Drones wshop banner

SimScale Drone Challenge

Background

WHAT IS THE GOAL OF THE DRONE CHALLENGE?

The goal of the drone challenge is to optimize the design and performance of a 3D Printed Mini Quadcopter. In order to preserve the inspiration of the original design (provided by GrabCAD user Nathan), you may only make modifications to the propeller blades and/or to the arms of the structural frame, this includes changing the shape or material of these parts.

Using the SimScale platform and the tutorial materials provided, you will show how the performance metrics of the drone can be improved using optimization.

THE PROBLEM THE DRONE CHALLENGE SHOULD SOLVE

The important issues that the drone challenge will address with regard to drone design are as follows:

  1. Increasing the lift (consider how this could affect the drag)
  2. Reducing the weight (volume of material)
  3. Maintaining the structural integrity of the frame (i.e material yielding and large displacements)
  4. A 3D printable design

JUDGING CRITERIA

The designs will be judged based on improving the performance metrics of the stated problem:

These metrics are critical and therefore your drone design should be validated using the SimScale engineering simulation platform. The SimScale platform runs in your web browser so that there is no installation necessary.

Drone challenge - CAD

Public Project - Drone Challenge

Drone challenge - part

Technical Requirements of the Drone Challenge

I. CAD models of the 3D Printed Mini Quadcopter:
  1. The original CAD model that is to be optimized by you. (Download here)
  2. A simplified version of the original CAD model which has been prepared for simulation – bolt faces have been smoothed, the electronic parts removed, and the volumes combined into one compound. While it is technically possible to include all of these features in high detail, it also increases the computational expense without significantly affecting the results. That’s why we highly recommend that you use a simplified version of your optimized design when doing the simulation on the SimScale platform. This simplified CAD model is a good example of what you should strive for. (Download here)

You may modify the propeller blades and/or the arms of the structural frame. These are highlighted in the image below (due to symmetry)

CAD model of a drone

II. Materials for 3D Printing:

Since the drone design should be 3D printable, you may choose from three different materials.
Materials

III. Information about modifying the propellers:

Changing the length, shape, or the angle of attack of the propellers will change the aerodynamics of the drone.

Simulation Setup

  1. If you are new to the SimScale platform we recommend that you get started by watching the Drone Workshop Webinar 1.
  2. The geometry and mesh of the original drone (Design 1) are provided in Tutorial Session 1 – Level 1. Complete this tutorial to obtain the Force Plot for the original drone design.
  3. Upload your optimized geometry to the SimScale platform (hint: take advantage of symmetry and simplified frame geometry). Meshing is explained in detail in Tutorial Session 1 – Level 2. You will need to define the ‘rotating zone’ of the propeller using an additional cylindrical solid region in your CAD geometry. Return to Tutorial Session 1 – Level 1 to obtain the Force Plot for your optimized propeller design.
  4. Consider rotational speeds of 525, 1050, 1575, and 2100 rad/s

Result Submission

Please submit a screenshot of a Force (Lift) vs. Rotational Speed graph to document your final results and to compare the original design and your optimized design.

IV. Information about modifying the arms of the structural frame:

Think of ways that the arms could be modified to reduce the weight of the frame while maintaining the integrity of the structure (i.e avoid material yielding and large displacements).

Simulation Setup

  1. If you are new to the SimScale platform we recommend that you get started by watching the Drone Webinar 2.
  2. See Tutorial Session 2 – Level 2 to set up the simulation considering preloaded bolt connections
  3. Tutorial Session 2 – Level 1 describes the appropriate result control settings for post-processing the Von Mises Stress results and the WarpedbyVector displacements of the arm.
  4. Consider a lift load of 2.25 N

Result Submission

Please submit screenshots detailing the von Mises stress results and the maximum displacement of the arm for both the original design and your optimized design.

Submissions

This must include the following:

1. Link to your public simulation project, including the geometry of your modified drone, the mesh as well as every simulation run in your result interpretation

2. A brief summary of your work: Please describe your design modification, the simulation setup and how your modifications improved the performance metrics (increasing the lift of the drone, reducing the weight of the frame, the structural integrity of the design, 3D printability)

3. Post-Processing images (for both the original drone design and your optimized design) which prove and explain how your design modification improves the performance. Please submit at least five different pictures.

Submissions for the Drone Challenge close at 11:59 PM CET on March 15, 2016.

SUBMIT YOUR PROJECT HERE
Untitled

Awards

1st place

3D printed assembly of your drone (all parts) + radio controller + accessories + 1 Year SimScale Professional Subscription + SimScale Professional Training

2nd place

3D printed assembly of your drone (all parts) + radio controller + accessories + SimScale Professional Training

3rd place

3D printed assembly of your drone (all parts) + radio controller + accessories

Additional Information

JUDGES
Anna Flessner Community Manager
David Heiny Co-Founder and Managing Director
Milad Mafi Marketing Project Manager
Nathan Kau Designer