Links to stuff on this blog

Use the Site Index of Projects page link above for an easier way to find stuff on my blog that you might be looking for!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Update on the big move

This week I can say that I have essentially moved everything from my old place into my new one. Although both homes are the same size I can't seem to get everything to fit into my new place despite having thrown away a lot of stuff!?! How exactly is that possible? I'm wondering is there is a Tardis Effect happening between the old place and the new one. HERE is an interesting link to The Tardis if you don't know what I mean. Here is a picture of how my garage is looking today:
As you can see I have a long way to go to get everything straightened out. Most of my time today was spent trying to get everything sorted out into piles of like material. Somehow despite trying to pack everything together I ended up with some screwdrivers mixed with saw blades and wire in boxes of wood debris. Anyway it all seems to be coming together in a slow methodical way.
Driving back and forth between the two places with car loads of stuff I have been thinking about a couple of projects that I would like to build. As I get everything in order I'll write about them. In the meantime I'll keep moving stuff and sorting it into neat little piles!

Friday, January 21, 2011

...and still moving...

Last week I mentioned that I am moving into a new home in a different city. I have to update that post and say that I am still moving... One thing I would like to mention is moving really really sucks especially when you have as much crap as I do!
Anyway that is all I have to say although I can add that I am almost done. I should be up and running this weekend and ready to continue experimenting and for sure building things for my new place. Stay tuned and check out the Site Index of Projects link at the top of my blog!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


This week I don't have a lot of exciting experiments or and garage projects to write about :-( that is because I am moving! Yes it's time to pull up stakes and move to a new town. I have been in my current residence for about 5 years now and I will miss living here but it is time to move on.
What this means for my Blog is that for this week about all I have going on is packing and moving stuff. I didn't see a need to take pictures and document it so I'll leave it at that. I have a lot of experiments and projects in the works right now so hopefully by next weeks update I'll have something more interesting to write about.

Until then thanks for checking out my blog. While you are here you might consider looking at the Site Index of Projects link at the top and finding something there to read! Stay tuned!

 - Otto

Sunday, January 9, 2011

More Ranque Hilsch Vortex Tube Experiments

Another busy week has gone by and I have not had a lot of time to experiment but I did manage to do a few things with the Ranque-Hilsch Vortex Tube experimental setup I built last week. As I mentioned this setup is not intended to actually create a hot and cold flow separation but rather to try and figure out what is going on inside the tube. Specifically I am interested in how the counter flow starts at the cone valve and determine how much influence the cone valve shape has on the counter flow. With that in mind I did a few computer simulations using SolidWorks and FloXpress. SolidWorks is a parametric CAD system and FloXpress is a fluid dynamics flow simulation add on to SolidWorks. Because it's a free add on to SolidWorks and not the full version there are limitations to what it can do but the results were interesting. Check out the cool picture below!
Vortex Tube Computer Flow Simulation
The picture above is a side view of a vortex tube that I modeled in SolidWorks. The blue spaghetti wrapped around the inside is the calculated vortex airflow going around the inside of the tube. The air is entering in the upper right and flowing round and round slowly making it's way to the left side where the hot end cone valve is located. If you are not sure what I am talking about click on the Ranque-Hilsch Vortex Tube Wikipedia link and read about what a vortex tube is!
A close look at the above picture shows that there is a counter flow down the middle of the tube that is headed to the right side of the picture. This would be the cold air, or air that is being cooled. Below is another picture from a better angle of the simulation and a video of not only the computer simulation in action but also experimental tests to image the airflow! Using lasers!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Vortex Flow Visualization With Smoke And Lasers

Since the last vortex tube that I built worked really well (and the previous one didn't) I decided that I would try to see what was happening inside a vortex tube while it is operating. This isn't an easy thing to do because the air inside a vortex cooling tube is swirling around really fast and you can't see it. I thought that I might be a neat idea to make a large transparent tube and inject smoke into it along with the air and use lasers to see the smoke swirl around. What a great idea!? Well maybe... a large tube would require a very large amount of air to get any thermal separation and at a large air flow rate the smoke patterns disappear fast and be hard to see. With that in mind I built a large transparent vortex tube anyway without any intentions of getting thermal separation and using a very low air flow rate just to see the smoke.
Vortex Flow With Smoke and Lasers

In other words this is just a model to get an idea of what is going on inside the tube and how the airflow interacts during the vortex formation, the cold plate orifice and the cone valve. One thing I realized right away is I need a high speed camera to really see what is going on.