The shortest crank of a four position synthesis can be determined by solving a statically determinate five-bar structure and a set of seven nonlinear equations have been proposed for this purpose. In this paper a numerical method which can directly solve the shortest crank is presented. It is found that a direct implementation of the original seven equations has two problems: many spurious solutions and poor numerical stability. And the spurious solutions are of the following two types: solutions with incorrect signs of angles and solutions with incorrect geometry. In order to solve the problems, a set of ten equations is developed and parameter perturbation method is applied. Furthermore, a set of eight equations is developed for better numerical stability. Both the ten and eight equations can eliminate the spurious solutions with incorrect geometry. Yet the spurious solutions with incorrect signs of angles can only be rectified after convergence. An automatic search algorithm is included to automatically search the shortest crank in the solution space. Many examples are given to illustrate this numerical approach.

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