China is now building the world’s largest single dish radio telescope in Guizhou province, which is called Five-hundred meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST). The main purpose of this paper is to present an effective dimensional design method on the six-cable driven parallel manipulator of FAST. Sensitivity design method is adopted for the six-cable driven parallel manipulator of FAST. Cable has the capability to bear tension but not compression, so that cable driven parallel manipulator may not be controlled as expected if tension of one cable is small or zero. Therefore, for dimensional design of the six-cable driven parallel manipulator, three functions to evaluate tension performance were proposed. The tension performance functions can reflect the uniformity of cable tension and controllability of the six-cable driven parallel manipulator. According to the sensitivity design method and tension performance evaluating functions, a set of optimized dimensional parameters is calculated for constructing the six-cable driven parallel manipulator of FAST. In order to verify the optimization design result, a similarity model of the six-cable driven parallel manipulator was set up in Beijing. A serial of experiments shows that tension performance of the six-cable driven parallel manipulator satisfies the system’s requirement. More importantly, it provides a theoretical reference for further study on dimensional design of a cable driven parallel manipulator with large span.

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