Is there a free software for windows that simulates gear movement?
Ideally just the ability to move gears and assign them a different # of teeth.
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This one may be a solution for you, complex in design: Algodoo
It is free (the previous versions were not). It handles gears but many other automation tasks such as virtual robots and is targeted at schools. This one is easy to use since it is for teachers/students. There are videos on the site.
PROPERTIES of ALGODOO
Functionality: With Algodoo you can create simulation scenes using simple drawing tools like boxes, circles, polygons, gears, brushes, planes, ropes and chains. Easily interact with your objects by click and drag, tilt and shake. Edit and make changes by rotating, scaling, moving, cutting or cloning your objects.
Physical Elements: You can also add more physics in your simulation like fluids, springs, hinges, motors, thrusters, light rays, tracers, optics and lenses. Algodoo also allows you to explore and play around with different parameters like gravity, friction, restitution, refraction, attraction, etc.
Analyze and Visualize: For deeper analysis you can also show graphs or visualize forces, velocities and momentum. You can also enhance your visualization by showing X/Y components and angles.
Algobox – Sharing Scenes: In Algobox, our scene library with over 50 000 scenes, you can easily save and share your creations with friends or browse and download other user made scenes. Algobox is easily accessed from within Algodoo or from this website under Scenes.
Community: With a large and active community, engaging educators, parents and kids you can discuss and share your thoughts about Algodoo.
Technology: Algodoo is based on the latest technologies, from Algoryx Simulation AB, for interactive multiphysics simulation, including variational mechanical integrators and high performance numerical methods.
Algodoo runs on Windows and Mac OS. Algodoo is optimized for the Intel® powered convertible Classmate PC and interactive whiteboard systems like SMART Board.
A quick check shows lots of people using Blender and rigid body physics from the game engine to model gears - a really good tutorial can be found here and you can see what you can achieve as a video here.