Wednesday, April 11, 2012

NASA Vehicle Sketch Pad

NASA's  Vehicle Sketch Pad (VSP) was released in January 2012 as an open source program.  VSP is an easy-to-use CAD software package dedicated to the rapid design of 3-dimensional solid models of airplanes, UAVs and other aircraft types.  More information about VSP (OpenVSP) and links to download a free copy can be found at the following page:  The following video demonstrates the ease of use of VSP:

Additional tutorial information can be found at the following link:

VSP exports to a variety of formats including .stl files.  This allows you to export your solid model for additive manufacturing or analysis in Stallion 3D and  other CAE programs:

Vehicle Sketch Pad and Stallion 3D (or similar program) are ideal tools for rapid aerodynamics conceptual design and analysis of aircraft.  Stallion 3D  can import the aircraft geometry in a single step using the .STL import function under the Design menu:

It's easy to import a STL file from VSP into Stallion 3D

Once the aircraft is imported in Stallion 3D, it will generate a grid and analyze the aircraft with a single click.  The user can also select the speed and other parameter for the aircraft.  In the following case for the Boeing 747-400, the speed is 290 meters/second and the angle of attack is 5 degrees:

This analysis shows the surface pressure and the Cp at various span locations.

Once you design and analyze one vehicle in VSP and Stallion 3D, it is hard to stop.  The following pictures show the pressure on the surface of two of the other complete aircraft that comes with VSP:

Pressure on surface of Cirrus aircraft included in VSP.

Pressure on the surface of  Cessna aircraft included in VSP

In short, NASA Vehicle Sketch Pad is a fun program to download and design aircraft.  It is even more fun to use Stallion 3D to analyze the aircraft and test the design in a digital wind tunnel.

More information can be found at
What is your favorite tools for rapid design and analysis?

Do not hesitate to email or call me at (352) 240-3658 if you have any questions. Thanks for reading and best wishes.  Patrick.

1 comment:

  1. Downloading ..Thanks for such programs ..sounds Great!