Static balancing can be used as a means to compensate certain (disturbance) forces in a mechanism. This paper describes a two-step design strategy for statically balanced mechanisms, balanced with normal extension springs. During the first step, ideal springs (with zero free length) are used to develop a perfectly balanced design. This can be done with the aid of a design framework, which is based on a set of elementary rules for the modification of a standard configuration of idealized springs under constant system potential energy. In the second step, the ideal springs are replaced with normal springs and the resulting unbalanced system is numerically optimized, using a genetic algorithm. The emphasis of this paper will be on the second step. A laparoscopic grasper is used as a design example and is optimized for the specified range of motion. It is optimized with respect to a constant total potential energy function and a constant force transfer function between the operating force and the resulting force that is applied by the grasper.

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