Helicopter rotor head desk toy

Helicopter rotor head desk toy

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Description

A handsome little desk toy demonstrating how cyclic and collective pitch control work on a helicopter rotor head. Probably both the prettiest CAD model I've ever made and the most severely overengineered casual design project I've ever done.

Modeled 100% from scratch in Fusion 360, down to the last bearing ball.

Demonstration only. Not for flight use.

The three levers don't represent pilot controls; they're direct inputs to the swashplate. Together they control the pitch of the rotor blades in both "collective" (constant throughout the rotation of the head) and "cyclic" (going up and down as the head rotates) components. You get to do the control mixing in your head. Move the outer levers together and the middle lever in the opposite direction, and you get roll. Hold the middle lever still and move the outer levers in opposing directions, and you get pitch ("pitch" in this instance referring to a "pitching" motion of the vehicle, not to blade pitch). Move all three levers together to drive the collective pitch, which controls overall lift.

While it would have been neat to model the sort of rotor head you might find on a full-size helicopter, those things just don't scale very well. Most of the neat dynamic features on a full-size rotor head wouldn't really work on a small static model. Blade pitch control (or "feathering") is arguably the most important part anyway -- the other degrees of freedom in a "real" rotor head (and their associated control and damping mechanisms) are mostly there to make the aircraft more stable and less likely to be destroyed immediately by unbalanced dynamic forces.

Anyway, the short of it is that this is much closer to what you'd find on a modern RC helicopter than on a full-size one.

In the model aircraft world, this would be called a "DFC" rotor head because the upper part of the swashplate is rotationally coupled to the shaft by the pitch links, rather than by a separate scissor mechanism. It would also be called a "flybarless" head because it lacks the mechanical stabilization system found on conventional heads, instead relying on electronics and software to do the job. It would probably also be called a "dangerous" head because the feathering shafts just thread directly into the hub without any damping. Did I mention this is not for flight use?

Lend me a 5-axis machining center and I'll build you one.

Comments
User_x176
2 months ago

hi :) im new here XD and cant i dowinlod the cad files? my friend Tell me that. that "toy" is awesome!!!!

User_x176
over 1 year ago

Cool look! nice for offices! anyways, could you help me out by liking my project?

User_x176
over 1 year ago

Hi - very nice desktop learning tool. Looks great. And I don't like "DFC" control either.
I fly R/C helis myself (Gaui X5 and BEAM Avantgarde 600) and I noticed you got nick and roll mixed up.
When you leave the middle lever alone and move the others opposite ways, you get roll movement.
Moving the middle lever one way and the two others opposite, you get nick (elevator).
Cheers
Erik (from Bornholm, Denmark)

User_x176
almost 2 years ago

Awesome Model!!!

X176
almost 2 years ago

Great work Greg! The model is stunning!

X176
almost 2 years ago

Hi Greg, i love this project. The details and the functionality are awesome! :-)

More from the publisher
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User_x176
Greg Courville
United States of America

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