Jun 29, 2011

Autodesk Software Helps Carousel Works Bring Back Magic of Wooden Carousels

Autodesk, Inc, has named Carousel Works as the Autodesk Inventor of the Month for June, recognizing the company’s use of Autodesk 3D mechanical design and visualization software to create custom wooden carousels. Carousel Works brings the highest quality of craftsmanship and attention to detail to its old-world designs.

The only company in the world that carves and paints wooden carousels by hand — most companies rely on mass manufactured fiberglass or steel components — Carousel Works is reviving a tradition nearly a century old, and is the first company to design and manufacture wooden carousels since the 1930s. Bringing modern technology into the mix, Carousel Works estimates that Autodesk software helps reduce the time required to complete a carousel by nearly 50 percent.

“Each carousel manufactured by Carousel Works is a completely custom job,” said company co-founder Art Ritchie. “Autodesk Inventor software unlocks my imagination and makes it easy for me to create designs that have never been built before, and then share my vision with the customer. Letting the customer see exactly what the finished product will look like brings everyone peace of mind.”

Since its first carousel project in 1991, Carousel Works has successfully delivered more than 45 custom-made wooden carousels to zoos, parks and even Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, which recently installed carousels on the boardwalks of the “Oasis of the Seas” and “Allure of the Seas” cruise liners, the world’s largest cruise ships. Carousel Works offers customers a choice of more than 160 animal, insect and reptile figures — ranging from sea turtles to panda bears — resulting in a unique finished product.

3D Simplifies Design, Communicates Vision to Customers

Autodesk Product Design Suite, supplied by Autodesk partner IMAGINiT Technologies, helps Carousel Works with nearly every aspect of carousel construction. Inventor 3D mechanical design software plays a critical role in designing the structural framework of the carousel, as well as the mechanical systems that power it. Autodesk Mudbox software provides a digital sculpting environment that assists in the creation of the hand-carved animal figures, some of them as much as seven-feet tall.

The company uses Autodesk 3ds Max Design software to create realistic 3D animations and renderings that vividly illustrate what the carousel will look like when it is fully operational. These images are particularly useful as fundraising tools for projects requiring private funding, and for securing project approval from local stakeholders.

“By using Digital Prototyping to address its entire product design workflow, Carousel Works is simultaneously benefitting itself and its customers,” said Robert “Buzz” Kross, senior vice president, Manufacturing Industry Group at Autodesk. “It is a terrific example of how a manufacturing company can stay rooted in a glorious tradition while fully embracing the future.”