When it involves complex entities in SOLIDWORKS, we usually use the spline tool. However, in the case of parabolic curves or involute the spline tool may not give us the accuracy and flexibility we need for a particular geometry.
SOLIDWORKS has provided a way in which we can add complex Profiles such as that of an airfoil with 100% accuracy into the graphic area.
How to add curves through the XYZ axis.
This process would be explained using an airfoil profile.
First, we have to get a set of data for an airfoil which can be found from any airfoil database on the internet. We downloaded the dat file which contains coordinates of the airfoil we would be bring into SOLIDWORKS.
Next, we open this dat file in Microsoft excel and select the delimited on the first tab the pops up
The delimited splits the airfoil data into two columns.
Next, we select space on the next tab.
Then it opens the data on the excel sheet. But on the sheet, we have just two columns but we need a third column because we have three coordinates to be filled, so we fill the third column with zeros.
But if you notice the values for the airfoil, it indicates that the chord length is very small, at a value of approximately 1. So by multiplying by the required chord length we will obtain new values
Let’s save the data as a text file.
Note not all the data should be saved, just the three new columns.
Then in SOLIDWORKS, click on the insert button on the menu bar which drops down a menu where we will select Curve and Curve Through XYZ.
This opens a menu where we insert the values we have for the airfoil
Clicking ok to generate the airfoil on the graphic area
Before we can add any feature to the airfoil shape we have to use the convert entities tool.
We select the plane in which the airfoils lies and select the convert entities tool from the sketch toolbar.