensure it was strong and safe. Detroit Engineered Products, produced all CAD models and performed the finite element (FE) analysis.

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