3 Ways for Beginners to Design Rocket Nose Cone in Fusion360 (with Pictures)

Introduction: 3 Ways for Beginners to Design Rocket Nose Cone in Fusion360 (with Pictures)

Designing a rocket nose cone in Fusion360 is very easy and an absolute beginner can do it in minutes too!
I start by assuming you have Autodesk Fusion360 installed already and a basic dimension or equation describing your nose cone.

  • If you have only dimensions, follow METHOD 1: steps 1-3
  • If you have an equation describing your nose cone, and you can generate a .csv file, follow METHOD 2: steps 4-6
  • If you have only the equation and no .csv file, follow METHOD 3: Step 7

So let's get designing!

Step 1: Design a Nose Cone With Given Dimensions

Suppose we want to design a 75mm wide nose cone, with 5mm thickness and the apex angle of 20 deg.

Step 2: Making the Base

  • In the design mode, go to create > cylinder. Select the base plane.
  • Draw a cylinder with the 85mm (75+2*thickness) circle and length to connect to the body (here10mm).

Step 3: Creating Length

  • Create > Extrude and select the upper face of the cylinder. Specify length and angle (-20 degrees here). Select join and ok.
  • Modify > fillet and select the head end of the cone. Manually adjust the fillet radius (5mm here).
  • Modify > shell. Select the bottom face and specify thickness 5mm. Click ok.

Here's your rocket nose cone ready!

Step 4: Designing From Equation and .csv File

  • Using the equation, you can get a possible set of points in various solvers like MATLAB, Excel, Google Sheets, Python, etc.
  • If your equation only gives 2 (x,y) coordinates for each point, create a new column for third (z) coordinate and set it to zero.
  • Export the file as .csv (It gives you "comma-separated values")

Step 5: Importing Points to Sketch

  • I would be using the Wikipedia page for getting equations and MATLAB to generate the .csv file.
  • Suppose I make a power series cone with n=3/4, R=37.5mm, L=100mm. Refer the code as given in the picture.
  • In Fusion360 Design mode, go to Tools > Add-ins > Scripts and Add-Ins
  • In Sample scripts, select "ImportSplineCSV" and Run it.
  • Browse the required file location and open the file.
  • You can see the cone sketched on the screen.

Step 6: Creating the Cone

  • Now, in the Design mode go to Surface > Create > Revolve.
  • Select the sketch profile of the cone, choose the central axis of the cone (the axis about which you want to revolve).
  • In the type drop-down menu, select full (it creates 360°angle). Click ok.

And Voila!

Step 7: Other Ways to Design the Nose Cone With Equation

Fusion360 inherently doesn't have the option to use equations directly to sketch a curve. But there are other ways to do so.

  1. If you know Python you can use Fusion API to sketch curves. It will compile in the Python environment you have or will download one.
    You can go to Tools > Add-ins > Scripts and add-ins. Create a new script and Edit it. Code the equation (in Python) and generate the points. Come back and run your script.
    (Since this tutorial is for beginners, I'll refrain from elaborating how-to code).
  2. The other way is to use plug-ins. I particularly find this plug-in very useful. Now, this is a third-party add-on that you can use after installing. Refer to the link and use it! (It won't work for Mac OS ).
    In Fusion360 go to Create Sketch. Select the plane. Create 'Equation Driven Curve'. Input the equation and click ok.
  3. For the power series nose cone we designed in step-5, I recreated the equation as in the picture and create the sketch using the above plug-in. Follow the step-6 to generate the nose cone from the sketch.
    * Caution: For the sketch created by this plug-in, you can't change/modify the equation later on.
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