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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Holiday with Autodesk Force Effect Motion

"Never mistake motion for action.”
Ernest Hemingway

As the holidays approached, I found myself finally taking a look at something I had told myself to look at, and "never got around to it". 

It was Autodesk's Force Effect Motion.

If you're not familiar with Force Effect Motion, it's a mobile app that works on Apple and Android devices, and allows for the laying out of mechanical mechanisms on a mobile device, instead of using paper and pencil, or even firing up a CAD package like Autodesk Inventor or AutoCAD.

A Force Effect Motion diagram - Courtesy of the Autodesk Force Effect Facebook Page.
So to satisfy my geeky curiosity, I imported two images to try out as backgrounds.  The first was a picture of the landing gear for a Douglas DC-3, the second, the extended and retracted positions for a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

I had a lot of fun playing with these two mechanisms.  It allowed me to sit on my couch, and analyze the landing gear mechanisms and better understand how they worked!

I can see how using this application can help get a mechanism conceptualized before firing up a CAD application and creating models that may have to be thrown away because part way through the process, it's realized that I've gone down the wrong design road. 

It's like creating a napkin sketch, but with the added benefits of being able to modify the diagram, and avoid getting food on your engineering designs! 

In conclusion, I have to say I wish I had tried this app out sooner, but now that I have, I'm glad I did.  The next time I'm at Planes of Fame, I'll definitely be getting  a few more pictures of landing gear mechanisms to try out! 

So here are a few videos.  First, a video from the AutodeskMFG YouTube channel, showing how to use Force Effect Motion.

And next, the videos I created, showing the DC-3 and B-17 landing gear mechanisms.  \

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