I've been playing with the Falcon standalone program a few times since I downloaded it in November.
Overall I really like it. It's simple, gives me the basic analysis that I'm looking for, and it's relatively easy to use (although my biggest complaint, er suggestion, is with the UI.)
While using Falcon, I import a model and look at it from different sides, viewing different slices of airflow. The most frustrating aspect is that when I orbit the model with my mouse the whole model & environment gets tilted and its very difficult to get it level again. It seems like the UI is designed specifically for a touchscreen/iPad. Since I can't do multi-touch gestures, orbiting and rotating the model back to level are very difficult to do.
My background is Mechanical Engineering; with a little manufacturing, machine design experience, but mostly working with buildings/facilities and CAD/BIM management.
So far, I have never NEEDED to do wind tunnel analysis on my job. If I had access to something like Falcon in the past I probably would have used it, but I haven't absolutely needed it at my jobs.
However, on a personal project I will definitely use it. I'm planning to someday convert a car to be fully electric. When looking for a donor vehicle I want to determine the aerodynamic drag of various cars to find the one(s) with lowest drag. This is where I see myself using Falcon the most.
The hardest part will probably be obtaining accurate 3D models of specific vehicles that I can import into Falcon.
So, my first suggestion is to at least add a view cube or some other way to orient the view to specific preset 3D views.
My second suggestion is to accept/import as many 3D model file formats as possible. I want to use existing models as much as possible, regardless of their source. It would be extremely useful to have a high degree of interoperability in Falcon.
What are your first impressions after using Project Falcon? Anyone can feel free to jump onto this thread with your own thoughts!
It's great to hear your feedback. A big reason we do these Labs releases is so that we can collect feedback and ideas from people like you when the software is still young and flexible.
I see from your signature that you use Revit. Have you tried the new Falcon plug-in for Revit? This should help with some of the UI concerns at least since it is embedded in Revit itself.
I agree it is kind of hard to level my view back out in the stand alone version. I think orbit arrows would be a good thing to have, or even be able select view like top, R side, L side, bottom.
However I do like it alot even though im having trouble with jpeg images and their resolutions once imported into Falcon.
I just tried the Revit plug-in.
The 3D navigation is MUCH better through Revit than the Falcon standalone version. Although it still feels a little like it is being created for a tablet/iPad. Specifically; the dialog boxes that I have used so far are semi-transparent and don't have actual buttons. Instead I have to click on the grey words "Apply" or "Close." This is somewhat inconsistent with other dialog boxes in Revit.
So far, my biggest complaint is that it has crashed twice now. Which is a 100% crash rate, being that that I have only tried to use it twice this morning. Once was right after installation and other programs were running. The second time was after a full reboot of the computer and minimal programs were running (No email, no web browsers. Skype was running, plus Buzzsaw and a couple others in the background.) Both crashes were a complete & instant close of Revit with no warnings/errors/dialogs.
The second crash was when I hit Apply in the Domain Size dialog box. I THINK it also crashed at the same step the first time, but I 'm not sure.
I'm running it in Revit (One-Box) 2013, on my Alienware MX17 (Win7, 16GB).
I also have my Winders interface set to "Classic."
So, suggestion # 1 is to use dialog boxes more consistent with the host program (Revit, in this case).
Suggestion #2 would be better stability.
A third suggestion is to be able to type in the numbers in the dialog boxes. For example: I would like to set the wind direction (or speed, plane height, etc.) to be Exactly 270 degrees. When using the mouse to move a button around a dial I can only get close to 270 but not exact. This is annoying to me as an engineer. Most other fields in Revit can be accessed by simply typing a number.
The fourth is more of a question: I am using the family "RPC Beetle.rfa" that has been included with Revit installations. Unfortunately, the wind calculations seem to ignore it and pass right through.
The other entourage families included with Revit (specifically the van and semi-truck) are working, but not the beetle.
Fifth; I wish it would remember the domain size. It seems to forget the size if I change the model.
Finally, there seem to be some graphics issues. I'll attach a couple screenshots.
Overall I like it. if nothing else, its fun to play with!
It isn't useful at this time in the present incarnation. The math is incorrect and the results are of no use. See my images to see why. In particular, it is not able to correctly compute airflow anywhere close to the boundary layer of surfaces. This then produces false turbulence and other improper calculations that over a short period of time produce an entirely wrong result over the entire simulation. This is especially bad when computing airfoils.
Increasing the simulation resolution helps to some degree but not enough to make it useful while still retaining fast enough computation to claim "near realtime". Also, at present it crashes when the resolution is increased much above what the controls allow. The higher it is raised the more unstable it becomes. Naturally, increasing the resolution makes it much slower too.
I am running a six core AMD 1090T at the equivalent of about 20 ghz total with 16 gig of ram so calulation capability is reasonable.
Are you from HSM? This is Evan.
I am trying to get somebody here to at least reply about the apparent issues. Otherwise I may have to retract my comments on HSM about how much I like this software.
Oh well. As for the ability to orbit the model, all it needs is the ability to lock an axis, especially the Z (vertical axis) while orbiting. If you could lock any of the X, Y or Z axis using the keyboard then setting the camera point of view precisely would be simple. If those keys combined with the ctrl key were used to instantly set the camera to face that axis then it would be even better. At the very least, if just one key were present to reset the view front and centre that would be very handy too.
I should mention that there are interface elements that can be unlocked if you know how but I won't say how since it seems that they don't wish to release that info as yet. Note that I have nothing to do with Autodesk, I just happen to be a programmer and nosy too.
Thank you for your feedback.
I appreciate the interest in improved navigation, in particular being able to align to an axis or normal to a plane.
Regarding the stability issues and the graphics issues in Revit, the team is at least now aware. There has been other feeback about stability issues in the standalone version and work is being done in that area.
As for the results ElderOne showed, the stepped profile is due to a mesh that is coarse relative to the geometry, as I'm sure you are aware. With greater mesh resolution the model will better capture the geometry of the airfoil and behavior of the airflow near the wall. For a uniform cross section airfoil, a 2D analysis may be worth considering. That will allow you to assign a much finer mesh. Bear in mind this is a labs project so there will be some limitations in what you can do in 3D.
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