This paper studies the rigid body guidance problem for 3-DOF planar parallel manipulators (PPM) with three-triad assembly. We present a novel, unified, and simultaneous type and dimensional synthesis approach to planar parallel manipulator synthesis by using kinematic mapping, surface fitting, and least squares techniques. Novelty of our approach lies in linearization of a highly non-linear problem and the fact that the nature of the given motion or displacement drives the synthesis process without assuming triad topology or their geometry. It has been well established that by using planar quaternions and kinematic mapping, workspace related constraints of planar dyads or triads can be represented as algebraic constraint manifolds in the image space of planar displacements. The constraints associated with planar RR-, PR- and RP-dyads correspond to a single quadric in the image space, while that of each of the six planar triads (RRR, RPR, PRR, PPR, RRP and RPP) map to a pair of quadrics and the space between them. Moreover, the quadrics associated with RRR- and RPR-triads are of the same type as that of RR dyads, of PRR- and PPR-triads as that of PR-, and RRP- and RPP-triads as that of RP-dyad. This simplification nicely extends a dyad synthesis problem to a triad synthesis one. The problem is formulated as the least-squares error minimization problem to find a trinity of quadrics that best fit the image points of task displacements. The fitting error corresponding to each single quadric of the trinity is regarded as variation (thickness) of that quadric, which turns that quadric into a pair of quadrics. Hence, three dyads with minimal surface fitting errors can be converted to three triads in the Cartesian space.

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