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Hot Wheels-Sized Wind Tunnel Proves Aero Works on a Small Scale, Too

From miniature F1 cars to pickup trucks, this YouTuber tests it all.
Dreamcars Diecast Youtube

Model cars are one of the fundamental building blocks of a budding car enthusiast. Nearly everyone who shares the obsession also had (and possibly still has) a sprawling collection of die-cast model cars that were used, loved, and taken on plenty of adventures. But what if you were to own them as an adult, with adult money? Well, you would build a wind tunnel for them, of course. Like YouTuber Dreamcars Diecast has.

Dreamcars Diecast’s setup is homemade and extremely simple. It isn’t a wind tunnel per se, but a powerful fan, a fog machine, a black background, and some lights in open air that offers incredible results. While it certainly isn’t scientific, it’s actually useful and fascinating for understanding airflow on macro level. Yes, macro, not micro. 

Diehard fans of Formula 1 will know more than most about aerodynamics, and some might even listen to the engineers who have worked in F1 talk about things like laminar flow, flow attachment, vortices, and airflow structures. It’s incredibly hard to visualize these things without a deep understanding of the concept. And full-scale wind tunnels don’t tell the story visually, but through sensors and data, so you won’t see it there, either. That makes this 1/64-scale wind tunnel extremely unique.

Because of the thick smoke, you can see what the entire model car is doing. Everything from tiny F1 cars to pickup trucks is tested, and each is distinctly different in how they act. For example, the test of the Ferrari F310 shows very clearly how bargeboards guide air around the car, and how air attaches to itself behind the car. And thanks to the smoke, you can clearly see low- and high-pressure zones where the air is thicker and more energized. Meanwhile, the truck is draggy and turbulent.

Full stop, I’m adding a 1:64-scale wind tunnel to my to-do list. This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen, and it seems easy enough to do. 

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