10/7/2014 See the most up-to-date information about the Linkage program here: linkage-mechanism-designer-and-simulator

I have a spare minute while I’m running a debugger and waiting for the my program to get to the bad data it is supposedly processing. The program usually runs a few minutes with optimizations, etc…, enabled. It may take a while to get to the bad spot in the debugger.

I have this program I wrote, a mechanical linkage editor and simulator, and I’m adding sliding connectors. Originally, it only had rotating connectors like what is found on a folding chair. Sliding connectors are more like the piston in an engine. The interesting thing is that a piston is not the only way to configure a sliding connector. I can imagine a set of links, connectors, and sliding connectors, that form a very complex mechanism.

When writing the simulation code for the standard rotating connectors, there was a simple rule about how to move any link. I’m not at all sure how to simulate the sliding connectors. A link could have ten sliding connectors all sliding along it. It is a given that at least one slider and one connector on the “shaft” link need to be fixed, or two sliders need to be fixed to start with, but there might be some odd behavior where it takes more than one or two connectors to figure out where a link must be moved to work properly.

Here is a picture of the linkage2 editor and simulator program (for Windows):

Linkage2 Editor Window

There are no sliding linkages in the picture, it’s just an example of a linkage using rotating connectors.

Here is a link to the Windows installer file for the Linkage program: Linkage Download Page. This is free and comes with some documentation and some interesting samples.