Design of the Week: 3D Printed Wind Tunnel

By on July 11th, 2022 in Design, news

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3D printed wind tunnel [Source: Danny Goiri / Reddit]

This week’s selection is the 3D Printed Wind Tunnel by Danny Goiri.

Goiri, who is based in A Coruńa, Spain, is an industrial design engineer student and part-time photographer. He was curious about how wind flows over objects. While most people would find this a curious question, Goiri decided to physically investigate the phenomenon himself by literally building a wind tunnel. Goiri explains his motivation:

“For a project I just wanted to understand fluids better so I made this experiment. Some people read books, others need to experiment, I prefer the latter than the former.”

Smoke flow pattern in the 3D printed wind tunnel [Source: Danny Goiri / Reddit]

A wind tunnel is a device used to test the aerodynamic properties of an object, typically to verify its drag. Iterative designs can be repeatedly tested in a wind tunnel to identify the best design. These days, a lot of that type of testing is done with sophisticated simulation software, but it’s still fascinating to watch a physical wind tunnel in operation.

Design of the 3D printed wind tunnel [Source: Danny Goiri / Reddit]

Goiri built the device to have a large fan at the “rear” of the chamber to create a low pressure zone inside to draw in air to create flow.

Smoke flow pattern in the 3D printed wind tunnel [Source: Danny Goiri / Reddit]

At the entrance to the wind tunnel he introduces smoke through a series of spaced vents. The “smoke” turns out to be from a vape. Goiri explains:

“Mostly improvised while working on it and a lot of try and fail. A lot of reyicled stuff like glass from broken fotoframes, motor from a broken drone, a atomizer from a vaper… It has a platform where you put the object and a linear rails with a scale gives you the wind drag.’Smoke’ is made with a vaper and wind is made with brushless motor on the back that is controlled by an ESC.”

Smoke flow pattern in the 3D printed wind tunnel [Source: Danny Goiri / Reddit]

The front of the wind tunnel has an anemometer that allows Goiri to measure the incoming wind speed.

Here’s a short video of the wind tunnel in action:

There’s even some rails inside that allow you to mount the object and measure the drag.

Is this totally usable as a precision wind tunnel system? Not really, Goiri didn’t quite do “all the math” and there are challenges with the dimensions and airflow if one really wanted to do serious investigations with the device.

Nevertheless, it does produce some extremely interesting visual effects as the smoke flows over the objects, as you can see in several images here.

Is the design available for others? Not quite yet. Goiri explains:

“I have the STLs but I’m hesitant to share them because they are not well designed. You see, this is a lazy trial and error proyect but I will try to collect them and share them. I dind’t expect anyone to be interested in this.”

The best part of this design is that Goiri was able to do this. Through trial and error, he used 3D printing to build a solution that helped answer his question, and that’s a power that every 3D printer operator has at their disposal.

Via Reddit

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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