Mechanical Design Idea Sources

Trying not to reinvent the wheel? Need a simple proven linkage, detent, clamp, or other mechanical widget?

Here are my idea sources when trying to sketch out a mechanical design.  Often the path of least resistance is reusing an existing design.

Misumi Library – Downloadable designs for automation mechanisms, fixtures and small equipment. Everything is professionally designed.  Some interesting and detailed content here.  A hidden gem.

507 Mechanical Movements – A familiar resource for simple sketches of mechanical widgets and linkages.  The animation helps in some cases but the website is a little cumbersome.  I would recommend finding a used copy of the book from Amazon, it’s easier to flip through.

Thang010146’s Videos – An impressive YouTube channel full of animated mechanisms.  A little difficult to navigate for specific ideas but the breadth and detail here makes it worthwhile.

Google Patents – Patent language is infuriatingly vague but the diagrams are often well illustrated and provide insight to the working principals of the design.  This search can cast a wide net, I have better results when targeting the portfolio of a specific company.

Used book stores are also a great way to find interesting resources. The quality of “mechanical movement” books can vary a lot so it helps to flip through a few.  If I see a textbook or other reference book recommended online I’ll often purchase a used copy through Amazon.