Computer Graphics Laboratory ETH Zurich


A Computational Design Tool for Compliant Mechanisms

V. Megaro, J. Zehnder, M. Bächer, S. Coros, M. Gross, B. Thomaszewski

Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH (Los Angeles, United States, July 30 - August 3, 2017), ACM Transactions on Graphics, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 82:1--82:12
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We present a computational tool for designing 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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author = {Megaro, Vittorio and Zehnder, Jonas and B\"{a}cher, Moritz and Coros, Stelian and Gross, Markus and Thomaszewski, Bernhard},
title = {A Computational Design Tool for Compliant Mechanisms},
journal = {ACM Trans. Graph.},
issue_date = {July 2017},
volume = {36},
number = {4},
month = jul,
year = {2017},
issn = {0730-0301},
pages = {82:1--82:12},
articleno = {82},
numpages = {12},
url = {},
doi = {10.1145/3072959.3073636},
acmid = {3073636},
publisher = {ACM},
address = {New York, NY, USA},
keywords = {3D printing, compliant mechanism design, computational design},
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