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Add-in announcement: Hydrofoil and Airfoil Tools. Seeking your feedback / ideas

Message 1 of 95
17498 Views, 94 Replies

Add-in announcement: Hydrofoil and Airfoil Tools. Seeking your feedback / ideas

My decade of work in water and airfoil optimisation is now a Fusion 360 Add-in.  To begin with, I'm supporting:


  • Wings (lifting foils) and Struts (low-drag symmetric foils)
  • Cowlings (low-drag shapes for the nose or tail of anything in a flow)
  • Propellers and Turbines, to be driven by a motor, or collect energy from flow
  • Ducts suitable for use as a Propeller or Turbine shroud.

The Add-in collects the necessary information about the scale, medium, power, and/or expected conditions from you, and parametrically inserts the ideal shape best-suited to your intended purpose.  "Ideal" is based on thousands of hours of CFD simulations and particle-swarm genetic optimisation for popular use cases, and typically out-performs legacy shapes (e.g. the best in the UIUC database by 10% to 100%, and all NACA shapes by 57% to 120%).  Also included are facilities to perform specific optimisations for your exact needs, along with a suite of other tools.


This forum posting is here to solicit user (or potential users) suggestions, feedback, and comments, and also for bug-reports a help and feedback forum for users.  For anything not suitable for public, I use gmail - my address is the same as my username on this forum - feel free to write to me directly.




IMPORTANT: If you need or work with airfoil or hydrofoil shapes, please have a think about what you would hope to see in this Add-in: as a programmer, it's vastly less expensive and time-consuming to accommodate future user cases from day one.  If you want something, and can't see that we already do it, now is your chance!  Let me know immediately, so I can be sure it's included in future.



The general operation is as follows:-

  • Select what you want (wing, strut, prop, turbine, cowl, or duct) - which also defines what "optimal" means (e.g. best L/D for wings, lowest drag for struts)
  • Decide where and how to place it (select points or lines in 2D, or paths and planes in 3D) which also defines the size and direction.  Chose an optional center-of-moment point to auto-position for ideal angle-of-attack (which differs as a function of use conditions)
  • Specify you medium (Air, Water, or other) and its property ranges (temperature, altitude, depth, salinity, turbulence)
  • Specify your operating conditions: i.e. Speed range and surface finish (rough or smooth)
  • Supply power details if relevant (input for propellers, or output for turbines)

The Add-in will insert foil points connected by spline or loft, and optionally also construction elements you can reference in your design (e.g. moment centers), parameter variables you might need to use, and reference polar diagrams and power charts etc that save with your project.


If you change your drawing (e.g. make a wing bigger), the new foil shape will be automatically re-computed and all data updated, so you can be sure that your design will always contains best-performing shapes no matter what you change.  e.g. Models and Full-scale built from the same Fusion 360 project should generally both "just work".


This is a project likely to remain under constant development.  Subscribe to this topic for updates.


Over to you!  Do you need something not yet thought of here?  Do you have a project you think this would be useful for?  


Please click "like" if you would use this tool - so I can get some idea of how many people I'm doing this for!

Message 41 of 95
in reply to: OceanHydroAU

Hey Chris, 


Thanks so much for making this awesome add-in!


The one issue I'm having that I haven't been able to resolve is getting the foils to wrap around the axis

I have tried several different approaches and no matter what I do I can't get it to work properly. I'm really not sure if I'm missing something basic (I have tried to cover my bases here) or if something is glitchy with the add-in right now. 


I have ensured the axis and airfoil chord are perpendicular to each other, on separate planes distanced from each other, tried multiple orientations and just about every variable I can think of. To my dismay I have not been able to get the foil to simply wrap about the central axis. 


I've attached a few screen shots below for reference.


It would be a major plus if this would work.


Thanks and hope we can resolve this,


Message 42 of 95
in reply to: m.deloyer

Is there any chance you can share a screencast of your attempt(s) ?


I tested the cr*p out of this feature for a whole day and it works every time for me - so I'd *love* to see how you managed to break it!


Meanwhile - here's how to get it to work: - note that I had the 3D sketch option enabled - perhaps that's the clue I didn't test enough?


Hmm - now that I look closely, your "Axis" line looks weird to me (dots and dashes) - I think my code is expecting a regular line or a construction line for the definition of the "axis" I'm talking about: if you created some other kind of line, do please tell me how you did that, so I can do the same and adjust my code to understand those too.

Message 43 of 95
in reply to: m.deloyer

p.s. when you get it working, you need to use the "surface" environment to work with it (it's not flat).


Normally, you'll "loft" it from in there, or do a surface extrude maybe - either way, you'll probably want to "patch" it after as well - this sometimes works on the sketch, but not always.  If it fails - turn off the sketch and patch the ends of the extruded/lofted surfaces themselves instead.


What are you making?  If it's something like a propeller, I've got that code working already, although not perfectly (is hard for user to use, and is a bit set-in-it's-ways regarding which planes you need to be working on for it to work OK). I'm happy to share that if you like (and happy to learn your workflow in case I can make my prop code better as well)

Message 44 of 95
in reply to: OceanHydroAU

I've updated the beta - if you're having issues making props or turbines, this update might help; it's got some problems though - mainly it throws errors on props and turbines when you've chosen axis/chord/blade lines along planes that I wasn't using myself when I tested - so if you hit those problems, watch my screencast and copy the directions I drew my lines to avoid those:


This new version attempts to auto-patch and auto-stitch the output, usually leaving you with a working body right away.



Install Instructions:


(file from above screencast )


On the upside - the code which inserts foils has been radically overhauled and *should* now let you place them in more-or-less any orientation on any plane (there's a few bugs hanging around in there still, but not many).


My dream for this code is to make it fully parametric (big task), with a facility to let you incorporate "compromise" (section thickness-to-chord ratio minimums, multiple simultaneous operating conditions, display of section performance/polar data, etc)... but that's a few months work I need to find time to dedicate to complete... I'll get there eventually!  (Except for "parametric", all that is already built - it just needs incorporating into my add-in)


Message 45 of 95
in reply to: OceanHydroAU

SORRY EVERYONE - I put the wrong link above!!  Here is the correct one:


Message 46 of 95
in reply to: OceanHydroAU

I did a screencast showing how to upgrade your PC to the beta snapshot:-

(you simply extract the .zip over the top of the existing files, then restart the add-in)

Message 47 of 95
in reply to: OceanHydroAU


while trying to import an airfoil from a dat file, I'm getting this error:


I hope there isn't anything wrong with the dat file so please find it attached...


Message 48 of 95
in reply to: andi2102

You need to tell the code where to insert the import by selecting a regular sketch line and a point on it.


I think my code incorrectly lets you select a point that's not a sketch point - so basically just long-click and select a sketch point, or put the line away from any construction points.


Sorry about that!! 

Message 49 of 95
in reply to: OceanHydroAU

Thanks - now I did as you recommended but I'm getting a different error:




Message 50 of 95
in reply to: andi2102

My fault was probably that I started from outside the sketch environment. It works, if I start it from inside a sketch.
Message 51 of 95
in reply to: OceanHydroAU

FYI, as of today, I cant get this to work, using defaults. 



Message 52 of 95
in reply to: OceanHydroAU

Hi simon - that problem results from my "ignorance" of what a construction line was when I wrote the code - I included that in the list of things I let you select without realizing they're not part of a sketch.

I'll fix that when I find time for my next update (or, if you've not already updated, do an update now and it should fix itself - I did fix some already).

Meanwhile - do not select construction lines or points - only select *sketch* items and it will work OK.

Message 53 of 95

Please could you explain how to update to the latest version on MacOS?  On a Mac the code appears hidden in a .bundle "file".

Message 54 of 95
in reply to: LesWarrington



I have not experienced any problems following this attached screencast.





Message 55 of 95
in reply to: OceanHydroAU

I recognized the "propeller outline selection" in the options but I did not see any effects for different blade shape splines. So what does this option exactly do or is it not functional yet?

Message 56 of 95
in reply to: tobieddh

Hi Tobias

The video is to update Airfoil Tools under Windows. (admittedly Windows under VMWare & MacOS).  My system is pure MacOS and therefore the file structure is different.

Message 57 of 95
in reply to: LesWarrington

If I remember correctly, I basically copied the files to the Airfoil tools directory which should be:

/Users/<username>/Library/Application Support/Autodesk/Autodesk Fusion 360/API/AddIns/AirfoilTools


Or you can figure it out by clicking in Fusion on: Tools>Add-Ins>Scripts and Add-Ins> Add-Ins and right click on AirfoilTools to open the installation folder.


Best regards

Message 58 of 95
in reply to: tobieddh

Hi Tobias,


The outline (which should be a spline and is a mandatory thing to select) has no purpose at the moment - this is the start of me adding a new feature which will do the same work that the "formula" box does, except in a user-friendly visual way.


I released the beta version with this included because there's some bugs fixed in the underlying code of that.


I ran into a "snag" working on that code - I support any orientation you want for the airfoils (and did a monumental amount of testing to ensure that works 100%), and I attempted to do the same for props and turbines - but the 3D projection math needed for that became too much of a nightmare, and as soon as I got it working in one orientation, it always broke things in another.  Grr.  SO... I'm also in the middle of a re-write of all that as well (I'm going to do all the work in X/Y *first*, then transform the entire end result to where you want it, instead of trying to cater for all the 3d-projection math in-situ....)

Message 59 of 95

Hi Les,


The add-in should download the latest release update by itself, and next time you open it, will offer to self-update then.


The beta release (that installs manually) has a few trivial bugs fixed, but introduces more bugs at the same time too and has a few unfinished features; unless you're doing propellers and happy to live with the orientation restrictions I mentioned, the beta is probably not needed for you.


If you do want to install on a mac, you just extract all the files into the folder it uses.  I develop on Mac - mine is "/Users/cnd/Library/Application Support/Autodesk/Autodesk Fusion 360/API/AddIns/AirfoilTools"  (but Autodesk change the location for these things frequently).  Search for the "" file if in doubt.  e.g. "find / | grep"

Message 60 of 95
in reply to: OceanHydroAU

Hi Chris, do you have an update on instructions? I eventually got it to make a blade, but looking at your example, especially your youtube video with the yellow pla wind turbine blade test, the blades I generated look wrong for the orientation, and there was no ability to add the hub/shaft diameter. Wanted to make a mini wind turbine on 3d printer, but struggling a little. Fantastic work though, considering the complexity of what it is doing. 🙂

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