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simulating heat distribution?

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I know 3d modelling. I can make a virtual replica of my laser modules.
What I need is a program which emulates heat distribution on virtual models. Like a virtual IR thermal imager.
http://blogs.solidworks.com/teacher...ites/3/6a00d83451706569e20176170c962c970c.jpg

I would like to know, if I have a 3d models of the laser, the laser mount, the heatsink, fan and the base plate, is there any program where I can load these models, tell the program from what material each is made, where the heat (and cold, if using a TEC cooler) is generated and where there are air flows (the fan), the room temperature and have it simulate the heat distribution over time so I can see if my setup provides sufficient cooling or find out what my duty cycle is (how long my build will last before overheating and damaging the laser diode)?

I know there are expensive professional CAD programs for such emulations, but I'm not an engineer and I just need this specific feature and not very accurate emulation either.
Is there something out there I can use?
 
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Re: emulating heat distribution?

May I ask if you are supplying the laser diodes directly from a voltage supply with only a resistor to limit the current? This easily kills laser diodes because their forward voltage drops when they get hot, and this causes the current to increase causing more heat and a lower forward voltage. Thermal runaway. Always use a constant current power supply

Autodesk has a CAD program called Simulation CFD that you can download free as a "student". You don't have to be a student though, just make an account with Autodesk. Autodesk Inventor is a great CAD program to go along with it
Simulation CFD: Simulation CFD Free Download | Free Student Version for Academics
Inventor: Inventor Professional Free Download | Free Student Version
 
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Joined
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Re: emulating heat distribution?

May I ask if you are supplying the laser diodes directly from a voltage supply with only a resistor to limit the current? This easily kills laser diodes because their forward voltage drops when they get hot, and this causes the current to increase causing more heat and a lower forward voltage. Thermal runaway. Always use a constant current power supply
Thanks for the warning.
I will admit my electronics knowledge is very limited, but after destroying one module in my laser projector I'm very careful.
I was thinking of using something like these:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSO70Y_TxYQ
Constant Current/Voltage LED Driver | eBay

Then I noticed the sticky thread talking about laser drivers. It's bookmarked and I'll read all of it as soon as I get the time.

Autodesk has a CAD program called Simulation CFD that you can download free as a "student". You don't have to be a student though, just make an account with Autodesk. Autodesk Inventor is a great CAD program to go along with it
Thanks mate. I'm downloading it now, I'll see if it's easy enough for me.
 
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