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Squishy Robot Simulator: Physics Settings

105 reviews


Areas of Science
Time Required
Short (2-5 days)
Familiarity with VoxCAD software. We recommend completing our introductory VoxCAD project first.
Material Availability
This project requires the free VoxCAD software and a computer running Microsoft® Windows®.
Very Low (under $20)
No issues

Ben Finio, Ph.D., Science Buddies

  • Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.
*Note: For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk (*) at the end of the title.


In our introductory VoxCAD project, we provided you with a template file that included default material properties and physics simulation settings. These settings include friction, gravity, and temperature — all of which can drastically change how fast your robots move. However, we did not explain what exactly all these physics simulation settings meant, or how to change them. You can access the physics settings through the Physics Settings tab after entering the Physics Sandbox mode, as shown in Figure 1:
Screenshot of a physics sandbox in the program VoxCADImage Credit: Ben Finio, Science Buddies / Science Buddies

Screenshot of the physics sandbox in program VoxCAD shows a menu where a physics settings tab can be selected on the bottom-right of the program window. The physics sandbox can be toggled by selecting a small icon on the top toolbar that resembles two blocks next to each other. A large viewer is present on the left side of the program and multiple sidebars line the right side of the program. These sidebars include voxel information, options to change physics settings, and display or view options for the viewer.

Figure 1. Access the Physics Settings tab in Physics Sandbox mode, which you enter by clicking the Physics Sandbox button in the toolbox at the top of the screen.

We highly recommend watching this video tutorial as an introduction to the different physics settings:

Watch this video of VoxCAD tutorial on the physics simulation mode. This video contains some engineering terms such as strain, inelastic, and actuation. You do not need to know what these terms mean to do this project, but you can look them up if you are curious. Note that this video was made using an older version of VoxCAD, so the location of some of the settings in the Physics Settings tab has changed.

For reference, we have listed the available settings here. Note that you can also hover your mouse cursor over the text describing each setting in the VoxCAD window to read a description. Note: this page was created in July 2013 using VoxCAD version 0.9.9. Future versions of VoxCAD may add or remove options, or change the exact locations of different buttons in the program. The general concept should remain the same, so this page should still serve as a good introduction to the physics settings.

These are always available toward the top of the Physics Settings tab:

These settings are available under the Environment sub-tab:

These settings are available under the Other sub-tab:

Remember, this is an abbreviated project idea, so exactly what you do next is up to you. Here are a few suggestions:


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Ask an Expert

Do you have specific questions about your science project? Our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.

Global Connections

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) are a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

This project explores topics key to Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.


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MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Squishy Robot Simulator: Physics Settings." Science Buddies, 20 Nov. 2020, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Robotics_p019/robotics/robot-simulator-physics?from=Blog. Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2020, November 20). Squishy Robot Simulator: Physics Settings. Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Robotics_p019/robotics/robot-simulator-physics?from=Blog

Last edit date: 2020-11-20
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