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Girl Gang Garage: Custom Car Rebuilds + 3D Scanning + 3D Printing

Girl Gang Garage: Custom Car Rebuilds + 3D Scanning + 3D Printing


What do you get when you cross a 1961 Volvo PV544 retro-look car with a sleek 2019 Volvo S60 T8 Polestar Engineered sedan – and why would you ever do that?

You get a custom head-turner hybrid vehicle designed to get people talking, especially about women in automotive trades. That’s because this blended vehicle project is being disassembled, redesigned and rebuilt by an all-female team based at Girl Gang Garage in Phoenix Arizona.

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Bogi Lateiner and Shawnda Williams, co-owners of Girl Gang Garage, stand next to the stripped-down body of a 1961 Volvo PV544 that will soon be retrofitted on the chassis of a brand-new 2019 Volvo S60 T8 Polestar Engineered sedan. The rebuild project provides a rare hands-on learning opportunity for women of all ages and skill levels, from around the U.S., to come and learn (or improve) skills in welding, cutting, transmission work, body repair/painting, electronics, upholstery and more. (Image courtesy Girl Gang Garage.)

Girl Gang Garage founder and co-owner, Bogi Lateiner, TV host of Motortrend’s All Girls Garage and Garage Squad shows, is well on the way to transforming these vehicles as the third major public project she has undertaken. Along with co-owner Shawnda Williams, Lateiner offers women of all ages, experiences and skill levels the chance to lend a hand, learn a tool, and possibly discover a new career-path in the automotive trades.

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The front showroom of Girl Gang Garage (Phoenix AZ). At the left is the group’s second all-female build dubbed High Yellow 56, displayed at the 2019 SEMA Show. Partially hidden in the center is the first (2017) Girl Gang build, the Chevy Montage with its BMW engine, and at the right is the early-stage PV544 rebuild slated for showing at the 2023 SEMA Show. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)

Lateiner and Williams apply well-honed old-school skills but have been increasingly interested in the possibilities offered by today’s digital workflow. That’s why early in 2021, after conversations with the fellow re-build team at Kindig-It Custom Car Fabrication, Lateiner reached out to Chris Strong with Rapid Scan 3D to see how they might work together to incorporate 3D scanning into their project 

The team at Rapid Scan 3D including Chris Strong, 3D Scanning Specialist and Hayati Dirim, Lead Application Engineer were immediately onboard with the chance to help Girl Gang Garage move into the digital world while widening their circle of women with automotive skills and interests. Rapid Scan 3D was able to utilize 3D scanning data from the original vehicle and Reverse Engineer the front end using class leading software Geomagic Design X from Oqton.   Hayati was able to take the CAD data deliver a CAD ready surface model to the team at All Girl Garage.  

A Virtual Team and a Digital Workflow

One of the amazing parts of this build is that included members of Women in 3D Printing offered to coordinate many of the publicity efforts and even sponsor a related design competition targeted at young women in high schools and colleges who are learning CAD skills. (More on that to come.)

During the first few Zoom meetings that introduced Lateiner and Williams to the technical capabilities of the different team members and the printer, the basic rebuild plan was presented: strip the PV544 down to bare metal (removing every mechanical and electrical component), disassemble the S60 down to the chassis, engine, drive-train and hybrid motor system, and figure out how to make the two sections fit!

Traditionally, that workflow depended strictly on the classic tools of the trade, from cutting wheels and a Sawzall to hand-grinders and pneumatic drills. Those components are still coming into play on the current project under the skilled eye of the Girl Gang Garage leaders, but now complementary digital processes are being added.

It Starts with Scanning

3D Scan Data (Image courtesy Rapid Scan 3D)


Surfaced / CAD Data inside Geomagic Design X
(Image courtesy Rapid Scan 3D)

The scan data, if exported as an STL file, could be sent directly to a surfacing package such as Geomagic Design X.  This software tools let users convert the STL mesh into an IGES surface, which can then be brought into a CAD package as the basis for a new solid model.

Scanning has many other purposes and capabilities. If CAD data were available for the actual vehicle, those files could be imported, overlaid on the captured data, and compared, alerting the user to deviations between intended and actual dimensions – a very common use in Geomagic Design X and Control X.

Next Steps

Every Thursday through Sunday, volunteer women come to Girl Gang Garage and learn to use cutting tools, welders, sanders and more, making daily progress toward the completed hybrid PV544. (All women are invited to come help and learn, at no cost – just sign up to get involved and get yourself to Phoenix.) Here are a few glimpses into the work as of early April – much more has been done but stay tuned for the next blog post as we show off elements of the S60 sedan, scan data being used for reference, and details of the design contest.

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Views of the PV544 Volvo with work underway on a rear fender, with Bogi Lateiner in her Girl Gang Garage location). (Images courtesy PADT Inc.)

Let's see the results.  

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Resized, reupholstered dashboard of Girl Gang Garage’s Iron Maven Volvo custom car-rebuild project. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)
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The Iron Maven at SEMA 2022; note the re-used S60 sunroof and hybrid charging-port (front left fender). (Image courtesy Anne Pauley)
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The Iron Maven at SEMA 2022, showing the packed engine compartment, extended fenders, new headlamps and cool grill. (Image courtesy Anne Pauley.)

IMG 7074Bogi Lateiner and Anne Pauley at SEMA 2022. (Image courtesy Anne Pauley.)Girl Gang GarageThe mission of Girl Gang Garage is to elevate, encourage, and champion women’s entry and advancement within the automotive & skilled trade industries. Inspire women to discover and build confidence in their own talents, remove barriers, and provide a safe, supportive environment to explore opportunities within the welding, automotive service/repair, paint, and body industries.www.