Senior Thesis: Designing a New 2DOF Mechanism

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This past year, I worked in a team of four to design and manufacture a new scalable two degree of freedom mechanism that accurately controls the position of an end effector. The invention consists of two motors, each of which controls the linear position of one arm via a gear rack and pinion. The position of the hinge is determined by its distance from each motor. The motors are mounted to turntables, giving them the ability to rotate passively with the system’s motion.

Rack and Pinion Mechanism
Rack and Pinion Mechanism

The system follows trajectories that are input as a CSV file using PD control. The mechanism performs better than a traditional five-bar linkage, showing its potential as a new two degree of freedom mechanism. This kind of mechanism could be used for applications ranging from laser cutters to Autopens to 3D printers. If you’re interested, you can view the final report here.

I learned so much about working in a group, designing a system from scratch, and managing a project from start to finish. My contribution was managing the project and being co-designer and manufacturer of the mechanism. Many long hours in the machine shop and in the lab led to a project of which I’m very proud. I can’t wait to start my career as a product designer!

Keep thinking!