Understand 1,700 Mechanical Linkages with these Helpful Animations

CNC & Machining Science Workshop
Understand 1,700 Mechanical Linkages with these Helpful Animations

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Mr. Đức thắng Nguyễn (Duc Thang Nguyen) is an engineer from Vietnam. Since his retirement in 2002, he has being working on an amazing animated 3D catalog of mechanical contraptions.

Using Autodesk Inventor as a tool, he has documented over 1,700 mechanisms. All from gears, couplings, clutches, differentials to detailed examples of movement conversions. For every mechanism Nguyen has generated a corresponding animated YouTube video. These videos are an invaluable source to understand some of the more convoluted and challenging mechanisms. The video-clips portray a mesmerizing collection of kinetics sculptures on their own and can be enjoyed for their sheer aesthetic value.

Through a file-sharing website, Nguyen generously provides an overview of all his contraptions nicely organized into mechanical themes. The PDF files include pictures, short descriptions, and direct links to the videos. I strongly encourage you to visit Nguyen’s YouTube Channel and spend some time studying his work. You will find a treasure trove of ingenious solutions to a wide range of real life mechanical applications. If you own a 3D printer and want to improve your CAD skills, pick a compelling mechanism. Model and print it.

There are so many to pick from, but here are 10 of my personal favorites:

Linkage for tracing a parallelogram

YouTube player

Persian joint

YouTube player

Application of rack pinion mechanism

YouTube player

Planetary clutch

YouTube player

Door for limited space

YouTube player

Keeping direction unchanged during rotation

YouTube player

Archimedean drive

YouTube player

Friction cone variator

YouTube player

Internal Geneva mechanism

YouTube player

Converting interrupted rotation to continuous rotation

YouTube player

12 thoughts on “Understand 1,700 Mechanical Linkages with these Helpful Animations

  1. Tien Gow says:

    Nguyen generously provides an overview of all his contractions ???

    1. Mike Albert says:

      The man clearly loves his apostrophes! (And they fixed the typo)

  2. Scott Tuttle says:

    neat stuff

  3. mfidelman says:

    Nice, though I’m more of a fan of physical models – like the Clark Collection at Boston’s Museum of Science:


    1. Heinrich D. Bag says:

      Very nice. Thanks!

    2. Slarti Bartfast says:

      The Reuleaux collection is amazing, too – http://kmoddl.library.cornell.edu/model.php?m=reuleaux

      some of the linkages they came up with in the steam age are quite wonderful.

      1. mfidelman says:


  4. Guest says:

    New Amazing Way of makezine…. ;
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  5. gourneau says:

    Dr. Nguyen Duc Thang got his Doctor of Engineering in 1984 from Kosice University of Technology, Slovakia.

  6. Bruce Spedding says:

    The pdf linked to seems to be a zip file which I can’t unzip (corrupted) – is there another source?

  7. Jon Galloway says:

    “improve you CAD skills”

    1. sophiacamille says:

      Thanks. Correction was made

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Ronald Jaramillo

Ronald Jaramillo is a Software developer and tinkerer with a lifelong fascination for automata and robots. He shares his excursions into robotics at www.burningservos.com. You can find him on Twitter @RonaldXJT

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