Automated modeling and kinematic simulation of mechanisms

E. Sacks*, L. Joskowicz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


An analysis program is presented for rigid part mechanisms, such as feeders, locks and brakes. The program performs a kinematic simulation of driving motions and part contacts, with a limited dynamic simulation of gravity, springs and friction. It produces a realistic, 3D animation and a concise, symbolic interpretation of the simulation. It derives the kinematic motion equations for a large class of mechanisms, including ones with complex part shape, varying part contacts, and multiple driving motions. It avoids collision detection during simulation by precomputing pairwise part interactions. It uses a simple model of dynamics that captures the steady-state effect of forces without the conceptual and computational cost of full dynamic simulation. It is demonstrated that the simulation algorithm captures the workings of most mechanisms via a survey of 2500 mechanisms from an engineering encyclopedia.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)106-118
Number of pages13
JournalCAD Computer Aided Design
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1993
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Elisha Sacks is supported by the US National Science Foundation under grant IRI-9008527, and by an IBM grant.


  • configuration space
  • design automation
  • mechanism analysis
  • mechanism simulation
  • model-based analysis
  • modeling


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