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

Message 1 of 95
17486 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 81 of 95
in reply to: jmshrtn

I had a similar issue with too much camber when designing foils.

I'm not an expert but I think the tool is designed for generating as much lift as possible, as efficiently as possible - the calculations targeting anchored turbines.

For aircraft however you want as little lift as you can get away with, while still being able to fly. From what I remember this target lifting force isn't currently an input field for the calculations, and I don't know that there's a work around though I love to hear it if there is!

Message 82 of 95
in reply to: OceanHydroAU

This is amazing- we're working on getting the turbine tool to work- but we're having issues.  I see this is an old forum- any chance it's still in use to get feedback?

Message 83 of 95
in reply to: jmshrtn

Thanks (belated, sorry!) for that bug report - I'll update my code to avoid it in future - for the time-being, the problem seems to be coming from an autodesk file, and I'd guess it's related to the large number of points.  Selecting my option to use a specific number of points (i.e. re-spline the input) should avoid that problem?


I'm not sure about your first question.  I am working on another add-in which allows you to analyze airfoils to produce animated pressure plots, polars, and other performance displays based on your chosen range of input conditions (with sliders, so you can see how performance changes when conditions do).  Not much help for you to know that *now*, but, if you're happy to send me stuff, I can run my alpha-code on your stuff here and send back some results?  Best way to reach me is my support email in the product, or my gmail account ( -  username OceanHydroAU ).


If you turn on the "Full" info option in Airfoil-Tools add-in settings, and show the "TEXT COMMANDS" window, then create a representative foil you want - all the data it spits out at the bottom is what I'd need to run an analysis.  Also send me whatever other candidate foils you're looking at, so I can compare those as well.


I'm happy to chat about your project - I'm doing more-or-less the exact same thing myself (except faster 55m/s) - trying to design the smallest thing possible that can run on a single 18650 cell, to see how far I can get it to go (I'm hoping for a full hour) - there's LOADS of considerations here!!!





Message 84 of 95
in reply to: wiebe.baron

Hi Wiebe,


You're close - for lifting foils, the target was max lift for least drag (almost always generating laminar-flow profiles), but for symmetric foils (e.g. struts) the target was least drag.


It's not specifically "targeting" any use case; it's built to work out the conditions relevant to your own exact use case, and then find the best-performing shape from my massive database of CFD-Optimised derived solutions.  (The original use case was paramotor propellors, but (featurecreep) I added water (and any other gas or fluid for that matter) support too... so yes - Ocean Turbines have been built and tested well also).


Like you note - my solution is single-target optimised.  An ideal wing for an aircraft would be at least 4-target optimised (#1. enough lift at launch speed to take off, #2. minimal drag at cruise for range (with, exactly as you pointed out, just the right lift for your target MTOW),  and non-lift-producing outer or tip sections (horizontal (or not) winglets) to aid in #3. vortex drag reduction at cruise, and $3. to aid in stall recovery at slow speeds.  With some sensible back-and-forth on all the above, you could then pick a wing span and area to suit your weight needs...


The "workaround" is the subject of some additional updates and add-ins I'm building, or in the meantime, let me know what you're trying to do and I can run my optimiser manually for you and email you back the results (see above for my contact details, and the info needed to launch multi-point optimiser runs).

Message 85 of 95
in reply to: rmunseyYX92V

My support email address for the add-in (or my mail  OceanHydroAU at gmail) is the fastest way to reach me (I check this forum every few months - in the old-days, it used to email me with replies, but stopped doing that, hence the delays)


I've had a few requests for prop and turbine help, so I'll do a new forum posting about that shortly.

Message 86 of 95
in reply to: OceanHydroAU

Updates!  How to check you've got the latest version.


Hi All, there's a lot of new features, bug fixes, and improvements since the original plugin was submitted to the store. Follow these instructions to update to the current version (there's multiple updates needed):


From in Fusion360, click the UTILITIES Tab, then the AIRFOILS dropdown, then Settings:-


** If there is no Settings option - you've got the oldest original release only - see the end of this post **


Click the Check Now box


Follow the update instructions (might take a few minutes). After the update, stop and re-start the addin:-


Pres the Shift-"S" button (or, click the UTILITIES Tab, then the ADD-INS dropdown, then Scripts and Add-ins):-


Click the Add-Ins tab, click on AirfoilTools, then click Stop:-


Then, with AirfoilTools still selected, click Run again:-


Then repeat all the above steps again until there are no more updates left.




** Original version Note **


The first release should check for updates, and offer them to you any time you open any of it's UI options.  If (after at least a day and at least one reboot of your computer) you don't see any updates, here's how to get the current version manually:


Grab the latest download from here:

Extract all those files over the top of (and replacing) your existing AirfoilTools installation, which can be found by right-clicking on it and then "Open File Location":-



Alternatively, you might be able to find it here:

On PC: %APPDATA%\Autodesk\Autodesk Fusion 360\API\AddIns

On Mac: $HOME/Library/Application Support/Autodesk/Autodesk Fusion 360/API/AddIns/


Tags (1)
Message 87 of 95
in reply to: OceanHydroAU

If you're making Props or Turbines:

  1. start from this sketch and
  2. see these instructions

Message 88 of 95
in reply to: OceanHydroAU

Thanks for the update, but I can't upgrade using the instructions here.
There is no settings menu. 
I've reinstalled the add-in from the autodesk store and got this.

The version reads this.


I had somehow setting menu showing up earlier, because I

must have somehow upgraded to a later version.
It was something like 20221222 version or something.
I was not able to upgrade the version 2023xxxx I see on your screenshot.
I am using your marvelous Addin, please recommend a way of upgrading it.



Message 89 of 95
in reply to: kursat.uvez

Try clicking the big AirFoil icon itself, and let me know if it asks you anything about updating at that point?

It's supposed, during install, to include the updater, which is supposed to auto-prompt you when you first run it to do all those updates.  If you're not getting that far - probably the updater itself is blocked? has the .zip file you can use for the latest version - you should be able to simply extract all of its contents over the top of wherever autodesk has put your addin already (find the file


Either way - let me know if the AirFoil icon click worked to ask you to update or not, so I can update my update instructions 🙂  [and yeah - sorry I forgot that the settings option wasn't in the first release!]

Message 90 of 95
in reply to: OceanHydroAU

I don't know if I'm writing in the right place? I would like to ask for help!
I have a problem and I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I want to make a propeller, I also set the axis settings according to the video. Y points up, but I still can't select the axes properly because it throws an error message. Someone help me, what am I doing wrong? This is such a brilliant tool, I wish it would work for me.
Message 91 of 95
in reply to: gaben33Y9B3

Hi @gaben33Y9B3,


no worries i had problems getting it to work as well, acutally i did not find a tutorial video and used one in this thread.

So from what i could see your version seems to be quite outdated so i recommend updateing it. 

After the update check the video below and it should work.


Message 92 of 95
in reply to: OceanHydroAU

Hi there, I was using your addin, and now its missing from the create drop down menu. Its still installed. not sure whats happening.

Fusion 360 2.0.17244 arm64 [Native]

Airfoil Tools   v1.20200623 db0


Message 93 of 95
in reply to: OceanHydroAU

Hi, I cant see the constrains tab ( with RPM etc ) while making turbine is it deleted or is it something on my end?

Message 94 of 95

how do i make a flat bottomed wing profile? everything its giving me is way too curved for me to make use of at all

Message 95 of 95
in reply to: OceanHydroAU

Hi Chris,


I've been using Airfoil tools to import DAT files and have few bugs to report.


- The first bug is that if you select a 'join point' on any foil and then select the 'constrain' option the import will fail with a 'Sketch geometry is over constrained' error.


- Without the join point it generally works, but often ends with an overflow error:


It's possibly related to dat files with larger numbers of points, I got it with the MH32 8.7% file from which I believe has about 70 points.


- The third is that selecting the 'camber line' option often results in strange geometry such as:



- Finally if you select 'constrain' and 'camber line' and the above error occurs then you won't get a camber line at all.


(Another minor issue is that when constraints are added they remove any dimension set on the chord line).


Some more parametric modeling would be great, even if just to resize foils. Making changes in a complicated design is painful. I currently set the chord to 1 and then go in to the parameters and multiply everything by that chord parameter, so I can then scale the foil later.





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