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Old Nov 24, 2006, 01:26 AM
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Question
Free 3d modeling package for plane design?

Can anyone recommend a good freeware 3D modeling package to create plans for a plane? The main reason I want to use it is to figure out the cut to make on a wing so two wings with dihedral will butt up against each other perfectly. If the cut on the wing is straight and the wing has camber the leading and trailing edges of each wing will not butt up against each other. In a 3D modeling package I should be able to orient the wings at the correct dihedral angle and then do a vertical slice. When rotated back to horizontal to create a 2D plan layout the wing should not have an eliptical line for the correct shape. At least that is what I am hoping I could get out of it.

- John
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Old Nov 24, 2006, 04:21 AM
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John, I'm looking for the same thing but for other reasons. Do a search for CAD, exact phrase and titles only and you'll find a lot of information and links.

I use Turbocad2D currently and am just now needing the ability for dimentioning angles to the Z(?) plane. Not sure I have the right term but can't get it from a 2D program or at least any I've tried.

As to your project, I think you will find that due to the camber and dihedral angle of the straight root cut that the result will be an elipse on the top surface when viewed flat. Only if viewed straight down the root plane with the wing set at it's dihedral angle will it appear straight.
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Old Nov 24, 2006, 04:50 AM
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I use Rhino3.0 extensively for 3D modelling and it's fantastic! It's a NURBS based modelling package which is relatively easy to get to grips with - especially if you are familiar with AutoCAD.

OK, it's not exactly free but a free evaluation is available to download here

Jonathan
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Old Nov 24, 2006, 07:09 AM
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The free Google version of SketchUp might do the job. Very fast for prototyping, but only handles polygons. Might be suitable for you, though. The only major difference between the two versions is lack of output formats in the free.

Paul
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Old Nov 24, 2006, 09:02 AM
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Hi John,

Another free 3D freebie: Alibre. I haven't used it but I've heard some good things about it.

For what it's worth, AutoCAD, SolidWorks (probably SolidEdge), ProE, all have 30 day trial periods.

Good Luck!
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Old Nov 24, 2006, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoJa15
...I should be able to orient the wings at the correct dihedral angle and then do a vertical slice. When rotated back to horizontal to create a 2D plan layout the wing should not have an eliptical line for the correct shape.
- John
John, was thinking about this last night. If you have a rib profile, you can just add it at the root in the top view, measure the top of wing angle offset distance at the root dihedral cut to vertical from the side view and use a deformation or scalling function on the root rib profile on the top view to forshorten it to be the actual shape needed for the plans. Hard to describe but should be easy to do in any 2D CAD you may already have. Email me if this isn't clear and I'll send you an example.

Ken
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Old Nov 26, 2006, 12:10 AM
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Maya has a Personal Learning Edition that I've become somewhat comfortable with, but the license forbids commercial use of files, it's not really a CAD program and I'm not sure if you can download it (my copy came with Unreal Tournament 2004, a first-person shooter game).

Another alternative for 3D modeling is Blender, which I have but haven't learned to use yet. I've heard it has an eccentric interface, but is very powerful if you learn to use it. It's open-source, released under the GNU license, which means it's 100% free to use and even modify, including selling things you make with it. Again, however, I don't know if it's actually a CAD. The Blender site is:

http://www.blender.org/cms/Home.2.0.html

If you try to find an actual CAD program, don't search for free, search for open-source - lots of stuff claims to be free, but if it's open source, it's free by default... and you really can't be charged for it. I'm coming to discover that there's an open source version of almost everything - even Photoshop (in the form of The GIMP).

Good luck.
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Old Nov 26, 2006, 12:46 AM
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Here's a ton of 2D/3D freeware programs:

http://www.freebyte.com/cad/cad.htm#2D3DCADSystems

X11 may be a decent one considering the screenshot they show.

Since I'm using and old Turbocad2D program and know lots of ins and outs, I've been studing the free DL trial of Turbocad Deluxe 12 (3D) but it's real intense. About 500 page manual.....

There are V11s on Amazon for as low as $11 if I can figure it out so "close" to free.
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Old Nov 26, 2006, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCARPENTER
Hi John,

Another free 3D freebie: Alibre. I haven't used it but I've heard some good things about it.

For what it's worth, AutoCAD, SolidWorks (probably SolidEdge), ProE, all have 30 day trial periods.

Good Luck!
I have been trying out this software and it seems very powerful so far. The only problem I ran into is when dimensioning some lines it puts a parenthesis around the dimension. I am assuming it does that becuase that dimension can be derived from another dimension? The problem is that any dimension that has a parenthesis around it does not show up in the equation editor. I need that dimension so I can create my lower wing profile based on Jef Raskin's ideal 4-40 arifoil: http://jef.raskincenter.org/main/published/airfoil.html

Tcarpentar do you know where people talk about this software? Maybe I can ask them how to get around this problem.

Thanks,
John
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