About ten years ago, I was building a robot and I found a demo of a 4-bar linkage design program that would synthesize a mechanism based on an input curve. It suited my needs but I wanted to do more. I ended up wanting to write software for editing and animating mechanisms but I had no background in that field or in any field related to mechanical design.

So I wrote some code and let it sit for 8 years until a few years back, I got a fully functional and useful program written.

Then I did some research…

Sure, I did some internet searching back when I was writing the software for the first time but not much was available at that time and I was focused on free software.

I recently did some more research and didn’t skip programs that cost money. I’m not really surprised but it turns out that there is a package that has been around for a long time that I apparently copied. I only say that because there are enough similarities between my program and theirs that it might look that way. I actually had no idea about their software until recently.

SAM can be found here: http://www.artas.nl/

SAM looks like a nice package. I dislike what looks like a modal interface but that’s just a strange preference of mine. It doesn’t seem right to decide to change a property of a connector then click on the connectors that should have that property. I base this assessment on seeing a video where connectors are changed to ground connectors by first selecting something in the toolbar then clicking on the connectors. I could be wrong and there could instead of some key presses happening.

SAM sells for about 1425.00 Euros. That’s a pretty steep price for the software but maybe it’s not out of line considering some of the more advanced features that are in that package. I will certainly admit that it does what Linkage 2.x does and a lot more. In fact, it would take more than a few hours of development time to get anywhere close to the number and complexity of features available in SAM. Heck, I can create mechanisms in Linkage that don’t work and show no errors so I am certainly not building a commercial package.

So hats off to Artas Engineering Software for doing what I wanted to do and better and being able to sell a few copies!

But if you want some of those features and you want them for free, give Linkage a try.