Sorry if my question or parts of it seem vague or stupid, I'm fairly new to mechanical engineering. I'm part of a team that is building a simulator platform and I am mostly at the helm of the software development side of it. Recently, I've had a need to get a bit more involved with the hardware side of things and I've been trying to learn AutoCAD Mechanical to be able to simulate some properties on my own.

Assembly Pic 1 Assembly Pic 2 Assembly Pic 3

This assembly, when fully completed at the rotating end will weigh about 150 kg. The U channel it is connected to is 5 feet in length (152.4 cm). 1 foot of the u channel is securely bolted to the rotating assembly and that leaves 4 feet of the U channel extended. The channel will have another 5 foot U Channel connected to it something like this:

Assembly Construction

There's two things that I wanted to simulate:

  1. How much weight can the U channel take before bending? The 150 kg weight is concentrated inside the assembly at the far end of the U channel. How can we reinforce the U Channel to be able to bear more weight?

Simulation Params 1

2. What would be the torque required to rotate this entire assembly in a manner mentioned below?

Simulation Params 2

I'm a software developer by profession and don't have much knowledge of mechanical side of things. I have been learning AutoCAD Mechanical for the past week in order to carry out these two simulations but so far I have only been able to create a U channel in 2D. I can't even extrude it properly.

These are the specs of the U Channel by the way: I don't know what kind of iron it's made of. The guys who offloaded this to our workplace just said it's "Heavy Duty U Channel". Not very informative.

U Channel Specs

Can the community please point me in the right direction for me to be able to find a solution to this?

  • $\begingroup$ as it is it will fail fast at the bearing on the center of rotation, because the centripetal force on the vertical arm will create a huge vibration and torque twisting the U channel, and breaking the bearing. You need to extend the vertical section down to balance it. Then you can calculate the strength required $F_c= mv^2/r$ $\endgroup$
    – kamran
    Nov 5, 2023 at 3:21
  • $\begingroup$ You are not stupid. but you haven't done the first year of an engineering degree. I doubt anybody can teach you that in a little textbox. However one of the few useful equations is M/I=sigma/y . so look that up. It directly answers q1 . boxing the U channel will probably be the most effective way of reinforcing it, ie adding a top plate. $\endgroup$ Nov 5, 2023 at 3:34
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you @kamran I'll forward that to the mechanical guys $\endgroup$ Nov 5, 2023 at 11:00
  • $\begingroup$ @GregLocock You're right. I have a Masters in CS so this is quite out of my comfort zone. The mechanical guys on my team are quite busy and vague at times so I've had to resort to trying to handle some of this mechanical stuff myself. Thank you for the equations, I'll study them further. Is it possible for any of you to point me towards some AutoCAD Mechanical resources for this purpose? $\endgroup$ Nov 5, 2023 at 11:05
  • $\begingroup$ @kamran Btw I wanted to add to the information that the rotation of the platform is very slow, and inconsistent, around 45 to 60 RPM but it will only rotate to match the roll and yaw of a simulated virtual body so most of the time it will only be making slight adjustments to itself rather than constantly spinning. Perhaps, this information might help give you a better understanding of the parts choice? $\endgroup$ Nov 5, 2023 at 11:08


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