This paper investigates the use of multimaterial compliant joints produced through additive manufacturing in order to approximate a revolute joint. Compliant joints benefit from low friction and reduced wear, but at the cost of increased joint stiffness, reduced range of motion, and a reduced ability to resist loading. In addition, they might also provide a poor approximation of the revolute joints they intend to replace. In this paper, we experiment with three multimaterial compliant joint configurations. The first joint emphasizes accurate kinematics, the second joint aims to reduce axis-aligned stiffness, and the third joint compromises between the two. Samples were fabricated on a desktop 3D printer using PLA (polylactic acid) as the rigid material and TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) for its flexibility. Samples were measured for tensile stiffness, torsional stiffness, range of motion, and approximation of a hinge motion. Our results indicate design trade offs where joints that measure most ideal for one property will be least ideal for another. The most novel design in this paper straddles this trade off. In the end, the suitability of each joint design is determined by the loading, accuracy, and range of motion requirements posed by a given application.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.