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Mechanical Kinetic Simulation / Animation CAD Software

Posted: Wed Jan 12, 2022 11:35 am
by FaradayEnt
I'd like to design a mechanical toy comprised of gears, levers, cam followers, and maybe springs. Trying to find some free or really inexpensive, preferably desktop, not cloud based) CAD software in which I can simulate or animate the design.

Things I'm looking at:
- FreeCAD ( - Might do it, but I really don't like the FreeCAD interface. Have to keep relearning it every time I get into it.
- FreeCAD from AR-CAD ( Why they named it the same I don't know. Programmed in smalltalk.
- Linkage ( ... simulator/) Looks good, but doesn't do cam following AFAIK.
- OpenSCAD ( Does animations, but code based interface.
- Arts programs? I've used Gearotic for gears, and have played a little bit with Auggie, but I don't recall support for cam following. Does it?

Any other possible solutions out there?

Re: Mechanical Kinetic Simulation / Animation CAD Software

Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:10 am
by Hessel Oosten

Re: Mechanical Kinetic Simulation / Animation CAD Software

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:18 am
by FaradayEnt
Hi, thanks, but didn't see much about animation or simulation in QCad. Ultimately it looks like FreeCAD is the best free solution even though what's happening in animation is hidden and might be hard to debug if there's a problem.

Or... I might forget about software for the cam stuff and just do it the old fashioned way.

Re: Mechanical Kinetic Simulation / Animation CAD Software

Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2022 1:50 pm
by ArtF

Animation of such things tends to be very difficult. I know, all the videos make it look easy..but it isnt. Your either
a very good cad/cam person who can do all that , or your not. I am working on Gearotics next release which is to
do such things, but it will still be some time. I have basically written a game engine coupled with Bullet Physics
and have spent the last few months writing generalized jacobian constraints for gears in general, whether they
are bevels, planetaries, helicals,..etc, so they can be placed and show what would happen if you hit run on such
a device. Im designing it to allow for multiple motors, freely moving gear shafts , and other toys to simulate in a
3d environment.

It will be a few months before I release anything, many hurdles still need to be overcome , but its starting
to impress me. :)