An analytical method is presented for the dynamics of spatial mechanisms containing complex-shaped, flexible links with application to both high-speed industrial machines and robotic manipulators. Existing NASTRAN-type finite element structural analysis programs are combined with 4 × 4 matrix dynamic analysis techniques and Component Mode Synthesis coordinate reduction to yield a procedure capable of analyzing complex, non-linear spatial mechanisms with irregularly shaped links in great detail, yet producing a system of equations small enough for efficient numerical integration. The method is applied to two examples.

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