Mechanical link CAD for all


Even though some of us don’t like it, building things for real requires a mechanical component. It might be something as simple as a case or even feet for a PCB, but unless you’re just writing software or playing with simulators, eventually you’ll need to build something. It’s a slippery slope between drilling holes for a front panel and attempting to build things that move. Sometimes it’s as simple as a hinge and a spring, or maybe it’s a full-fledged robot articulated arm. That is why [RectorSquid] builds Linkage, a “program that allows you to design and edit a two-dimensional mechanism, and then simulate the movement of that mechanism” (this quote is taken from the documentation.

The program has had a few versions and is currently above 3.15. To get an idea of ​​the program’s capabilities, the first video below shows an older version simulating a ball lift. The second video shows the actual mechanism built from the design. The associated YouTube channel also has more recent videos, showing a variety of simulations.

The software is for Windows and there is a different version to use if you are still using Windows XP. The documentation states that it also seems to work under Wine if you prefer to run it on Linux.

It will not replace the analysis functionality of a high-end CAD program. But the price is right and it seems easy to learn. If the simulation saves you from a false start on a project, it is worth more than the free price.

If you need inspiration for some simulations, here are some robot mechanics to try. If you want more, a lot more, check out these videos.