Does any software exist to solve the forces and displacements of spring, rope and pulley systems? Ideally including non-circular pulleys.

For example I might want to solve the forces in a compound bow, which has springs, pulleys and rope.

  • Have you looked into games? I remember back in the day The Incredible Machine had ropes and pullies in them - I doubt that's what you really need, but maybe a tool like Unity and building your requirements in it?
    – Lockszmith
    Nov 3 '21 at 3:24
  • I had a look at things like Box2D and Bullet but it looks like they're mostly just rigid body simulations. I've written my own code now anyway.
    – Timmmm
    Nov 3 '21 at 12:15

Not as easily as point and click. The easiest way would be using a CAD software package with a simulation add-on like solidworks or autodesk inventor.
If you want to get really detailed, look into a simulation framework like modelica (foss) or Mathworks's simscape. You have to abstract the sistren with these but they are capable of very advanced simulations.

  • I don't think any of the software you mentioned supports ropes and pulleys though, as far as I know.
    – Timmmm
    Oct 4 '21 at 10:12
  • SimScape has pulleys in the multi-body package. It is probably the best tool to use if you are intent on doing an accurate physics model and correlating the data. If you need something quick, SolidWorks will absolutely do what you are describing, you just have to draw the rope by hand. and set the material properties.
    – Gordon
    Oct 4 '21 at 13:46
  • Ah you're right, though it seems like it only works with circular pulleys and probably couldn't be used to actually solve a system where they pulley can move. Never mind, my system is simple enough that I can write a solved myself.
    – Timmmm
    Oct 4 '21 at 14:20
  • 1
    I have tried to use it with moving pulleys before.... it was not pleasant. Im sure you could write a custom component which would be non-circular and have a moving reference but it's not for the faint of heart.
    – Gordon
    Oct 4 '21 at 14:49

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