Sometimes I get an idea to build something mechanical and I would like to simulate it first.

Basic things - like gears and stuff I don't know the words of.

I have made a mspaint sketch that shows approximately what I want; it is simulating that a piece of wood gets pushed into another piece of wood and that causes an object to move on a slide.

enter image description here

When the red wood is pushed into the blue wood both objects should move but I've only badly painted one:

enter image description here

I need a program to simulate such stuff- any ideas?

  • Any particular budget?
    – Tymric
    Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 21:10

2 Answers 2


Quite a steep learning curve but Blender 3D allows you to model things in 3D and includes a [physics engine][2] that allows a high degree of simulation for an example see here.

Other Points:

  • Free Gratis & Open Source
  • Cross Platform
  • Can be used for a lot of other things up to creating games or movies
  • Lots of online tutorials, etc.
  • 1
    Agree, probably one of the most intuitive and powerful tools. Otherwise it would be simulation software for specific tasks (scientific simulations) or advanced VFX simulations, both with an even steeper learning curve and also very pricey.
    – John
    Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 11:59

I notice your drawings are two dimensional. Box2D is a very popular open source physics engine, probably best known for being used within Angry Birds. It's been ported to various platforms including JavaScript.

Also see Daniel Shiffman, The Nature of Code, Chapter 5. Physics Libraries, for a good introduction to the general topic.

Sorry if you were looking for something with a front-end to it - it sounds like the sort of thing that ought to exist but I'm afraid I'm going to have to plead ignorance on that score.

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