This, I suppose, is the intersection of my Mechanical Engineering background and my love for all this graphical and visual.
I think there is something inherently fascinating to our human brains about watching machines. These animations tap into a part of our curiosities that don’t often get exercised. Like the cutaway drawings in National Geographic, Popular Mechanics, et al, they captivate us while simultaneously teaching us.
Years ago, my group for MEM435 Computer Aided Design and Modeling created this little ditty, which wowed professors and students alike when it was gracefully inserted into our Powerpoint presentation. (Also, said presentation was by far the sharpest of the lot, due in large part to my sensible type and colour usage. In all modesty).
What you’re looking at is the handle of a clamp as it pulled, by some human or other force. The static image is below. Not nearly as fun, and you have to imagine how the stresses are applied, and what they do. Yes, I do acknowledge the vaguely sexual geometry of this part. Get over it. (side note, those animations were created 7 years ago to the day! Man, time flies.)
I read about this on the Core 77 blog »