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Mechanism Simulation with Configuration Spaces and Simple Dynamics

Report ID:
February 1992
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We present a practical simulation program for rigid part mechanisms, such as
feeders, locks, and brakes. The program performs a kinematic simulation
of the behavior produced by part contacts and input motions along with a
dynamical simulation of the behavior produced by gravity, springs, and
friction. It describes the behavior in a compact, symbolic format and
with a realistic, three-dimensional animation. The program is much more
efficient than traditional simulation. It examines roughly 1/6 as many
degrees of freedom because the kinematics module precomputes the configurations
where parts collide. It uses a simple model of dynamics that captures the
steady-state effect of forces without the conceptual and computational
cost of dynamical simulation. We demonstrate that our simulation
algorithm captures the workings of most mechanisms by surveying 2500
mechanisms from an engineering encyclopedia.

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