This is a small project to investigate 3D Printed Propellers for RC Aircraft. The propellers are generated by an OpenSCAD parametric model which gives control over the diameter, pitch, number of blades, blade airfoils, and a host of other features. The designs are for both fixed propellers and folding propellers.
Software tools required
To run the scripts described in these articles you will need OpenSCAD and Python3.
You can download the OpenSCAD software from www.openscad.org. The script uses structures that work on OpenSCAD versions from 2015 onwards.
The python script for converting standard .dat airfoil profiles to OpenSCAD polygons does not require any extra libraries from those typically found in any Python Installation. The only one that may need to be installed is tkinter.
This article describes the two OpenSCAD scripts used to generate fixed multi-bladed propellers or folding propellers. You will find instructions on which parameters to fiddle with and methods for changing the overall shape of the propeller. Download links are provides as are links to the Thingiverse webpages where you can find the same scripts available for use in their Customiser Application.
Airfoil .dat to OpenSCAD Converter
Here you will find an article describing how to use a Python 3 tool to convert Airfoil .dat files into OpenSCAD scripts which are directly compatible with the scripts introduced in the article above.
To find airfoils, look on the UIUC Airfoil Coordinates Database website. The .dat files you find there can be converted to OpenSCAD polygons using this script. I have not checked that it works on every .dat available but hopefully the python script will handle most of them.
Airfoil to OpenSCAD Converter Article
Propeller Testing Rig - Electronics
This article describes the control and measuring system for the propeller testing rig used to test the various 3D printed propellers.
Propeller Testing Rig – Mechanical
The physical arrangement for testing the 3D printed propellers is quite simple. A large number of the components are 3D printed. This article describes the system and provides instructions on building the test rig and hooking in the electronics described above.
Propeller Test Results
Test results will be linked here as they become available.
This series of articles and associated models and coding by Hamish Trolove are licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.