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Old 10-06-2011, 07:05 PM   #1
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Default Getting started with CAD and CFD

So... I have no legitimate experience with CAD software, but have decided recently that I need to do some CFD modeling. Im confident that given enough time I can learn how to use this kind of software, but Im not really sure what software to even go with. It needs to be free, very cheap, or easily pirated.
Ive looked into OpenFoam, but I dont currently have Linux on any of my computers which is why I havent tried playing with it already.

I figured this would be a good place to ask, since theres numerous geeks and engineers.
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:40 PM   #2
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Free is probably not going to happen if you want to get any commonly used CAD or FEA/CFD modeling.

I personally use Autodesk Inventor at work. Solidworks, ProE, Unigraphics are others. I think solidworks and Inventor are the easiest to learn on. its simple.

CFD is another story tho. IDK what your background is but If you do not know the fundamentals of fluid dynamics and mechanical engineering in general, the info you gain will probably be useless to you... assuming you can get a working model.

I only used CFD a bit in my senior year of college. You can find some tutorials online from universities, but it takes some baby steps.

Getting your model to mesh, making the correct assumptions, and getting your boundary conditions correct can be a pig pain in the ***. Also idk what you have for a computer, but anything somewhat complicated takes a big work horse. I have a 64 bit windows 7 machine with 24 gigs of ram at work for such things.

Fluent and Ansys are the most common. They are one in the same now I think.
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Old 10-06-2011, 10:03 PM   #3
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Interesting. I kinda figured Id be way out of my element with the CFD part. I was an engineering major at one point, learned the basics of fluid mechanics, a bit of fluid dynamics, but I switched into business before I got a real grasp on it. id say I understand the very basics of fluid mechanics at the most.

Just being able to do CAD would be great, so I suppose thats what Ill focus on. Maybe eventually get into CFD one day.

Would you suggest Solidworks to someone like myself? Just for the CAD aspect

I have a pretty decent computer:
AMD Phenom II x4 at 4 Ghz
4 GB DDR3 1600 Mhz RAM (could always go to 8 GB if needed)
ATI HD5770
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Old 10-06-2011, 10:20 PM   #4
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Your computer is plenty good for CAD and for basic CFD. Solidworks is the most common so yeah, Id say that is probably your best bet. I love inventor, but thats what I have used since highschool. CAD is really really easy to learn. you can probably get a student version pretty easily from somewhere. itll be good for a yr or so.
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:21 PM   #5
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Solidworks is probably the "easiest to come by" and easiest to use.

if you recall, there were some uses of it to do flow modeling for this site.

after using pro/e for ages and using solidworks for ages, i can firmly say pro sucks. even if it's called creo/pro or some bullshit.
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:55 PM   #6
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ProE sucks, Unigraphics is worse.

Also...there are very simplified versions of CFD in the higher end versions of solid works and even inventor now. They are well integrated and MUCH easier to use than a stand alone CFD program. You simply take your 3d model and go thru screens telling it what you want. I can pretty much guarantee you wont get one of those for free tho.
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Old 10-08-2011, 10:10 AM   #7
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I took a CAD class in HS. It was fun and interesting, but the teacher always had us doing the same thing. Lost interested pretty quick.
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Old 10-08-2011, 12:35 PM   #8
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Anyone use Catia? Everything you need all in one, from drawings to modeling to FEA, to vibrations. Does it all.
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Old 10-09-2011, 02:38 AM   #9
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pro/E def sucks, but like everything, once you get the hang of it then it isn't so bad. I'd go with solid works as everyone else is saying as it's more user friendly.
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Old 10-09-2011, 12:41 PM   #10
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It's been a while since I used but Fluent used to be the gold standard for CFD. Definitely not free or cheap though and it has a hell of a learning curve. As someone stated you really need to know something about boundary conditions or you're just peeing into the (numerically modeled) wind.
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Old 10-10-2011, 11:48 PM   #11
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SolidWorks has a great set of tutorials that will get you going.
I struggled with Pro/E but that was a different school, i would have badly failed a drug test, and I was doing an awesome job of pissing away my scholarships, so that may have added some difficulty to it.
SolidEdge is okay, but SolidWorks does everything better
I used to like NX, but they took out all the features I liked when they fixed all of the (nasty) bugs so it's kind of worthless.
I've heard Catia is used fairly heavily in the automotive industry but have no other experience with it.

If you know the basics of fluids and thermo you can get acceptably realistic results from Solidworks CFD, but keep in mind that only the more expensive version has a decent CFD package.
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:32 PM   #12
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bumping the **** out of this thread to ***** my pictarsss


the best CAD I ever used was Rhinoceros 3d aka Rhino3d. Its best for actual MODELING, not any engineering simulation stuff that SolidWorks may do. But it lets you create your surfaces/objects and then load them up into any other "big boy" cad software.

Here's a BMW I did in Rhino back in 2005:




and here's a test render in VRay:


curves used for the surfaces:
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:28 AM   #13
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Pretty slick!

I learned ProE in school and my first job had that. My boss was pretty good at it and learned a lot of slick ways to do stuff, right up to when they went to the Wildfire layout. Then I used Solidworks here at Jesel since '06 and, while more user frendly/intuitive, doesn't have the "cool slick" tricks that I used all the time in ProE. It could be that I never learned them, I'm sorta here by myself here and there's no Solidworks Guru here.
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:45 AM   #14
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I used Pro-e before switching majors, it was not hard to learn. They gave us a student copy good for a year, but that is long gone.
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Old 11-03-2011, 05:41 PM   #15
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I use AutoCAD 2011 at work.
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Old 11-04-2011, 05:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiataKenji View Post
I use AutoCAD 2011 at work.
Your life sucks. Bigtime.

**** 2d autocrap 2011. I am forced to use it on a lot of the old machines we sell. its painful and usually i take the few minutes and convert everything to a 3d inventor file.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:49 PM   #17
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lol i use autocad and inventor. i like inventor more tho..

never used solid works tho.
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Old 11-23-2011, 10:02 PM   #18
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I have a degree in CAD. I know at least a dozen systems, about half of which don't even exist anymore. SolidWorks and Inventor are so similar, I'm surprised that they haven't sued each other out of business.
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