The paper presents a simple and effective kinematic model and methodology to assess and evaluate the extent of the position uncertainty caused by joint clearances for multiple-loop linkage and manipulators connected with revolute or prismatic pairs. The model is derived and explained with geometric rigor based on Ting's rotatability laws.2 The significant contributions include (1) the clearance link model for a P-joint that catches the translation and oscillation characteristics of the slider within the clearance and separates the geometric effect of clearances from the input error, (2) the generality of the method, which is effective for multiloop linkages and parallel manipulators, and (3) settling the dispute on the position uncertainty effect to parallel and serial robots due to joint clearance. The discussion is illustrated and carried out through symmetrically configured planar 8 bar parallel robots. It is found that at a target position, the uncertainty region of a three degrees-of-freedom (DOF) three-leg parallel robot is enclosed by a hexagon with curve edges, while that of its serial counterpart is enclosed by a circle included in the hexagon. A numerical example is presented. The finding and proof, though only based on three-leg planar 8 bar parallel robots, may have a wider implication suggesting that based on the kinematic effect of joint clearance, parallel robots tends to inherit more position uncertainty than their serial counterparts. The use of more loops in not only parallel robots but also single-DOF linkages cannot fully offset the adverse effect on position uncertainty caused by the use of more joints.

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