I have a CAD mock-up of 16 screws attached to a planetary gear system that rotate and revolve around the central axis. Now suppose there is light source far away and is oriented such that direction of light is perpendicular to the central rotational axis. I am looking for software that will be able to calculate the amount of light hitting the surface of the screws as they rotate and revolve (and get blocked by other screws).

Also, appreciate if you know a software that helps me animate the screws alone without the gears.

If it is still unclear about the position of light here is a bit more explanation. Imagine a top view of our solar system, such that the planets are the screws and the tip of the screw is coming towards you. Then the light source would a directional light coming from the center of our galaxy towards our solar system.

Edit 1: The software should be able to run on Windows 10. There is no price limit at this moment.


1 Answer 1


I am not sure about getting the amount of light out numerically (I am sure that it is possible) but Blender 3D can import from CAD export formats such as DXF and use them to generate a 3D model. You can then add one, or more, light sources, add motion paths to objects, the light(s) and the viewpoint (camera). It can then render as single images or several movie formats.

Of course to be able to render the scene the light intensities have to be calculated but I am not sure how accessible the information is by default (it might be worth a question on blender.stackexchange.com).

Blender is free, gratis & open source, cross platform but does have a learning curve.

The results can be amazing! Gears (Resized from https://mir-s3-cdn-cf.behance.net/project_modules/disp/3313fe14854041.56289d3a17244.gif)

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    thank you for the information. This is close to what I am looking for in terms of animation. I still need to get the amount of light on the surface, maybe like a heat map. This answer does help me in creating the animation, so thank you. Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 15:54

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