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Thread: Design help

  1. #1

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    Sep 2012
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    Design help

    My wish is to design an all aluminum 4 seat, signal engine aircraft based on the construction of the Sonex AC. My big question is where do I start?
    Currently learning SoildWorks, very new to SW. However, know AutoCad very well. My next question is can I use SW to do my stress analysis? And my last question, are there any good examples of SW for AC stress analysis?

    Any good designers want to do a Vulcan mind meld, fill an empty skull?

  2. #2
    Matt Gonitzke's Avatar
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    If you have no engineering background, you have a lot of learning and research to do. There is far more to designing an airplane than drawing pictures and stress analysis. A good start would be Design of Light Aircraft by Richard Hiscocks and Aircraft Design: A Conceptual Approach by Daniel Raymer. For a much more expansive list of references on various subjects that you'll find useful, click here.

    I would recommend learning how to do stress analysis by hand. Finite element modeling is very much "garbage in, garbage out". If you put in bad inputs, you'll bet bad results, and if you don't have years of professional training and experience, you'll have a difficult time determining if the results are believable or not. You would need to validate the results with some hand calculations anyway, so you might as well just do it all with hand calculations. In industry, dedicated finite element analysis software is typically used for these type of things, as it allows much more control over the mesh, loads, constraints, and so on.

  3. #3

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    The first textbook you might dig into is Hibbeler's Statics and Mechanics of Materials.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
    N78PS

  4. #4
    pylon500's Avatar
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    Are you doing this for the design exercise, or do you want to build something?
    If you want to build, start off by having a look at the BD-4?

  5. #5

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    "... all aluminum 4 seat, signal engine aircraft based on the construction of the Sonex AC..."

    http://www.zenair640.info

    or, have fun designing your own.

  6. #6

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    Jan 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Gonitzke View Post
    I would recommend learning how to do stress analysis by hand. Finite element modeling is very much "garbage in, garbage out". If you put in bad inputs, you'll bet bad results, and if you don't have years of professional training and experience, you'll have a difficult time determining if the results are believable or not. You would need to validate the results with some hand calculations anyway, so you might as well just do it all with hand calculations. In industry, dedicated finite element analysis software is typically used for these type of things, as it allows much more control over the mesh, loads, constraints, and so on.
    I'll second this, I used to do FEA professionally. A single part could take me a week or so to develop an accurate model (granted I was also usually working with plastics so the material model was a lot of work on top of the mesh). Additionally I don't believe that solidworks supports plane stress or plane strain analysis (as in the x y and z plane, not airplanes), which would make analysis for a sheet metal aircraft very difficult (the sheet metal construction lends itself very nicely to plane stress analysis which allows you to develop a rather accurate mesh for analysis without overloading your computer with an accurate 3D mesh.)

    All this said, building is a lot of work on its own, without trying to design the aircraft along the way. There are lots of problems that you'll have to solve beyond trying to size sheet metal parts and calculate stresses through them that will still put those same skills to use.

  7. #7
    I've Built and Fly a plane.... and building another...
    I change things to what I like...
    But not being an engineer...
    Changes tend to be slightly heavier/over built for safety.

    If I tried this on the WHOLE plane...
    Well.... I wouldn't....period

    There's too many good proven prints out there...

    My latest project I use two plans... Buttercup and Tailwind ( Buttwind )

    Both designed by Steve Wittman

    For your "mission" , I agree with the suggestion of a BD-4
    .
    Or.... Your first step might be to contact Sonex about your idea.
    They MIGHT have something to fit your needs.

    .
    Gotta Fly...
    Mike & "Jaz" the Flying Dogz
    .
    .

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