We took a look at SimScale’s cloud-based offering in the last issue of DEVELOP3D (the February issue – it’ll be online soon) and came away impressed with the simulation tools breadth of capability – it covers FEA, CFD and much more.
Alongside the technical capabilities of the system, the team behind has also recently reconfigured its offering to centre it on a community and shared practices and experimentation (alongside the private projects you, of course, can create).
If there’s a factor that’s holding back simulation being used by a wider community, it’s not so much price (there are some very cost effective solutions out there these days), but rather the translation of the designer and engineer’s knowledge of their product set and experience and how that is translated into the, often arcane and abstract, language of computer based simulation.
In short, folks know the parameters and variables of how their product works, what they often lack is how to accurately represent that in a simulation package. What information (that they typically know already) goes where? What are the best approaches to take? What’s the best practice to simulate a specific instance?
This is where SimScale’s revamped, community led approach is interesting. Simulation is typically a small community and one that, while it likes to share information between itself, isn’t too good at spreading that information further. SimScale’s community aspects foster that kind of experimentation – both with its team supporting and the larger community.
An excellent example is the recent Drone Simulation workshops it has been running. Drones are big business and that’s not likely to stop. The industrial applications alongside consumer interest means that lots of folks are curious – and there’s no set of folks more curious than engineers. Particularly when that’s a small helicopter.
The workshops take the form of a webinar, then followed up with a set of tutorials and homework. Each stage of the simulation process is broken down by SimScale’s team, explanations of not only how to carry out the various simulation studies, but also explanation of the core principles behind it. I spent a couple of hours over the last two days’ lunches going through the first set of tutorials to learn a little more about CFD – something that I have a working knowledge of, but the finer details have always escaped me (if I’m brutally honest).
Alongside the tutorials, SimScale also just launched a design competition. The goal is “The goal of this challenge is to optimize the design and performance of a 3D Printed Mini Quadcopter.”
There’s a bunch of prizes available, but what interests me about this is it gives you a set of data with which to experiment and of course, SimScale’s tools to simulate the effects alongside your 3D modelling tool. As an exercise and perhaps to increase your knowledge of both the application and the science/technology behind drone flight, it’s fascinating.
As my good friend, Stephen Holmes, says: “Every day is a school day”.
It’s also worth noting that SimScale’s Managing Director, David Heiny, will be speaking at DEVELOP3D LIve in March in our Product Development and the Cloud track – so register for the day or sign up for the live stream if you can’t make it.