I'm pretty new to Blender.

Is it possible to test mechanical objects like gears in Blender before printing them in a 3d printer? If so, how?

For example, if I have created a robotic arm, is it possible to simulate what would happen if I turned something?

  • $\begingroup$ I wouldn't expect rigid body to work very well. I would setup constraints or a driver to automate the gears moving from one driven gear. $\endgroup$
    – sambler
    Feb 23, 2018 at 16:13

1 Answer 1


It is of course possible to test stuff in a 3D environment. Big companies for example do it when they build a factory to check whether any pipes intersect with the walls or cables. Better safe than sorry.

Doesn't mean it's easy in Blender. You can misuse Blender as a CAD-Software. I have used it to visualize stuff I wanted to build in order to find out lengths or shapes. Turns out it does a reasonably close simulation of a solar eclipse, too. You could write a script that accurately checks for intersections.

Realtime physics can help as well.


All of the simulations in Blender are not built for high precision. Especially the physics are meant to be an amazing aid to animation, not a precise model of the world.

Also, most 3D printers have tolerances which means: what you model is not precisely what you get. Gears will work, just not amazingly well. You can't beat bought gears or a solid lathe to make them yourself with a 300 bucks printer.

Quick answer: it helps and you can model the parts for the printer but you need to gather experience to foresee all the pesky little details involved.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for youre answer! At first i know thats Blender is not the best option, but i´ve got more skills in Blender than in Autocad :D The printers manufactory says that the printer have an accuracy less then 0,2 mm. But i should level my skills in Autocad right? Best wishes $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2018 at 10:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ With 0.2 mm accuracy, Blender is perfectly fine. When you say gears, I think of precisions in the 0.01 range. Gears are supposed to roll off each other instead of causing friction. In the end, you simply make a few test prints and then you know how big a part has to be in order to fit. $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2018 at 10:22
  • $\begingroup$ I'm guessing that you are printing in plastic. This is a trial and error % factor that you will have to fine tune. The type of plastic, expansion when heated, shrinkage when cooled, and total warp when done will throw your accuracy out the window (semi-moving target). $\endgroup$
    – Rick Riggs
    Mar 1, 2018 at 2:30

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