Cfdesign



Keywords: mcad,manufacturing cad,mechanical cad,product design,product manufacturing,mechanical design.
Description: The goal of every product design company is to shorten the time it takes to go from art to part. A crucial portion of any product development cycle is when design engineers send a model to the analysis department. Frequently there are a number of iteratio

The goal of every product design company is to shorten the time it takes to go from art to part. A crucial portion of any product development cycle is when design engineers send a model to the analysis department. Frequently there are a number of iterations, and the development cycle is lengthened and deadlines missed. However, the past few years have seen an an effort to put more analysis tools into the hands of design engineers so that the final model that is analyzed is much more useful. This upfront analysis has gained popularity in the areas of FEA and mold flow analysis, and now users of CFD (computational fluid dynamics) are realizing the benefits as well. One of the leading programs in this area is CFdesign from Blue Ridge Numerics, now in its seventh release.

After a somewhat tricky installation that requires setting up a license server via LMTools, the program opens to a simple user interface that features only two menus: File and Help. About two dozen tools are located at the top of the screen, mainly for different view settings and navigation controls. Like most mechanical CAD products, CFdesign also uses mouse shortcuts to rotate, pan, and zoom. There are also tools to create, open, and save files. Though the icons don't quite look like the ones found on a standard Windows toolbar, they're easy to figure out. It's also easy to customize the application by dragging or hiding toolbars. In addition, CFdesign houses what it calls a Feature Tree, which is reminiscent of those found in mechanical CAD programs.

Only eight other tools are required to run the software, and they are set up so that they follow the logical sequence of how you'll use them. Each time you select one, the options shown in an area known as the Task Dialog Region update to reflect the next tool. I found most of the dialog boxes well designed and easy to navigate.

Figure 1. CFdesign offers many different options when setting up the parameters of the CFD simulation.






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