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The Engineering Vibration Toolbox for Octave

About The Engineering Vibration Toolbox

The Engineering Vibration Toolbox for Octave is a set of educational programs written in Octave by Joseph C. Slater. Also included are a number of help files, demonstration examples, and data files containing raw experimental data. The codes include single degree of freedom response, response spectrum, finite elements, numerical integration, and phase plane analysis.

The most current version, can be obtained via the Engineering Vibration Toolbox website. For more information, please email me if you have difficulty with this link.

The Engineering Vibration Toolbox codes can be used as examples to learn how to program in Octave.

Note To Instructors

Please send me any problems you've developed for the toolbox, I'd like to begin a collection of problems that better take advantage of its capabilities.

Installing, Updating, and Removing The Toolbox

Windows Installation

The availability of a simple Octave installer for Windows has been sporadic. At the moment (30-March-2016) there is one available. I do recommend that path when available, but when it's not, Cygwin is a reliable alternative.

  1. Download and install Cygwin.
  2. You may have to run setup multiple times to install the parts you need. Install, at minimum:
    1. Octave (Math section- octave: GNU Octave language...)
    2. xinit (X11 section)
    3. unzip
  3. Go to the Windows Menu. In Cygwin-X run XWin Server
  4. A green X should appear on the dock. You should be able to bring up a menu to launch Octave
  5. Click on this to download the vibration toolbox to your Downloads folder.

Copy and paste this into your Octave window

system('curl -4 -L>vtbud.m')

Linux and Mac Installation

  1. Run Octave.
  2. Copy and paste this into Octave.
[s, success, message]=urlwrite('','')
pkg install

Alternatively, you can also download vtbud.m and run it to perform the install for you

system('curl -4 -L>vtbud.m')

Note: If you use the Download button on github, you must rename the downloaded file to and manually use pkg install

To update:

To update, run vtbud in Octave if you have updated since Feb 23, 2016.

Otherwise, run Octave and paste the following to the prompt:

pkg uninstall vtoolbox
[s, success, message]=urlwrite('','')
pkg install

To remove:

In Octave

pkg uninstall vtoolbox

Why the semi-colons? It's my way of making sure you don't leave the last command unexecuted.

Troubleshooting installation:

vtbud was initially buggy and is still quite new. If vtbud isn't working, please perform a clean install with the following

The first delete is to make sure you aren't able to run an old version of vtbud. The second to make sure it is updated in the future.

Using The Engineering Vibration Toolbox

The files on this disk will load/run on all platforms. To load the data files (the files starting with v and ending in something other than m) type load filename -mat.

Typing help vtoolbox will provide a table of contents of the toolbox. Likewise, typing help vtb# will provide a table of contents for the files related to chapter #. Typing help codename will provide help on the particular code. Note that the filename is in the format codename.m.

Engineering Vibration Toolbox commands can be run by typing them with the necessary arguments just as any other Octave/MATLAB commands/functions. For instance, vtb1_1 can be run by typing vtb1_1(1,.1,1,1,0,10). Many functions have multiple forms of input. The help for each function shows this flexibility.

Contacting The Author

If you have any difficulty, please email me at email me.

Please visit the Engineering Vibration Toolbox website


Support for the Engineering Vibration Toolbox has come from a number of sources. First and foremost, Daniel J. Inman, who initially tasked myself and Donald J. Leo to write version 3 of the software for his text "Engineering Vibration" by Dr. Daniel J. Inman (Prentice Hall, 1994). I also thank the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Wright State University for providing the computer resources for developing the MATLAB 4 version of the software. Perhaps the people who have given the most are my students who painfully experienced every piece of beta code, often at the least opportune times. Thanks is also given to Dr. Maurice Petyt and Robert C. Chiroux for their patience in testing numerous 4.0 beta versions of this software. Finally, John W. Eaton and others for writing/coordinating/ developing/supporting Octave. Please go to the Octave website for more information on Octave and how you can support its development.


The Engineering Vibration Toolbox is licensed free of charge for educational use. For professional use, users should contact the Engineering Vibration Toolbox author directly.

MATLAB is a registered trademark of the MathWorks, Inc. Mac(intosh) is a registered trademark of Apple Computer, Inc. PostScript is a registered trademark of Adobe Systems, Inc. Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. Unix is a registered trademark of AT&T.

Joseph C. Slater is the copyright holder of the Engineering Vibration Toolbox. Neither the author, Prentice Hall, nor Wright State University make any warranty with regard to merchantability or fitness for any given purpose with regard to the software. All rights are retained. No permission is given to anyone other than myself, the MathWorks and Prentice Hall to distribute this software in any manner whatsoever.