Present building-block synthesis techniques for compliant mechanisms [4–7] account for the kinematic behavior of the mechanism alone, leaving the stiffness, manufacturability and mechanical efficiency to be determined by the shape-size optimization process. In this effort, we aim to generate practical and feasible conceptual designs by designing for kinematics and stiffness simultaneously. To enable this, we use a lumped spring-lever model, which intuitively characterizes the stiffness and the kinematics of a deformable-complaint building block with distinct input and output points. This model aids in the understanding of how the stiffness and the kinematics of building blocks combine when concatenated to form a mechanism. We use this understanding to synthesize compliant mechanisms by combining building blocks of known motion characteristics. A simple compliant-dyad building block is characterized for its lumped values of stiffness and kinematics. The concatenation of these dyad-building blocks is solved in detail, and guidelines for conceptual synthesis are proposed. Two practical examples are solved; a motion amplifier for a piezo-stack and a compliant energy storage mechanism for a staple-gun. The conceptual designs obtained from this approach are very close to the kinematic and the stiffness requirements of the application, thus minimizing the role of shape and size optimization to achieve the problem specification. The model, when extended to higher dimensions may be used to solve for precision positioning and other applications.

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