Large stroke flexure mechanisms inherently lose stiffness in supporting directions when deflected due to load components in compliant bending and torsion directions. To maximize performance over the entire range of motion, a topology optimization suited for large stroke mechanisms is required. In this paper a new multibody-based topology synthesis method is presented for optimizing large stroke flexure hinges. This topology synthesis consists of a layout variation strategy based on a building block approach combined with a shape optimization to obtain the optimal design tuned for a specific application. A derivative free shape optimization method is used to optimize high complexity flexure mechanisms in a broad solution space. To obtain the optimal layout, three predefined “building blocks” are proposed which are consecutively combined to find the best layout with respect to a specific design criteria. More specifically, this new method is used to optimize a flexure hinge aimed at maximizing the first disturbing eigenfrequency. The optimized topology shows an increase in frequency of a factor ten with respect to the customary three flexure cross hinge, which represents a huge improvement in performance. The numerically predicted natural frequencies and mode shapes have been verified experimentally.

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