More than just a watch: James Bond and SOLIDWORKS

If you've ever seen a James Bond movie, then you're going to be familiar with 007's extensive array of gadgets and vehicles.

Since the 1960s, the amazing tools and machines developed by Q Branch have carved out a place in popular culture – as well as the minds of designers and engineers across the globe.

But while these gadgets have only ever been confined to the silver screen, new methods of design and manufacturing are fast making it possible to actually bring such creations into the real world, and test them extensively beforehand.

How would you go about designing a grappling hook in SOLIDWORKS?

Let's take a look at how you could design famous 007 gadgets using powerful CAD software.

Scaling mountains

Grappling hooks have long been a staple of spy movies – especially James Bond. So how would you go about designing one of these gadgets to take the weight of a person?

To start off, you'd need to work out the basic design; where the hooks would sit and whether or not they need to be serrated. Then, you'd take the preliminary hook through simulation. Using the simulation add-on for SOLIDWORKS, you'd be able to see how the grappling hook would take various loads. You could then adjust the design accordingly.

You could also test how the hook would perform using different materials – crucial for a gadget that needs to suspend a secret agent as they dangle over a precipice!

The watch is not enough

The explosive watch in Spectre was certainly one of the gadget highlights in this most recent James Bond film, but there have been even more amazing watch gadgets in past Bond films.

In Live and Let Die, for example, Bond uses a Rolex Submariner featuring an electromagnet powerful enough to deflect a bullet. A spinning bezel also allows the watch to function as a saw to cut through rope.

Designing such a watch would be relatively straightforward in SOLIDWORKS. Firstly, you could easily view the underlying mechanical components of the watch to see how the various gears would fit together. Then, when adding the additional gadgets, you could rapidly produce a number of prototypes to find the best design.

With SOLIDWORKS, you could also produce a better watch than what Q could manufacture in a lab. Simulation can show you how the different parts would react to extreme temperatures and forces.

Subsea driving

Lastly, there's the famous 'Nellie' – the Lotus Esprit capable of driving like a sports car on land, but transforming into a submarine when it hits the water.

Designing a car capable of heading underwater is certainly a more challenging prospect than designing a grappling hook or a watch, but the technology is available to make the task as easy as possible.

Designing James Bond gadgets in SOLIDWORKS is certainly possible.Designing James Bond gadgets in SOLIDWORKS is certainly possible.

If you were planning to convert an existing vehicle, then you'd start by importing a model of the car into SOLIDWORKS, or creating a replica. Then, you would take a look at the body to see where waterproofing improvements could be made. Such a task would likely require testing a number of different materials.

Finally, you'd have to design the physical components to ensure the car could transform underwater. You likely wouldn't be able to achieve the streamlined look seen in the film, but you'd definitely have a product capable of performing underwater!

Most SOLIDWORKS users won't set out to use the software to design submarine cars or mountain-scaling grappling hooks, but the functionality is there. Now that everyone can finally access powerful CAD software on laptops and desktops, it's easy to take an idea from concept through to finished product in a short space of time.

Who knows what Q would have been able to design if he'd had access to a tool like SOLIDWORKS?