How to create a simple or complex wing in Google SketchUp

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deskpilot

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Morphett Vale, South Australia. Just south of Adel
This morning I received a request as to how did I create my Double Delta wing for the EagleRay. Unfortunately, I can't find it now so I am posting this "How To" on RecreationalFlying in Australia and HBA in the US. Hope it helps somebody.





This short tutorial shows how to create a wing, of any complexity, using the basic tools in Google SketchUp (SU)

Step One:
Open a new page and 'Save As' what ever. Under 'Windows', set the 'Units' in which you wish to work eg. inches, mm's, feet etc. Under 'Camera', make sure you're working in the 'Parallel Projection' option, select 'Right' or 'Left' view, and switch off the axes if you don't need them showing. For what it's worth, you don't need Section Planes, Section Cuts, Guides, Shadows or Fog either so you mihgt as well turn them off as well. Shadows are all very well on your final model but only slow your pc down during the creation phase.
In the 'View' window ensure you have 'Edges' selected under the Edge Style tab and 'Shaded with Textures' selected under the Face Tab. (For this tutorial, I have also selected 'Hidden Geometry' to show you what happens as you perform Scaling Operations. OK, now we're ready to begin.

Step Two:
Drag a Rectangle big enough to cover your wing profile (Guess work usually) the size of the selected area is shown in the lower right hand corner of the work screen.
'Zoom Extents' to fill the screen and draw a mid height line across the rectangle. Now, using circles, arcs and lines, draw the desired profile making sure that there are no gaps between each segment. You should end up with something like this after you have cleaned up all the unwanted bits. My example is more complex than most 'normal' wings but I want you to see how easy it is, even if it looks complex.



Step Three:
Use the rotate tool so that your image in seen in an isometric view. Then, use the 'Push/Pull' tool to extrude the shape 'out of the paper' so to speak. I have erased the rest of the paper as it is not needed.


All those lines you see are the 'Hidden Geometry' I mentioned earlier. Drag it out as far as you want it to go. For a simple high wing design, this could be the whole span IF it is to remain at a constant cord (length front to back)) I'm now going on to produce a double Delta design.

Use the Select tool (arrow) and click in the end face to high-light it. Then select Scale under the Tools tab or simply press the S key on your keyboard. A box will appear that encloses that selected face and on it will be 4 tabs, top, bottom, left and right. Unfortunately, these don't show in my exported 2D images. To shape the wing, all that is required is for the end face to be pushed or pulled into the shape you require. For instance, by clicking and holding the left hand tab, by sliding it back towards the trailing edge on the right, I add sweep and by dragging the top tab down, I add taper. If you wish, you can also add positive or negative sweep to the Trailing edge, and an upward taper to the underside of the wing.

To take it a step further, reselect the end plane and extrude it again.

Now scale it as before to your liking. Getting the taper to be constant over both extrusions is a matter of practice. Note the forward sweep of the TE. Just hold the end tab you want to move. EXPERIMENT. It's fun.


Step Four:
Finally, we have to clean it up. First turn off ' Hidden Geometry' if you have it selected, then under the 'Windows' tab, select 'Soften Edges'. A small wondow will open and you can smooth out edges and planes to what ever level you want. You will probably have to 'Select All' under the 'Edit' tab before this operation works. Whilst they are all selected, try 'Reversing Faces' if they are white. You can paint them if you like but I tend to leave that until later.



Front View, note taper change due to rushed work. Also the untapered bottom face. It all depends on your design.


Right Hand view.

All things are possible.......WITH PRACTICE. Most important of all, HAVE FUN.
Doug Mansfield, aka Deskpilot.
 

litespeed

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May 21, 2008
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Sydney
Thanks for that Doug,

Will downlaod Sketchup and have a go.

Can you repost the pics please.

Thanks
Phil
 

Matt G.

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Nov 16, 2011
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Kansas, USA
What do you do if you want a real airfoil instead of a bunch of lines, circles, and arcs arranged into something that looks like an airfoil? Is there some way to import ordinates?
 

Inverted Vantage

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Jun 19, 2008
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Hm...if you go through an intermediary, yes. You can export the airfoil as vertices, then use those vertices to create a face. Then you can save out of the other program into a format that Sketchup can read. I don't think Sketchup supports free-floating vertices, and it doesn't support spline data. However it does have a scripting language, Ruby, that you can use to create your own plugin.
 

Jay Kempf

Curmudgeon in Training (CIT)
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Warren, VT USA
Hm...if you go through an intermediary, yes. You can export the airfoil as vertices, then use those vertices to create a face. Then you can save out of the other program into a format that Sketchup can read. I don't think Sketchup supports free-floating vertices, and it doesn't support spline data. However it does have a scripting language, Ruby, that you can use to create your own plugin.
And there are a ton of open source plug ins for doing more complicated stuff that the program doesn't have as native.
 

deskpilot

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Joined
Jun 30, 2009
Messages
1,132
Location
Morphett Vale, South Australia. Just south of Adel
What do you do if you want a real airfoil instead of a bunch of lines, circles, and arcs arranged into something that looks like an airfoil? Is there some way to import ordinates?
I wanted a Clark HY profile for my latest design so I Googled it, found a nice drawing, copied and saved it. Opened SU to a new page, Created a rectangle then imported the drawing and laid it on the work surface. It was then easy enough to trace it on the surface to get a virtually correct shape ready for extruding.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find a way to use the original drawing as it wouldn't or couldn't actually become part of the work surface. It was more like a Texture.
I think my outcome was even better than the drawing anyway as some of the drawing curves weren't good when scaled up to fit my scale.
Clark HY rib construction.jpg
Ignore the notes, there for someone else's benefit.
 
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