Through the methods outlined in this paper, a procedure involving two cooperating optimization algorithms is developed to create balanced, structurally optimal planar mechanisms. Two systems are analyzed to demonstrate the approach. In the first example, a walking mechanism is analyzed under quasi-static loading, and topology optimization is performed to create stiff, lightweight linkages. In the second example, a quick-return Watt-II six-bar mechanism, counterweights are added to balance the mechanism using a numerical optimization technique. The inertial forces are calculated by simulation, and optimal linkage shapes are generated to support them using topology optimization.

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