You can change the visual and functional representation of the Propeller in OpenVSP by altering the Design Mode from “Blades” to “Disk” to “Both”. Choosing “Blades” mode allows the full 3-D propeller model to be shown in the workspace including all surfaces, caps, and tessellation as defined in the design or Blade curves. “Disk” mode changes the visual representation to that of an actuator disk with the same diameter as the Propeller. “Both” will display both the full 3-D model and the actuator disk. As you’ll notice, “Blades” mode can begin to update slowly as more control points are added to the model due to the highly complex parameterization of the Propeller component. In fact, your model may quickly become unwieldly if there are too many points and the propellers are nested with other Parents. However, there is a simple way of making multiple changes to the Propeller at once without waiting for an update each time. Changing the Propeller to “Disk” mode removes the need to visually update the propeller model with each parameter change and enables you to alter almost any parameter instantly. In this way, you can very quickly alter the design as intended and then get back to work. Once your changes are complete, change the Design Mode back to “Blades” and the 3-D model will appear with your updates.
We will note here that the Design Mode is useful in determining which type of propeller/rotor/disk run you would like to choose in VSPAERO. “Blades” mode enables the Rotating Blades option while “Disk” mode enables Actuator Disk. Whichever of these modes is chosen, the other will be greyed out and deactivated to avoid attempting to run with incorrect geometry inputs. This will be covered in more detail in the VSPAERO tutorial sections.