Author Options:

Using "Phun" to simulate mechanisms Answered

I'm not an engineer, and don't have access to Autodesk / AutoCAD, so I've been using Phun to simulate mechanical design.

It's not strictly valid in an engineering sense, but it works pretty well for roughing out ideas.

The polygons were created in Inkscape, then converted to Phun scenes with SVG2Phun. Some objects won't translate (like grouped objects), so it's necessary to simplify (hence the two images from Inkscape.)


I must say, I've tried a few physics engines before, but none of them are as "Phun" as Phun. I'm a total computer nerd, so I'm building a massive programmable computer in there. I've built some mechanical RAM memory with read and write modes, a 4-bit ripple carry adder, a clock, and am starting work on the program memory and command interpreter. -Y


8 years ago

Phun rocks! Oh,and that is a stomp pedal,right?

Yeah, Phun is Phun. Just got back from a two week holiday, or I would have seen this earlier. It's a wah that uses a true variable inductor.

I might check out the demo version, but otherwise it's a bit outside my budget ;-).


9 years ago

I use GMod personally- it's a pain to use with any sort of precision, but you get to play with your creations in 3D! I built a rough copy of the hexabot, it didn't walk entirely straight but it looked pretty cool bouncing around with Dr. Breen flopping around in an armchair on top of it :D

Maybe there's an Instructable in there somewhere...

I didn't realize "Garry's Mod" did simulation, too--thought it was just a 3D editor, like a WAD tool... I'll have to look into that. A 3D simulation would really be cool. I wonder--can you import objects and extrude 'em?

The nice thing about Phun is being to change object characteristics like friction, density, etc. And the "spring" objects are great. There also few nice external programs for creating gears. Maybe Gary's Mod can do all that as well.

I like importing from Inkscape, too.

It's also possible to stress and even "break" an object in Phun--push it too far, the hinges will stretch and you can see where the forces are concentrated. It's not "finite analysis," but it helps...

Maybe there's an Instructable in there somewhere...

Yep, I think you're right.

Garry's mod isn't really for serious building (if by WAD you mean level files, if my faint Doom memories are relevant here), it lets you spawn a bunch of objects and constrain them together with solid attachments, hinges, sliders, rope, elastic etc. It doesn't do the actual physics simulation, the Source engine does that, but GMod lets you build the things that you are simulating. You can change friction, density etc. but not with particularly fine control.

It shows the same "stretching" behaviour under stress, but things tend to go a bit crazy if you have too many objects welded together under too much stress. You mostly can't break objects, except things that are made of wood which will fall apart if subjected to too much punishment (or set on fire).

You can also turn 3D models into objects, there are some add-ons with libraries of useful shapes (flat slabs, planks, spheres etc.) or if you have modelling chops you can import your own models, but I suspect that's rather involved. Sadly it's nowhere near advanced enough to let you extrude things on the fly, that would be fantastic but I don't think the Source engine is up to it quite yet. You essentially have to make do with the objects available, but that just means you get to build contraptions out of skips, furniture and bits of bridge :) Observe this screenshot of a trebuchet about to launch a burning car, or a rocket launcher built on a turret made of a pallet and a nightstand...

If I can get fraps playing nicely with HL2 maybe I will make a video/Ible on how to build some stuff with GMod.

OK, I'll definitely have to look into GMod, too... I read somewhere that GMod V9 is freeware--newer versions are not (but still very inexpensive.)