A Computational Design Tool for Compliant Mechanisms


We present a computational tool for designing compliant mechanisms.

July 20, 2017



Vittorio Megaro (Disney Research/ETH Joint PhD)

Jonas Zehnder (Disney Research)

Moritz Baecher (Disney Research)

Stelian Coros (Carnegie Mellon University)

Markus Gross (Disney Research/ETH Zurich)

Bernhard Thomaszewski (Disney Research)

A Computational Design Tool for Compliant Mechanisms


Our method takes as input a conventional, rigidly-articulated mechanism defining the topology of the compliant design. This input can be both planar or spatial, and we support a number of common joint types which, whenever possible, are automatically replaced with parameterized flexures. As the technical core of our approach, we describe a number of objectives that shape the design space in a meaningful way, including trajectory matching, collision avoidance, lateral stability, resilience to failure, and minimizing motor torque. Optimal designs in this space are obtained as solutions to an equilibrium-constrained minimization problem that we solve using a variant of sensitivity analysis. We demonstrate our method on a set of examples that range from simple four-bar linkages to full-fledged animatronics, and verify the feasibility of our designs by manufacturing physical prototypes.

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