Articles | Volume 2, issue 2
Research article
16 Aug 2011
Research article |  | 16 Aug 2011

Fully-compliant statically-balanced mechanisms without prestressing assembly: concepts and case studies

G. Chen and S. Zhang

Abstract. The purpose of this paper is to present new concepts for designing fully-compliant statically-balanced mechanisms without prestressing assembly. A statically-balanced compliant mechanism can ideally provide zero stiffness and energy free motion like a traditional rigid-body mechanism. These characteristics are important in design of compliant mechanisms where low actuation force, accurate force transmission or high-fidelity force feedback are primary concerns. Typically, static balancing of compliant mechanisms has been achieved by means of prestressing assembly. However, this can often lead to creep and stress relaxation arising in the flexible members. In this paper two concepts are presented which eliminate the need for prestressing assembly of compliant mechanisms: (1) a weight compensator which employs a constant-force compliant mechanism, (2) a near-zero-stiffness mechanism which combines two multistable mechanisms. In addition to the advantages provided by statically-balanced compliant mechanisms, two other notable features of these statically-balanced mechanisms are their ability to be monolithically fabricated and to return to their as-fabricated position without any disassembly when not in use.