UAV design.

by buzz, published

UAV design. by buzz Feb 18, 2013
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UAV design. by buzz is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution license.

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experimental UAV design
( made using OpenVSP and OpenSCAD ) .


Open the buzz_moved_tail_roots_out_6.vsp file with OpenVSP ( free aircraft tool from NASA) if you want to make changes to basic overall architecture, and then re-export each of the aircraft "parts" as separate STL/s. This will screw with all the dimensions and relationships I have in openscad, so don't do it lightly. :-)
I exported the wings,fuse,horiz tail, and vert tail as 4 bits ( from .vsp -> .stl ) , the stls for these are provided here too ( as the parts.scad file needs them) . To make the fuselage mostly hollow, but have significant wall thickness, I also made a second .vsp file that represents just the "inside" of the fuselage, and use openscad to subtract that from the original. - "fuse_only_hollow.scad"
These STL file/s are all the raw components that I then imported into openscad, and apply a bunch of function/s on to create the final designed plane parts - see parts.scad for all the openscad goodness that is the "main design file". - this includes hole/s for carbon fibre spars in both wings and fuse, and structural bracing in wings, and separating the ailerons, etc.

Once this is done, the parts.scad file has a p=x; parameter which represents the "part number". Set it to a number betwen 1 and 30, and then re-render openscad, and it will render just a single individual part, which can then be exported as a .stl file. I have individual files 1.stl, 2,stl... etc, but they aren't really needed, you can make them yourself like I did.

Finally, to assist in making the parts all 3D printer friendly, I import all the 1.stl -> 32.stl into netfabb basic( as separate parts ) , and rotate them all to position them so they are in a reprap printable orientation ( ie a flat face down ) , and then export them again ( I called them 1r.stl ... 32r.stl ).... and these files can then move on to Slic3r as usual! To save you a little work, I have included the netfabb project file here too ( the .fabbproject file ) , and a screen capture of all the parts laid-out ready for printing.

Good luck!

Main wIng parts are designed to be printed hollow ( ie turn of infill in slic3r ) .
Fuselage and tail parts are designed to be printed at approx 10% infill .
AIlerons and moving tail surfaces are not printable - I can't be bothered, I will just use a bit of balsa for this.

More details:

The wings have outer-half has taper and washout and rounded ends.
the dihedral is a reasonable 4 degrees,
the airfoil profile is a NACA4412, which with it's nearly flat bottom, and good lift characteristics is easy to work with.
I'm deliberately trying to keep the overall design simple, so it's 3D printable ( in sections of course. )

Yes, most of hthis has now been 3D printed, and no it's not yet been flown.... gimme a chance! :-)

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Major project. good!

I have looked at the design

Great thing that it's in Openscad so it can be changed.

But i'm no master of openscad and cant figure how to add servo's and hinges.

Otherwise it would have been perfect, far better than other "things" as they mostly offer stl's only or source files that cant be opened in free software

@buzz open the scad file and got this error:

DEPRECATED: polyhedron(triangles=[]) will be removed in future releases. Use polyhedron(faces=[]) instead.
WARNING: Ignoring unknown variable 'p'.
WARNING: Ignoring unknown variable 'p'.
WARNING: Ignoring unknown variable 'p'.
WARNING: Ignoring unknown variable 'p'.
WARNING: Ignoring unknown variable 'p'.

found the p variable commented out :-D

looking at the design now

first impression is that its good, but there are also room for improvements

outside fuselage surfaces are not prefect smooth and should be
the strut holes that goes from nose to tail are secured to the fuselage with a THIN cube shaped object, could be thicker, so far i have only noticed this on part 3 & 4

the strut holes in the wings could be a bit higher up from the lower surface

HINT: If you plan to actually print this, you might also want to increase the angle-of-attack of the wing to .. maybe ... 5degress?

was out to do shopping... meanwhile i let it do a full reender so i had full detail

now more questions..

how does the control surfaces attached to the fuselage/wing ?
from what i can see there are no way to do that as the control surface goes all the way from where it starts to tip of wings and tip of rudder...

Idea for wing servo's:

mount the control surface on a hold with 2 Tiny ball bearings at each end. on one side of one of the bearings mount a gear wheel on the rod.

mount the servo in a kind of holder that slides up in the wing from below. On the servo have a gear wheel that engage the one on the rod. easy to get servo out to replace.

out for the rest of the day. but will sure cook up more ideas

so far i have just changed all $fn values to 360 instead of 20 to get things super round

will also have to picture me how to assemble and make it easy to deal with.

for now i just look over the design and get my head arround it from within openscad

i'm a noob in openscad and still learning, but i have ideas

if i get any good ideas are you up to updating the design?

Which 3D printer did you use to print your design?

@geb 550g for all the printed wing and tail surfaces , 350g for the fuse parts, 85g for the centre piece that joins the end of the fuse to the tail planes (this part could do with halving it's current weight) plus 60g for the 4 carbon fibre arrow shafts, and ailerons, fixings and electronics of course. Fuselage length 80cm , wingspan 170cm, tail width 48cm, main wing chord 20cm

What's the wing span, length and total weight of just the 3D printed parts? I'm curious because I might be interested in printing one.

have you ever made it fly?

Been meaning to. :-) it's still awaiting electronics/avionics. :-)

Today I updated the parts.scad file with the latest one. If you downloaded it earlier ( all 6 of you , please re-download ) . this file now renders in openSCAD without throwing any errors. ( outer wing section/s were failing due to my use of a function called "tapered_cube" that was flawed ( non-manifold? ) . I replaed it with alternate scad code.
I have also provided a photo of the actual parts as-printed ( printed over the past month or so ) . the wings are in blue and the fuselage is in orange.