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Old Oct 11, 2006, 02:18 PM
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RC Airplane CAD software

Hello:

Does anyone have any recommendations regarding CAD (computer aided design) software for designing plans for Radio control aircraft?

I have built a number of model aircraft from modified plans and would like to start designing my own. I'm very comfortable with computers (I'm Cisco and Microsoft certified), but not experienced with CAD. I run a pretty decent windows XP Pentium 4 PC.

Anything I buy would ideally be capable of receiving a scan of some scale drawings, that I would then blow up and modify. I'm also mulling the pros and cons of buying a second hand plotter.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Cheers!
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Old Oct 11, 2006, 07:35 PM
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Do you know how to draft by hand already? If not go to night school first, then begin looking for software.

If you do not know CAD, then you would not be familiar with plotter set-ups. In round figures there are only two types of plotters, the pen type and all others. Each of which uses a different communication language. The raster types are generally Windows driven somehow, the pen plotters run via specialized drivers of the DOS era. Raster plotters are rather expensive at present time. If you contact a local arcitect or engineer they may have a pen plotter to give away. You can go to my web site, and in very last section is partial information on plotters.

All can say is the CAD is different. Don't matter what you know or learned about other softwares or systems, CAD was first, and it really hasn't changed in thirty years now. You have to use or adopt their language, and not try to alter them to your way of thinking, for getting lost in shortcuts is easy.

http://www.mybloo.com/coosbay/laser/laser.html


Wm.
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Old Oct 12, 2006, 12:07 AM
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I build my own designs all the time and rarely draw up any formal plans--I'd rather build than draw! After a few tries, I find myself making essentially the same wing structure, for example, all the time, and I don't feel the need to draw out every detail of that construction. Other things, I find myself modifying on the fly, so plans would be outdated even before ship #1 rolled off the line.

I have a roll of newsprint in the closet (the local newspaper in the town I used to live in would sell the remnants of their rolls) and I'll take a 4-foot piece to draw up the wing planform and another to draw up the fuselage side view, and draw up the tail feathers on 8-1/2" x 11" graph paper.

The piece of software I find I can't live without is Profili, the airfoil database and layout program. With this program, you can not only pick from a gazillion airfoils, you can place spars and leading and trailing edges on straight, tapered, and eliptical planforms.

For a scale ship, I'll take a three-view down to Office Max and run it through their enlarging copier. A bit pricey--but worth it.

Just my $0.02 worth.
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Old Oct 25, 2006, 10:22 PM
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I think the plotter that he was referring to buying is a "printer" used to print design plans, and not a pen pointer input device. A plotter is really just a big printer that can accomodate ANSI sized drawings (What most American drafters use). They cost a lot too, $8,000 for the ones I use at school.

As for the program, I like programs that use CSG (Constructive Solid Geometry) and the program I use is Autodesk Inventor. It is different than Autocad in that you are creating the object, and not just the drawings. Solidworks is another popular CSG program that NASA used to develop the Mars rover. I can easily create T tailed with only a few different commands. The more curves or complexity, the better drafter you'd have to be. With CSG you work with sketches on work planes, and can loft a shape through sketches on parallel planes to create about any aircraft design thinkable. Using Autocad you just create different orthographic views that can be read in conjuction to create a "3d Glass Box" that fully describes an object. The different drawings on a blueprint actually represent the different views of the object, and are independent from each other. With Inventor the drawings are rendered automatically (1 view at a time) after you create the geometry of the object. The main advantage of CSG programs is that when you make a change on a part, the parent/child relationship between the commands means that all of your work is instantly updated. Many of the commands are relative between the 2, and they literally take the work out of drafting. For example to create tangent circles, you merely input a required amount of information (Usually a radius & tangent point), were as drafting on a board you would have to use Geometric construction to offset the radius to find a center. I believe you could learn it on your own if you had a textbook, and Autocad becomes more PC user friendly each & every year. They're trying to make CAD to where you mostly use your mouse. Using the program & designing is two different things though, and you have to know how to create the shapes you want before you can sit down & create effective designs.



Using a cheapo CAD program is different though. I've been lucky enough to never have to resort to that yet.
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Old Oct 31, 2006, 09:45 PM
Aircrafting is noisey...what?!
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Lon discribed my method perfectly but I have a friend that uses solidworks try this http://www.solidworks.com/pages/products/3dmech.html
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Old Nov 01, 2006, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.tschaikowsky
Hello:

Does anyone have any recommendations regarding CAD (computer aided design) software for designing plans for Radio control aircraft?

I have built a number of model aircraft from modified plans and would like to start designing my own. I'm very comfortable with computers (I'm Cisco and Microsoft certified), but not experienced with CAD. I run a pretty decent windows XP Pentium 4 PC.

Anything I buy would ideally be capable of receiving a scan of some scale drawings, that I would then blow up and modify. I'm also mulling the pros and cons of buying a second hand plotter.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Cheers!
If scale models used in fight simulators are indeed scale versions of the aircraft you wanted, the model files are often times made with a freeware program called Metasaquoia. Metasaquoia is also capable of creating your own plane designs, and is somewhat similar to the Constructive Solid Geometry programs I often talk about. Anyway, I have managed to save visible lines for my Stryker as an Autocad drawing, and you can edit these drawings to provide the outline for whatever plane you want. Since there are already a lot of models with these files completed, all you have to do is download one you like, & save it as an Autocad document. The different ways to complete getting the drawing you want are too numerous to list here, and I am not very proficient with Metasaquoia anyway, here is a link that explains a simple modeling process with metasaquoia, & gives links for downloads. The simulator model files are intentionally kept at the lowest number of polygons possible, but you can make as detailed of an object as you want.

http://rcp.web.infoseek.co.jp/Rc_hp2...asequoia_e.htm
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Old Nov 01, 2006, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieoneseven
Lon discribed my method perfectly but I have a friend that uses solidworks try this http://www.solidworks.com/pages/products/3dmech.html
Solid works is another example of a CSG program. It is very similar to inventor (Autodesk program), and I think these types of programs would offer the most to anyone wanting to use them for designing airplanes. As a few guys mentioned though, it is far easier to just build it, and not worry about the drawings. Drawings are no good if you don't have the tools to exact & replicate measurements with building material, so what is the point in designing an airplane with ten-thousandths tolerance when you might be able to get close to one-tenth? I have a student copy of solid works, but it was expired when I bought the book it came with. I would like to try it, seeing as it has been used for a lot of important projects.
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Old Mar 10, 2014, 08:37 PM
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Best CAD for Remote control Aircraft drawings

I have been using RealCAD for a very long time and find it superb. It was easy to learn and easy to use and when I got stuck there were help videos. I also emailed the company and they were very helpful.
RealCAD is like AutoCAD only much easier to learn and use and way cheaper. I think you can get it here http://www.cadinternational.com/cadi...rand.php?id=RC
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 01:13 PM
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It all depends on how much you want to spend, and how much of your time you want to invest in the design portion (everything comes down to time and money, eh?) I grew up in engineering at Fisher Body Division of GM and learned Fisher Graphics in the late 70's. It was all lines and surfaces (no solids). Have used Rhino and UG. I find that Sketchup (now Trimble, formerly Google) suits my design needs just fine. It is lines and surfaces, so easy for me to use, free, small memory-wise, and runs well on several platforms. It is also open source, and there are hundreds of "plug-ins" available, written by folk to automate functions, most are also free, and many are specifically tailored to model design. All my OneSheeter designs were developed in sketchup. There are several active threads in the scratchbuilt foamies and cadcam forums.
I work with foam, so solids cad isn't particularly useful to me since the design will eventually end up as flat templates. With sketchup, i can develop the plane shape of outerskin, unwrap it to flat for the surface templates and also develop inner structure as surfaces that get rotated and flattened to templates.

The freeware version has limited export options, but there are plugins and work arounds to solve that limitation. You can import jpg pictures. I typically import a 3view and work from there. If you click on my username and scan down my blog there is a list of the OneSheet designs with links to the build threads. I put the template files on first post or so and some have the sketchup files as well.
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Last edited by springer; Mar 13, 2014 at 01:18 PM.
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Old Mar 19, 2014, 11:52 PM
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As an old draftsman (74 next week), I have been through the entire gauntlet of drafting "tools". I ended up in a large missile company that went through several stages of cad tools, from main frame to PC's. We ended up with 3 systems that were specialized for the end product. We used MENTOR for electronic design, just create a "smart" schematic and then let the program design a "board" and then go into product using the same data base. We used PRO-E as a solids tool. It's data base can be used to create plastic concept parts and also finished metal/composite parts. Years ago the forerunners of PRO-E on the main frame would require something like 30 minutes to "refresh" a screen. Now PRO-E on a PC can give instantaneous rotations, multiple part colors, and is just a fun plaything to lure in new university student engineers. The problem with PRO-E is that "proper government documentation" still requires a 2D drawing. If you don't know how to draw, having a fantastic tool does no good. The third system is the one that I like and I am fortunate enough that I am able have the system at home. CADRA for me is primarily a 2D system that can also go 3D and solids. Most of the data packages at work have to be 2D, so this is the tool that is used. I am fortunate that I have a private license for CADRA at home. I create all of model drawings on the system. We have a very good reproduction company here in Tucson so that all I have to do is send an attachment and then go pick up my prints or they will mail them to me. I can also print out to my computers printer. My favorite thing is to cut up my prints, 3M77 them to wood and using my magnifying hood, cut to the line on my jigsaw. Parts fit every time.
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Old Mar 20, 2014, 05:07 AM
An itch?. Scratch build.
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Joined Mar 2003
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Google SketchUp, it's free, plus plenty of modelers on theses forums already use it and post threads and tips, and models of components.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/searc...query=sketchup



P.S. Like Bob, I was originally trained as a draftsman before being 'assimilated' by CAD, but still find a roll of wallpaper backing paper, some pencils, rules, and set squares are so much quicker.
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Old Mar 20, 2014, 11:21 AM
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Agreed that a rough sketch of pencil on paper is good for the big parts and outline. But, when it comes to the ribs, there is nothing like a fine line computer print out to cut out, glue to the wood, and then hack away.

To be clear, the paper cut out is cut outside of the outline so that when using the jigsaw the paper is cut on the center of the line giving almost laser quality. Depends on hand/eye coordination.
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 08:02 AM
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Another Very Nice Cad program is "Draftsight" it is free and comes from the folks who wrote SolidWorks. Is almost a duplicate of Autocad.

http://www.3ds.com/products-services...ight/overview/

Wayne
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Old Mar 28, 2014, 11:40 AM
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I used to print long drawing on a dot-matrix printer... that would use several pages for a single print.
The inkjets letter-sized I have now would require cutting and pasting by me for the print itself.
They OK for ribs and things, but inadequate for long lines.
As for design itself, I have so many planes here that work, all I need do is copy their areas and moments to be sure anything new will be flyable.
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