Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Putting together a prototype/validation for CFD...

This is my second foray into building something mechanical, my previous venture utilizing only junkyard parts to build a testing platform for something similar to the Fanwing last summer (this is before I even touched CFD, and is incidentally why I picked up CFD). It ended up weighing 80 pounds, using a 5hp motor I had used in 8th grade to power a massive, hot roller mill for making rubber bands for a science fair project (10+ ingredient chemical recipes, fun times) and v-belt transmission for a cross-flow-fan test section of about a foot in diameter and less than 2 feet in span (picture of it here maybe if i remember). I guess it ended up not being very useful, but for the amount of metal-working and welding I had to do, I have at least a modicum of pride in it.

Anyways this time I used all of the internets to find non-junkyard parts for use in conjunction with a water jet cutter, which is awesome and I now have access to, to build a prototype for CFD validation. The design in Autodesk Inventor (which, unlike SolidEdge ST3, allows easy use and integration of variables for dimensions so you do not have to redo your whole design if you need changes in a few parts) looks very tight and I am excited to build it.

Anyways, I always post to share something that I think may be useful. For this post, it is some vendors in case you are planning to build something:
Main vendors:
- McMaster-Carr (Everything mechanical)
- Hobby King (Motors, batteries, etc.)
Places that had stuff that the main vendors did not have:
- SDP SI (Has a whole lot of mechanical stuff, but I used them for their extensive variety of timing belt pulleys)
- Fastenal (For 4-40 square nuts, and if you do not want to buy set screws or square nuts, etc. by the 100's or more)
- Digikey (Angle brackets; usually an electronics supplier; I bought PIC microcontrollers from these guys before; Use google to search their stuff)

Although this post feels pretty unsubstantial, it is but the calm before the storm of substance, if you will. I will be posting more about my mechatronic CFD validation, uhh... machine.

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