The determination of workspace is an essential step in the development of parallel manipulators. By extending the virtual-chain (VC) approach to the type synthesis of parallel manipulators, this technical brief proposes a VC approach to the workspace analysis of parallel manipulators. This method is first outlined before being illustrated by the production of a three-dimensional (3D) computer-aided-design (CAD) model of a 3-RPS parallel manipulator and evaluating it for the workspace of the manipulator. Here, R, P and S denote revolute, prismatic and spherical joints respectively. The VC represents the motion capability of moving platform of a manipulator and is shown to be very useful in the production of a graphical representation of the workspace. Using this approach, the link interferences and certain transmission indices can be easily taken into consideration in determining the workspace of a parallel manipulator.

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