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  1. #1

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    software for rc airplane design?

    what programs do you guys use for designing rc airplanes?

    I want to make my own design then have it laser cut.. but first i need to generate electronic files of type DXF or DWG.

  2. #2
    Crash Master's Avatar
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    software for rc airplane design?

    You might want to take a look at DeltaCad or TurboCad or DeltaCad or RCcad to see if any of these suit your needs. They all have a downloadable demo that you can play with and don't seem to be overly expensive.

    DeltaCad and TurboCad will give you the .dfx files you are looking for. I'm not sure about RCcad.

    Hope this helps,
    Crash Master
    Where Crashing Has Gone To A New Level

  3. #3

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    My experiences

    Well, you sort of have posed two questions.

    The design of a model A/C is done mostly between your ears. You need to read of the design parameters found out by those which preceeded you. There are diagrams available and numerous softbound books available. These are advertised or discussed in some section of the major model A/C magazines and herein. The design of a model A/C does not necessarily have to be a wholely new product. It can be as simple as a new wing on an older model, or scaling up or down an existing one, then re-running the stress calculations. It is much simplier to begin by modifying what you have, than to go with a new sheet of paper. A CAD system does not design an A/C, nor do I know of any home available complete model A/C design and drafting systems out there. I think this poll was run several months ago, and no readers knew of anything available then.

    As to computer drafting systems.

    Don't just buy into whatever I say, or any other respondant says. You need to do your own research as to what suits your present and future needs. Compatibility is really important here. Not cost, or ease, but what you do has to be able to communicate with yet another computer. Thus the low-cost simple systems often do not get the job done when you really get serious in one or two years or designs down the road from now. To be compatible will cost you, as the major firms out there have spent several thousand dollars to develop the best product for the amount they have at hand.

    I do not do much design, but do a host of computer drafting for model A/C projects. I had to purchase three airfoil programs, two full sized plotters, three digitizers, two scanners, three different sets of CAD software, four drawing/plot conversion programs and run this all on three different computers. To output linework in either DXF or DWG is a bit understated, as there are several softwares available with these formats, and they do not all talk, communicate or handshake with each other. I had one of the low cost ($100-200) drafting systems loaded up here a few months ago. Only problem was that the software vendors forgot to mention was that you had to obtain a separately sold plotter driver if you wanted to do something of a size other than 8.5" x 11" with a common inkjet printer. They were only set up for the small stuff, as very few of their sales went to serious customers. The separate driver sold for $395 and only ran certain late model inkjet plotters, which too sold for about $2500.

    Best thing now is not to buy anything, but do some internet shopping first. Establish your end design parameters and home goals. You happy with building rubber or peanut sized models, or do you want to go up to 1/4 scale A/C? Some equipment will not handle the latter. I use Autocad as they went off and established theirown drivers to mate up with available plotters, tablets and mice. Visit sites like CADALOG, Lorand, Autodesk, and that for the CAD vendors and laser cutters you have heard of. As a round figure, most of the laser cutters can read/write in Autocad R11/12 format, about 80% can get R-13 files loaded up, and about 50% for R-14. No one can load up direct a version more modern than these without doing some sort of conversion. Thing here is that you have to match them, not cuss them out for not matching you. I know that the full version of DesignCAD will read/write up through R-13 files. I do not know about others at this time, perhaps readers will know. I have already used TurboCAD, Intellicad and BalsaCAD, and each does not read/write back and forth perfectly between formats, and thus maybe a piece of text or linework gets omitted with each format exchange. They always leave out some sort of information in which Autocad needs to work properly. May be a copyright thing.

    It will be evident that once going, you will be using basically a dozen commands over and over again to create your work. I use Autocad here as it has a huge world-wide acceptance as to format. You do not need the latest version, as laser cutters work on old plotter language from the 1980's. Some CAD system softwares use Truetype or Windows fonts, which is fine if you do not wish to do laser cutting. Laser cutters do not understand these fonts. They understand only text made up from SHX/SHP files, as these are made up from lines in vector language, not raster language as used in deskjet printers.

    You have heard "OH, yes we can read a DXF file" however, upon expending $200 for your first full kit, and receiving back the wood, it looks a bit choppy, maybe some part numbers are missing, or it did not cut entirely all the lines which you sent. That is the fault and limitations of DXF files. They are not as smooth as DWG files, plus they normally take longer to cut and convert. Lasers run on CNC language, and some on pen plotter language. None work on drawing language. They all have to convert your drawing work into language which makes the arm move.

    Go to the Tower Hobby site of web-links. Find the "Manufacturers" listing and go to PassTime Hobbies, then read the pages on how to create laser files.


    Wm.
    Thousands of Laser Cut parts, thousands
    And plans too

  4. #4

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    RE: software for rc airplane design?

    Which program ( or design service ) can plot all the rib outlines on a tapered wing using the rib and tip outlines? That is all I need done.
    Thanks.

  5. #5
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    RE: software for rc airplane design?

    I use DesignCAD for general purpose stuff and CompuFoil for wing sections. CompuFoil (compufoil.com) has a free demo and very helpful in designing wings. I export the wing section into my DesignCAD application for the rest of the design work. I use CesignCAD particularly because thats what Ive use for years and used to working with it. Im sure there are others out there that are possibly better so shop around and see what you like.
    ...will I see all my wrecked planes when I get to Heaven? www.thefunkworks.com
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  6. #6
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    RE: software for rc airplane design?


    ORIGINAL: nwcamp

    Which program ( or design service ) can plot all the rib outlines on a tapered wing using the rib and tip outlines? That is all I need done.
    Thanks.
    I bought Profili Professional version 2. That's the software that plot all ribs on any type of wing. You provide parameters of the wing: lenght, root, tip, angle, airfoil types for root and tip, LE, TE, spars, lightening holes, building tabs, etc. Then, it plot all ribs in the piece of wood you will use for laser cutting, DXF format. I am very pleased with the software.

    I also take each rib and create parts in alibre design 9.1. Then you can assembly the wing and see it in 3D.
    Spitfire Brotherhood #96, Ultra Sport Brotherhood #20

  7. #7

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    RE: software for rc airplane design?

    What I'm looking for is to design the inner workings of an RC Aircraft and not as much as the outter structural design.

  8. #8
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    RE: software for rc airplane design?


    ORIGINAL: Padawan

    What I'm looking for is to design the inner workings of an RC Aircraft and not as much as the outter structural design.

    That comes from building past models and studying plans from other designers and generally getting a feel for how to use the materials the most effective way. The amount of inner structure and the spacing of these supportive elements depends on what mateirals you're using for the outer skins. You need enough inner structure to support the skins both to help hold it into shape to withstand the flight loads as well as avoid the "starved dog" look.

    Like most things worth doing you can't do it all the very first time. You just need to buckle down and pay yer dues.
    Witty saying to be plagarized shortly.....


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