Abstract

Additive and subtractive machines that exhibit five and six degrees of freedom are on the cutting edge of manufacturing technology. The workspace for these machines can be determined by the joint types and orientations chosen during the design process. Thus, many joint configurations should be considered during the design. This paper presents a method for exhaustively generating and evaluating serial mechanisms using computer algebra systems and investigates four machines as case studies. The position and angle of the end point of the mechanism was computed as a function of joint actuation allowing a configuration to be evaluated in a variety of metrics including volume, tool angle range, and singularities (where the machine loses a degree of freedom). The exhaustive search generated and tested joint configurations to determine which had five axis control within their workspace. The case studies looked at four machines in detail, using both convex hull and alpha shape to calculate the workspace volume, their ability to maintain five axis control, and compared the viability of each configuration. The application of this method led to several different, but viable configurations. One can then narrow down further based on situational requirements of the target environment.

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