Let's say you're a designer trying to create something with moving parts: A set of double doors that open in an unusual way, a console that deploys a hidden flatscreen monitor, or a space-saving cabinet with panels that slide sideways rather than swing out. Where do you start?
There are companies that make hardware to achieve these things, but there's no guarantee that hardware is sized to fit your application. If you can understand how the mechanisms work, however, you can create something to custom fit your design.
That's where this retired mechanical engineer comes in: Nguyen Duc Thang has made it his mission to illustrate mechanisms so people can understand them. Using Autodesk Inventor, he creates succinct 3D animations of various mechanical mechanisms, and staggeringly, he's created 1,700 videos of them to date.
As an example, check out this mechanism for double doors that open within a limited space:
An overhead-concealed monitor mechanism:
Three different ways to get cabinet doors or window covers to slide sideways in concert:
Here's another take on the concept, where the doors move in the same direction:
Those interested in how things are made will find a lot of production-method-based animations on Nguyen's page, too. Did you ever wonder how they turn things with undercuts, like doorknobs? Here's how they get the plug out:
Nguyen's exhaustive list is also filled with pure mechanical phenomena, like this rotating contraption that keeps the panels atop it aligned:
Or a way to convert reciprocating motion into rotary motion:
All in all, Nguyen's YouTube channel is so dense with videos that you're bound to find something interesting. And because the collection is so thick, he's created a freely-downloadable index of it all here, with descriptions and photos, so you can search more efficiently.