If fluid flow is a primary driver for your design project then Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is likely to be a cost effective way to help meet your goals. You could outsource your CFD to consultants, but in the long run it usually pays to do it yourself.

Dust Collector CFD SimulationDust Collector CFD Simulation

Assuming you have a good grounding in the fluid mechanics of your discipline then CFD should not present much of a challenge. If your fluid mechanics knowledge is a little rusty or limited then it is worth doing some homework so you can assess the validity of results, whether your own or outsourced. When you take it upon yourself to perform your own CFD then you will typically find that CFD vendors are set up to provide initial consultancy-like support to get you up to speed quickly. In relatively short order you will become competent in running your own CFD simulations with minimal help, although help is still usually available throughout the time you have an active CFD license/subscription.

Velocity Vectors For BlowerVelocity Vectors For BlowerDust Collector CFD Simulation

Purchasing CFD used to be a difficult process. However, there are now companies that support hassle-free automated purchases of short-term licenses online without having to do the tedious salesman dance.

While there are many scare stories about the computing resources required by CFD, typically you can get started with a CAD-level workstation or high-end video games PC. The level of computing power available in today's PCs is comparable to the super computers of less than a decade ago. While many CAD systems don't take full advantage of multi-core processors, CFD has no such limitations. CFD has been a beneficiary of parallel computing resources almost since its inception.

Streamlines For CycloneStreamlines For CycloneDust Collector CFD Simulation

Once you are confident performing your own CFD simulations you can explore your design space quickly and efficiently - performing multiple parameter sweeps and 'what if' simulations, all the while keeping tight control on the access to your proprietary designs. In contrast, if you choose to outsource your CFD, then you would have to negotiate a contract that bounds the scope of work and that strictly upholds the security of your proprietary material. The bounded scope and external company barriers for outsourcing mean that serendipity is difficult, whereas doing it yourself allows you to explore the entire design space, even around extreme fringes if you so chose.

In the process of performing your own CFD simulations you will likely gain a much better understanding of your design space through the powerful visualization provided by most CFD systems. The final results portfolio from an outsourced CFD project might not convey a complete picture of the options tried and, just as important, those that failed. The process of performing and assessing CFD simulations can be useful in its own right, i.e., seeing for yourself what CFD can and can't do well.

Streamlines For FiltersStreamlines For FiltersDust Collector CFD Simulation

Having completed your first design project with CFD then the next one won't seem nearly so daunting and you will no doubt be that much more productive.

DIY CFD has never been more viable. Go for it.


For more details on the CFD simulations shown above see "CFD For A Complete Dust Collector."