This 3D printed tabletop wind tunnel is ready for your model cars
Aerodynamics has always been an important part of automotive design. A lower drag coefficient means that it takes less energy for a vehicle to overcome air resistance, or more simply: better fuel economy. Normally, this type of measurement is carried out in a wind tunnel, a gigantic piece of machinery intended to simulate a vehicle moving at a given speed.
According to Creator, the design is mostly 3D printed and uses a number of recycled parts. For example, the rear-mounted fan is powered by an old drone propeller motor and draws air into the case from the front to minimize turbulence. As the cool air enters, it passes over an atomizer extracted from an old vaporizer to produce “smoke”. The cloud of smoke is then dispersed through a series of holes and through a mesh grate to produce the visible air currents that pass through the viewing chamber (which, by the way, is made of glass from frames broken photos).
It’s worth pointing out that this particular wind tunnel only measures airflow via a removable anemometer mounted on the front of the viewing chamber. There doesn’t appear to be any other measurement devices, like transducers capable of tracking downforce, built into the unit, so no advanced computational fluid dynamics here. However, you can still see how air flows around an object, which helps to understand the basic flow characteristics of the object. Plus, you have to admit, he still looks pretty cool.
The Redditor says they tested small aircraft parts like wing sections and rudders. Unfortunately, Hot Wheels cars are a bit too small, but larger scale models like the Dodge Viper shown in the video above make perfect test subjects.
If you’re looking to build your own at-home wind tunnel, the creator of this project says he plans to release the 3D printable files at a later date. Just keep an eye on their Reddit thread for your chance to download them.
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