• Flight Club Aerospace

Fuselage Design 2 Week Update

Circular beams, gussets, and more

Regrettably, the Design Team had a lapse in its documentation over the past two weeks because we were making (and sometimes reverting) changes at too rapid a pace to document in an efficient way. This post will serve as a summary of all progress over the past two weeks, as well as a preview of the future modifications we hope to implement in the next week or so.

Circular Beams

The first fuselage prototype was designed using a 1”x1”x1/8” square beam profile as a placeholder. The new truss design uses a 1” x 0.065” circular beam profile which matches the profile of the 6061 T6 aluminum tubing we plan to use in the construction of the airplane. We settled on using circular tubing as square tubing made any tapered beams very difficult to attach. With this profile in place, we could start to get some initial weight estimates. While our current design is obviously lacking a lot of critical beams, gussets, and panels, Onshape estimates its weight at 29.3 pounds. We hope the final design can remain below 40 pounds.

Nose “Hood” Design

We added a notch shape in the nose to create a “hood” under which we can install our electronics to support power and avionics. This will give us easy access to the most critical electrical components of the airplane, making software updates and other electrical revisions much easier once the fuselage is constructed.


Sheet Metal Gussets

We began designing the different gussets and sheet metal pieces which will hold together the fuselage. This took a lot longer than expected since nobody on the Design Team had any prior experience with Onshape’s sheet metal feature and it took a while to master.


Future Plans

As can be seen by the (very professional) sketch above, the Design Team has some major changes planned for the fuselage. Hubert Chen joined the Design Team on April 10th and immediately had some great suggestions on how to improve the truss layout for the fuselage. The red beams above represent new beams that will be added and the little spiral squiggles mark beams that will be removed. A primary issue with our previous fuselage design was that it had too many trapezoids and not enough triangles which made it heavy and weak. This was because we had been designing the fuselage to resemble the welded truss frame of the Legal Eagle without utilizing the potential benefits offered by a gusset design.

*Editors note: the thought processes and design choices presented in this article don't necessarily represent those implemented into the final design and are subject to change. Flight Club Aerospace is a group of amateur students with no formal education in any fields of engineering. We present this information for educational purposes only, with the understanding that it is not to be re-created without adequate professional oversight and mentorship. For our latest designs and updates, please see our most recent blog posts.

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