How to build your wind tunnel in 6 step

Oliver
3 min readJul 1, 2023

Why would you need one?

If you are like me, an aviation fanatic, you must try to build one yourself. A wind tunnel provides the user with a controlled environment to study aerodynamics. A wind tunnel will allow you to conduct experiments and observe the behaviours of different objects in different wind conditions. I started by building a wind tunnel to investigate how to make a glider more efficient. I want to study how the different aspects of the wing, such as the dimensional, shape, and control surface, affect the efficiency of the glider. This will be explored later.

The material you will need:

  • one large fan
  • material to construct the wind tunnel, for small scale, cardboard is perfect
  • duct tape and hot glue
  • transparent material for the test section (acrylic or polycarbonate sheets)
  • pipe or straw
  • cutting device (knife and scissors)
  • small electronic scale

Step-by-step guide

  1. Determine the general dimensions and specifications of your wind tunnel. Consider the wind speed, test sectional size, and available space. The fan will suck the air out of the tube, creating a negative pressure inside. The fan is placed on the rear because the vortex created from the tip of the fan will interfere with your experiment. The design I have shown below is an open loop.

2. Once you are happy with the design on paper, transfer your design onto the cardboard. I suggest using a ruler and sharpie to draw out the design for an easier time to cutting out the design. You should have something that looks like this. I won’t give you the exact dimensions, so make sure you design it to fit your desire.

For a square fan, you do not need the connector. The connector is only for circular fans.

3. Cut out your design using an exacto knife. Place another sheet of cardboard under the cardboard you are cutting so you don’t cut your table or dull your knife. Make sure to take it slow and use one full cut.

4. Now you have cut everything, assemble the pieces using duct tape or hot glue. I found duct tape to be a better option. Make sure you leave one of the walls on the test section removable so you can access the inside to swap out the testing device. Also, consider cutting a small hole on the bottom test section panel that can fit a chopstick. This will connect the airfoil to the scale, showing you the lift force.

5. Now, use straws or pipes to line the honeycomb screen. This will straighten out the wind coming into the test section. Try out different designs to see which one you prefer.

6. After you have assembled everything, use duct tape or hot glue to fill in any holes, connect the fan up, and try it. Use an anemometer to test out your design. Did you achieve your desired airspeed?

Special note: I have included some suggestions on the things I found helpful. If you have any suggestions, please comment them below. In addition, the guide is very general to give you the fun of problem-solving and also creative freedom. If you have any questions, please post them in the comment section, and I will try my best to address them.

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