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Which software can be used to prototype/design robot parts (mechanical parts, body, gears, etc)>

I have some crazy idea I would like to try (quadripedal walking robot, animal-like), but I'd like to design the mechanism and test (to some degree) the mechanism in some kind of simulator before I start wasting money on parts/materials. What tool could I use for that?

I'm only interested in mechanical design (chassis + servo/motor placement + cogs/gears), not in electronic design. I'm not interesting in robot control software, because I'll be probably able to slap something like arduino onto it and program behavior I want (experienced programmer)

Details (what I'd like to see):

  1. Should work in 3d. I.e. finished system should be viewable in 3d.
  2. I should be able to cut materials like plywood/metal, drill holes, place gears on it, etc.
  3. It would be nice if it had some kind of part catalog so to place a gear/cog I wouldn't need to design it from scratch.
  4. It would be nice I could test if parts can actually move. I don't need full-blown simulation, just to see if gears can turn or if they'll get stuck.
  5. Not interested in electronic circuitry, just need mechanical parts, but should be able to place servos.
  6. It would be nice if it could produce blueprints.
  7. cheap/inexpensive, if possible.

Basically, I should be able to construct robot mechanism in it (by placing/connecting parts like gears,cogs, motors, springs), or some kind of clock, and test (to some degree) if it actually works.

I know that I could use blender3d for that, but it wasn't exactly designed for this purpose.

I also heard that solidworks could be used for designing mechanical parts, but it is too expensive, especially for one-time-project.

Any recommendations?

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  • $\begingroup$ I created a video where I show how to get the moving graphics of a mechanical arm youtu.be/crJXUlzJ918 $\endgroup$
    – LCarvalho
    Feb 14 '18 at 23:26
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You can use google sketchup. It's free and should be allow you to do most of what you want.

Solidworks would most likely fully match your requirements above. Since it is a one-time project, you could consider evaluating Solidworks by requesting a free trial.

Good luck.

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  • $\begingroup$ I created a video where I show how to get the moving graphics of a mechanical arm youtu.be/crJXUlzJ918 $\endgroup$
    – LCarvalho
    Feb 14 '18 at 23:26

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