Planar drag-link mechanism is a Grashofian four-bar chain with the shortest link fixed. In practice, the mechanism is used as a coupling between two shafts to convert uniform rotation of the driving shaft into a nonuniform rotation of the driven shaft. The nonuniformity in rotation is characterized by a cyclically increasing and decreasing delay (or advance) in the displacement of the driven shaft relative to that of the driving shaft. Drag-link synthesis problems include synthesizing the mechanism to generate a specified maximum delay. In a drag-link mechanism, the longer links make a full rotation about fixed pivots, which results in a relatively large installation space. This calls for designing drag-link mechanisms with a focus on space occupation, along with the traditional criteria of quality of motion transmission. Using position analysis, we investigate the relationships among mechanism space occupation, extreme transmission angle, and the generated maximum delay. Space occupation is represented by the link-length ratio of input link to fixed link. Given a desired maximum delay, the proposed approach suggests finding a unique extreme transmission angle value for which this link-length ratio is at a minimum. A closed-form solution to drag-link synthesis to generate a specified maximum delay is developed based on a compromise between quality of motion transmission and space occupation. For any drag-link designed by this compromise, the coupler link and the output crank are of the same length. Based on the obtained design equations, a graphical design solution and a method for evaluating space occupation are provided.

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