Linkage Mechanism Designer and SimulatorFebruary 6th, 2013 (updated November 20th, 2013)
Linkage is computer aided design software used for quick prototyping of linkage mechanisms. The number of operations needed to add a link and get it connected to other links in the mechanism has been minimized to the lowest number possible, making this program ideal for “throwing together” a working machine. The mechanism is edited and animated in the same window allowing for quick analysis and modification while working on a design. It is simplistic for a CAD program but that is the intent.
Linkage Window and the Theo Jansen Mechanism
Mechanisms can be designed with pivot connectors or sliding connectors. Inputs to drive the mechanism can be rotary or linear. The number of connections on a link and the number of links is virtually unlimited.
This is a Windows program that has been developed and tested on Windows 7. It has also been run on some Windows XP systems with the most recent service packs installed.
Linkage is a personal development project and features sometimes change quickly when new idea or new interfaces seem better than the old ones. This page is new and I will be updating it often for the next few weeks to include more information about the program.
Animation of a Backhoe
Some of the Features
Work like a vector drawing program.
Have a modeless interface with no mouse tool selection for any operation or action.
Let the user create any configuration of links and connections that they want.
Have a visual style that matches mechanisms shown in many books.
Run at 30 frames per second when simulating the mechanism visually.
Read and write .linkage2 files that use the XML format.
Move, rotate, scale, stretch, cut, copy, and paste, any set of selected connectors and links.
Align selected connectors in many ways including at right angles, any angle, in a parallelogram or rectangle, etc.
Optionally snap connectors to a grid and to other objects during editing.
Zoom and Pan.
100 levels of undo of all operations.
Play, stop, pause, step the simulation at any time during editing.
Use pivoting connectors as well as less common sliding connectors.
Create any number of rotating and/or linear inputs.
Control input positions manually during the simulation if desired.
Print hard copies of the mechanism.
Record the simulation in an HD video file.
Save a picture of a mechanism in JPEG or PNG format.
Assign drawing capability to any connector to visualize its path during simulation.
Open and simulate a wide variety of included sample mechanisms.
Automatically display dimensions of parts in mm or inches in a way that is suited to manufacturing individual parts.
Draw dimension/measurement lines manually.
Draw points and lines separate from the simulated mechanism.
Images of Various Mechanisms and User Interface Elements
Exported JPEG Image of Backhoe Sample
Watt Linkage with Measurements, Points, and Lines.
Various Types of Alignment Tools
Hint Lines Show How Alignment Operations Will Behave
Automatic Dimensioning on Klann Linkage