Design Center

A lot of literature are available on how to design a fixed wing aircraft. Most of the tools, like Advanced aircraft analysis, are based on the design theory as described by Roskam, Raymer etc. These traditional methodologies on fixed wing aircrafts have evolved over several decades but are not suitable for low Reynolds number flow regimes, typical for most small UAVs. As a consequence, these design methods result in aerodynamic and performance characteristics that can be skewed and misleading for small UAV applications.


The design center at MAV unit has been established to cater to the design needs of fixed wing Mini and Micro UAVs and flapping wing MAVs. Apart from the low Reynolds number flow problems, the highly 3D flows due to low aspect ratio wing and propeller dominated flow over the wing makes the aerodynamic characterization a challenging one. The design team uses commercial codes like ANSYS-Fluent and open source tools like XFLR5 to obtain the aerodynamic characteristics and AVL, Tornado for obtaining the stability derivatives.


This facility houses high end work stations for the CAD and CAE needs, drawing release and rapid prototyping using 3D printing technology for a quick assessment of the design. This machine can also be used for making wind tunnel models as well as flight worthy models if designed properly. The foam cutting machine enables the unit to develop the flight model in no time and less cost. This lab houses a software tools and equipment that allow researchers to quickly build and modify MAVs. The lab even has a laser cutter with the ability to cut soft materials like Balsa wood, Cardboard, Acrylic etc. 



  • Design, analysis and development of fixed and flapping wing MAVs.
  • Implementation of open source design tools for conceptual and detailed design.
  • High fidelity computational analysis.
  • Advanced Prototype fabrication.




RPT (Rapid Prototyping)

The fused deposition modeling (FDM) process constructs three-dimensional objects from 3D CAD data. The process starts with importing the STL file of the model into a pre-processing software, which is then oriented and mathematically slices into horizontal layers varying from ± 0.127 – 0.254 mm thickness. After reviewing the path data and generating the tool path, the data is sent to the FDM machine.

Figure 1: FDM process

Figure 1:FDM process

Figure 1-FDM process1


Machine Specification


Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)

Materials used

ABS-M30 (Black, Blue, Grey, Red and White) and Nylon( Phase 2)

Build envelope

355 x 254 x 254mm

Layer thickness

From 0.127 mm to 0.330 mm

Support structure

Soluble SR 30

Achievable accuracy

±0.127 mm or ±0.0015 mm/mm

Power requirements

230 VAC, 50/60 Hz, 3 phase, 16 A/Phase



Figure 2 Laser Cutting Machine

Figure 2: Laser Cutting Machine


Laser type

Co2 DC Glass Laser Tube

Wave Length

10.6 um

Supply Voltage

AC 220 V + 10%

Re-positioning Accuracy

 0.1 mm

Cutting Speed

0~30000 mm / min

Engraving Speed

0~64000 mm / min

Cooling Method

Water Cooled

Work Environment

Temp: 0 c ~ 45 c. Humidity: 5% ~ 95%

Acceleration Speed

1 G

Working Area

600×400 mm

Graphic File support




Figure 3 Foam Cutting Machine

Figure 3: Foam Cutting Machine

Effective horizontal travel

380 mm

Effective vertical travel

225 mm


4 Independent Axis (Will Cut Tapered Wings)


4 Axis Pulse and Direction on Printer Port


NEMA23 2.8A 3.3V


110 V 200W

Cutting speed

Software Dependent – up to 20”/min


4800 Steps per Inch

Techniques applied in this facility

  • MDO (Multidisciplinary Design Optimization)
  • CAD Modelling (SolidWorks)
  • Computational Analysis (ANSYS Fluent)


Figure 4 Overview of the design methodology


Last updated on : 27-09-2020 12:43:13am