# Thread: Optimum Kinematics Import Tool

1. ## Optimum Kinematics Import Tool

Hey guys! Hopefully you all are well.

My name is Derek and I am one of the suspension designers this year at Clemson Formula SAE. This year we decided to improve our design
process by implementing the use of multiple simulation software programs for our suspension and Optimum Kinematics was one of these programs.

My question is to you all who have used this program, and particularly towards Claude Rouelle. In order to begin to use Optimum Kinematics,
OK for short, there must first be a suspension designed, of course. So, in order to import said suspension into OK you must go point by point or import
a Microsoft Excel sheet with the points. This is where my trouble lies because it takes about 30 minutes to an hour to export and then import the points into
OK, and I feel as though there should be a better solution to this.

My solution, thus far, has been to begin to develop an Autohotkey, AHK for short, macro that will take my points from Solidworks and import them into
OK. Even though I'm almost finished with the AHK script, I'm curious as to what some other solutions to this problem are. I could never figure out how
to import the Microsoft Excel points into OK, which is the reason for the AHK macro development.

Has anyone been successful with the Microsoft Excel import into AHK and be willing to share that information?

Thank you for your time and assistance with this; it is greatly appreciated! Good luck to everyone this season!

Best,

Derek
Clemson Formula SAE

2. I've been doing it point by point. You can use a macro like this one, but then you still have to filter through what point is what, etc. I haven't found a better solution yet but I haven't really been looking.

3. ## Read the user manual

When it is about any software efficient use there are 2 rules
1. You can't use the software efficiently unless you read the complete user manual
2. Nobody read the bloody user manual

Seems you proved rule 2

You can import and export any input (suspension points coordinates, heave, roll, pitch, steering or combinations of 2 or more of these motions, etc..,) or output to or from an Excel spreadsheet. That Excel spreadsheet format is already included in Optimum Kinematics package.
Now, nothing prevent you to make an automatic macro between OptimumKinematics spreadsheet and yours or between your SolidWorks or Catia coordinates and the OptimumKinematics spreadsheet as an pre-simulation step.

Hope this helps.

In any case, please know that you can always ask your questions directly to OptimumG staff and in most of the case you will have an answer within 24 hours

4. You can of course also consider using a suspension tool in excel. As many FSAE teams do. www.dynatune-xl.com

5. One thing you should note is that OptimumK imports from the first sheet in the excel spreadsheet. As long as you don't tamper with where things are and so on you can add as many sheets following that first sheet as you like.

You may want to explore is to use following sheets to calculate points based off other inputs, turning a spreadsheet that can quickly create new iterations to analyse. You can also do calculations on link loads in this same file.

The OptimumK files don't keep any permanent link to a spreadsheet used for importing. Once you have imported the points then you can change the spreadsheet without any alteration to the OK files.

...

As a side note this import/export was originally added as a way to speed up the typical design process. When looking at the kinematics of existing vehicles there is either pre-existing data, or you go ahead and measure it (lots of fun). Then you spend time in the kinematics program figuring out what is happening. However in FSAE/Student you spend much more time designing. When designing you rarely think in coordinates, and instead in more relevant design parameters. In addition to that the design process is highly iterative, while the analysis of pre-exisiting suspension systems is not. The excel import was added so you could access alternative geometry creation methods. This spreadsheet could also directly be used as input for CAD software

I would keep in mind that OptimumK is a suspension kinematics analysis tool, not a suspension geometry creation tool. The second is significantly harder to code, especially with the problem of creating decent user interfaces. Programming something as a series of discrete steps the user might take is relatively simple, but allowing a user to create as they wish to create is significantly more difficult. It also comes with a cost. Generally the more open ended a program is the less capable it is at solving a particular problem quickly. I am sure you are aware that there is absolutely nothing that OptimumK can achieve that can't be done with a CAD program like Solidworks. However the more general CAD solution takes more time to iterate and compare solutions (without a lot of setup work).

Kev

6. Most of the suspension/vehicle software (I have used) is geared for analysis rather than design.

One of the most valuable things I ever did was to invest the time in an excel model which calculates your Z coordinates of your chassis pickup points based on your desired roll centre height, camber gain, bumpsteer, anti-X in braking and anti-X in acceleration.

I added a wheel travel simulation to it and it's become my #1 development tool for new suspensions and also to understand the kinematics of existing suspensions.

I think susprog3D had a similar thing in it too - which is more a design rather than analysis package.

7. Originally Posted by Claude Rouelle
When it is about any software efficient use there are 2 rules
1. You can't use the software efficiently unless you read the complete user manual
2. Nobody read the bloody user manual
You forgot the 3rd. sometimes the UI just plain sucks. plenty software out there that is horribly inefficient.

8. The UI of any serious engineering tool is always a disaster - get used to it. You can't assume industrial tools will work like your iPod.

I've noticed a pretty strong inversely proportional relationship between the quality of a sotware tool and it's interface. In other words - the better the interface the worse the model and vice versa. It's why I worry when I see a flashy GUI attached to a new piece of software - it's usually a sign of a polished turd.

9. Originally Posted by Tim.Wright
The UI of any serious engineering tool is always a disaster - get used to it. You can't assume industrial tools will work like your iPod.

I've noticed a pretty strong inversely proportional relationship between the quality of a sotware tool and it's interface. In other words - the better the interface the worse the model and vice versa. It's why I worry when I see a flashy GUI attached to a new piece of software - it's usually a sign of a polished turd.
This. All day long...!

Ben

10. ## GUI GUIDE-ance

That's why I write my own wrappers around analysis programs that can be run under Matlab control. Very easy with the GUIDE Tool. I then get control and processing done my way.