15 Replies Latest reply on Jun 30, 2010 3:50 PM by Anna Wood

    Aircraft Wing Designing ...

    Walter Perko

      Hi,


      I'm still a little new to SolidWorks but I'm wondering why there isn't a NACA tool for general aircraft wing designing ...


      My approach is to sketch a wing shape from a top view of the wing ... then I'd expect there would be a NACA/Airfoil tool that would have me identify the wing root, the wing tip, the front and trailing edges of the wing ... then ask for me to choose from a NACA list of wing designs to create a nice smooth wing surface that I can later cut into panels or assemble to a full aircraft view ...


      Although this maybe not ideal for general or commercial airfcraft I'm sure hobbyist would love to explore new R/C and model aircraft designs for possible consumer products and their own home hobbies. 


      Are there any other thoughts on this? 

       

       

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        • Re: Aircraft Wing Designing ...
          Jerry Steiger

          Walt,

           

          SolidWorks is a general mechanical design tool. They've never made any attempt at all that I can see to aim the product at the aircraft market. A few people use SW for aircraft design and they can be found complaining here about how it is a bit of a stretch to get it to work for them.

           

          They have some tools for making curves from imported data. You could probably use that to generate wing profiles. Whether they will be accurate enough is another question.

           

          Given a profile, a simple rectangular wing should be a piece of cake, just an extrusion. A simply tapered wing might not be too hard. A sweep might not work very well. Lofting might be easier. Putting in some twist will make it a bit harder. Doing a nice elliptical wing, like a Spitfire, should prove quite interesting. Perhaps not all that much harder until you get to the very end of the wingtip.

           

          Jerry Steiger

            • Re: Aircraft Wing Designing ...
              Walter Perko

              Hi,


              I can sketch a wing using equation driven curves ... but if the program is capable of doing that, then the solution for "Hobbist" R/C and Model Designers should be as I described above. 


              As for general and commercial designers it too would be useful to explore wing designs for new aircraft designs even though they may not actually use the designs for parts manufacture ... but if it's done right, then maybe the designs could be used for mold designs of fiber glass and composite wing sections. 


              But from a hobbyist stand point ... making it easer means bringing in more SolidWorks customers. 


              or does AutoCAD already do this? 

               

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                • Re: Aircraft Wing Designing ...
                  Matt Lombard

                  Walt,

                   

                  I think you're stretching it. Sure, what you say would make it easy for very small group of people to possibly do what they are already doing. I'm sure if you wanted to write an add-in, some of us would help you give it a whirl, but SW is not going to add functionality like this for hobbyists. It might be a good first step to make a library of NACA profiles as blocks that can be placed and used in models. Making the wing is easy enough. Check out this site with several aircraft made in SW, some for fun, some for real:  http://www.dezignstuff.com/blog/?p=3514

                    • Re: Aircraft Wing Designing ...
                      Walter Perko

                      Hi,

                       

                      Well as NACA numbers are what you feed into an equation to create the airfoil and it seems that since this is a redundant process from one rib to the next that if SolidWorks built that funtion into the program there might be a few thousand R/C designers out there interested in using a more proficient method of desiging real flying model aircraft.

                       

                      That's the point ... get more users into SolidWorks by feeding a new niche of potential users with what I think would be a fairly simple tool for the SolidWorks team to design.

                       

                      As for myself, I know what I need but I'm not a software engineer ... not since the mid-1970's other than a few BASIC programs for robot functions and algorithm designs for combining already existing subroutines into a larger program.

                       

                      If there are people who want to make an Add-On software product I'd be happy to be a tester and help understand how an aircraft should fly (since I hold a commercial/instrument all weather pilot license) and love flying aerobatics.

                       

                      I myself am not an aircraft designer, but thought if the tools existed like my description above I might play with the idea of designing in CAD rather than just cutting up some foam, gluing a motor, battery and receiver to it and flying it around ...

                       

                       

                       

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                        • Re: Aircraft Wing Designing ...
                          Anna Wood

                          Walt,

                           

                          Different software companies make tools for that very small market. You can even get some free ones on the web I beleive.

                           

                          We use Compu-Foil and import the DXF.

                           

                          I also have Excel spreadsheets I have created to handle the NACA coordinates and use that to create the root and tip rib airfoils.  Then import those coordinate files using the Curve Through X, Y, Z Point command.

                           

                          Our market is way to small for SolidWorks to devote time on.  Maybe someone will for a third party add-on.  Actually the fact that someone doesn't market a third party add-on tells you how small the market is and probably more trouble then it is worth to make money on.  Hobby folks aren't known for wanting to spend a lot of dollars on their software tools.  At least all the ones that I know and scratch build/design.

                           

                          I do both full scale and RC models.  IMAC and full scale IAC type projects.

                           

                          I would rather SolidWorks spend their time working on other aspects of the software as opposed to our niche market.

                           

                          Cheers,

                           

                          Anna

                          www.acrodesigns.com

                            • Re: Aircraft Wing Designing ...
                              David Paulson

                              Anna,

                               

                              I don't think the market for this application within solidworks is as small as you might think.  I would think that design of aircraft wings is much like the design of fan blades, boat propellers, turbine blades and axial compressor impellers.  All of these applications have very complex geometry which is not handled particularily well in SW.  It makes me wonder why I bought Flow if I can't optimize the design of a wind turbine impeller within SW.

                                • Re: Aircraft Wing Designing ...
                                  Anna Wood

                                  David,

                                   

                                  Let me clarify the audience I was speaking to.  I was thinking more in terms of the market Walt was referring to, the hobby/enthusiast market.  Not the professional market such as Rick and yourself.

                                   

                                  I suspect the casual user will not be willing to pay for an add-in that cost as much or more then their seat of SolidWorks to do hobby air foil design.

                                   

                                  For what Walt wishes to do with RC models and full scale aerobatic aircraft the basic tools in Solidworks are more then adequate.  A full scale competition aerobatic airplane airfoil and wing planform is not complex compared to the airfoil wing designs that you or Rick may do.

                                   

                                  I do think the market is small and better left to a 3rd party.  If a 3rd party were to develop an application that truly spanned the markets you talked about that software package would not be low cost.

                                   

                                  I hope that clarifies where I was coming from with my earlier post.

                                   

                                  Cheers,

                                   

                                  Anna

                                  • Re: Aircraft Wing Designing ...
                                    Anna Wood

                                    I also use the exact technique Rick talked about in SolidWorks.  Set-up the NACA coordinates in a spreadsheet for the root and tip rib, bring into SolidWorks with Curve Through XYZ Points.  Surface loft between, thicken the skin, add your ribs, etc.

                                     

                                    For basic airfoils/wings the tools are already there.

                                     

                                    Maybe if I get real bored this holiday weekend I will post a wing design for a basic acro aircraft.  I have a few designs sitting on my old computer, just need to spend some time getting them off the old box and updated a bit.  It really is pretty easy with the current tools in SolidWorks.

                                     

                                    Cheers,

                                     

                                    Anna

                            • Re: Aircraft Wing Designing ...
                              Rick McWilliams

                              An airplane wing has some complicated geometry. The solidworks feature that works best is is the sweep. Take the airfoil coordinates and add another column of zeros in a text file. Bring this in as a curve through points. Repeat for the lower wing surface. Make a sketch from these curves, add a chord line. Remove the projecton constraint and make the splines porportional.

                               

                              Draw a leading edge curve and a trailing edge curve. These will be guide curves for the sweep. The simplest path is a straight line traditionally at the 1/4 chord position. Make the sweep feature using the section and path, then add the leading and trailing edge curves as guide curves.

                               

                              A real airplane wing will be complicated by twist, a fixed trailing edge thickness, flap pockets, flaps, ailerons, spars, ribs and stuff.

                               

                              Solidworks lofts make ome unespected bulges and wiggles. Boundary surfaces are reasonably trustworthy and can be used for wings. I use them mostly for fuselage shapes.

                          • Re: Aircraft Wing Designing ...
                            William Cheek

                            Walt,

                            There's nothing in SWks that does what you're asking, but that doesn't mean you can't make it do what you want.  Vis-a-vis NACA research, I'd start with this site.

                            http://aa.nps.edu/~jones/online_tools/

                            The equation for simple NACA profiles could be inserted into a macro, excel spreadsheet or even the equation tool within Solidworks.

                             

                            - Will

                            • Re: Aircraft Wing Designing ...
                              Walter Perko

                              Hi,

                               

                              I think some people are under estimating the number of SolidWorks users out there ... I myself have seen SolidWorks on a dozen school system for teaching in shop class ... friends of mine say they see SolidWorks being used by high schoolers all the time.  That's the future and so SolidWorks should be feeding the future not the present just because it might save them a buck or some time to leave out potential hardly used today.

                               

                              I expressed my viewpoint towards hobbyists because all engineering begins with the hobbyist long before it gets to the manufacture design engineer.

                               

                              When I was a kid the cost of anything good in education was out of reach of my parents ... much of that is that is the same today ... but with software tools kids can learn, explore and innovate ... hobbyists can do the same and maybe bring us a new wing design or aircraft design nobody thought of because correct wing design was such a tedious job.

                               

                              Wouldn't it be nice if someody figured out how to create an airline wing that doubled in wing area for slower safer landings ... or to conserve fuel while in the holding pattern?  Nobody but the largets aircraft manufactures can afford to have engineers explore these types of ideas because the CAD work is so immense.  Yet as a few other people have stated here ... there are plenty of people designing propellers and impellers that will use pretty much the same technology ...  but those I think are even more complex, yet once SolidWorks knows how to make wing design as easy as drawing a box then I'm sure they will make propeller design the next step.

                               

                               

                               

                               

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                              C  U L8r,  wperko ... http://www.brainless.org/RoboToons/T-Shirts&Totes.html

                                • Re: Aircraft Wing Designing ...
                                  Jerry Steiger

                                  Walt,

                                   

                                  Since you really want this, put in an enhancement request. Because of the arguments that the other folks have put forth, I don't think it will happen, but if enough people ask, it will. Personally, I would much rather that SW put their limited resources at work to make it easier to make splines symmetric or mutual trims more robust.

                                   

                                  Jerry Steiger

                                  • Re: Aircraft Wing Designing ...
                                    Rick McWilliams

                                    X-Plane is a good program for preliminary airplane design.  The user interface is very retro. All wing panels are trapezoids. They may have different airfoils and twist along the span. There is no limitation on planarity. Propellers are reasonably well modeled. It does not do CFD but gets reasonable answers. It costs $39. It will take a week of work to do your first airplane.

                                     

                                    You can import bodies from Solidworks to show the accurate visual model. An airplane is an artful arrangemnt of people, payload, powerplant, landing gear and lifting surfaces. Solidworks is a good tool for light airplane design. The relational history based model allows wonderful global changes.

                                     

                                    A wing airfoil primitive function would be kind of cute but it would serve only as a place holder for a real wing geometry.

                                     

                                    Light airplanes are getting more efficient, I know of one airplane that gets 95 mpg at 138 mph. You should start working on the design that will exceed 100 mpg.

                                  • Re: Aircraft Wing Designing ...
                                    Mohamed Abdel Moniem

                                    There is a software called PROFILI, you will find alot of profiles in this software where you can export DXF file for any profile you choose.

                                    also you will find a good profiles in the attached file