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Mechanisms of Machinery: Chapter 3

Chapter 3
3.1.

Instructor: Robel Metiku


Position Analysis

Position of a Mechanism

The primary purpose in analyzing a mechanism is to study its motion. Motion occurs
when the position of the links and the reference points that comprise the mechanism are
changed. As the position of the links is altered, the mechanism is forced into a different
configuration, and motion proceeds. Recall from Chapter 1 that an important property of
a mechanism is the mobility or degrees of freedom. For linkages with one degree of
freedom, the position of one link or point can precisely determine the position of all other
links or points. Likewise, for linkages with two degrees of freedom, the position of two
links can precisely determine the position of all other links.
Therefore, the position of all points and links in a mechanism is not arbitrary and
independent. The independent parameters are the positions of certain driver links or
driver points. The primary goal of position analysis is to determine the resulting
positions of the points on a mechanism as a function of the position of these driver
links or points.
Displacement Analysis
A common kinematic investigation is locating the position of all links in a mechanism as
the driver link(s) is displaced.
For the most common mechanisms, those with one degree of freedom, displacement
analysis consists of determining the position of all links as one link is displaced. The
positions of all links are called the configuration of the mechanism.
Figure 3.1 illustrates this investigation. The mechanism shown has four links, as
numbered. Recall that the fixed link, or frame, must always be included as a link. The
mechanism also has four revolute, or pin, joints.
The degrees of freedom can be calculated as follows:
M = 3(4 - 1) - 2(4) = 1
With one degree of freedom, moving one link precisely positions all other links in the
mechanism. Therefore, a typical displacement analysis problem involves determining
the position of links 3 and 4 in figure 3.1 as link 2 moves to a specified displacement. In
this example, the driving displacement is angular, 3 = 150 clockwise.
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Figure 3.1 Typical position analysis

Figure 3.2 Two geometric inversions of a four-bar mechanism


Nearly all linkages exhibit alternate configurations for a given position of the driver
link(s). Two configurations for the same crank position of a four-bar mechanism are
shown in figure 3.2. These alternate configurations are called geometric inversions. It is
a rare instance when a linkage can move from one geometric inversion to a second
without disassembling the mechanism or traveling through dead points. Thus, when
conducting a displacement analysis, inspecting the original configuration of the
mechanism is necessary to determine the geometric inversion of interest.
3.2.

Position Analysis

A. Graphical Position Analysis


In placing a mechanism in a new configuration, it is necessary to relocate the links in
their respective new positions. Simple links that rotate about fixed centers can be
relocated by drawing arcs, centered at the fixed pivot, through the moving pivot, at the
specified angular displacement. This was illustrated in figure 3.1 as link 2 was rotated
150 clockwise.

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In some analyses, complex links that are attached to the frame also must be rotated.
This can be done using several methods. In most cases, the simplest method begins by
relocating only one line of the link. The other geometry that describes the link can then
be reconstructed, based on the position of the line that has already been relocated.
Figure 3.3 illustrates the process of rotating a complex link. In figure 3.3a, line AB of the
link is displaced to its desired position, 2 = 800 clockwise. Notice that the relocated
position of point B is designated as B.

Figure 3.3 Rotating a complex link


The next step is to determine the position of the relocated point C, which is designated
as C. Because the complex link is rigid and does not change shape during movement,
the lengths of lines AC and BC do not change. Therefore, point C can be located by
measuring the lengths of AC and BC and striking arcs from points A and B.
A second approach can be employed on a CAD system. The lines that comprise the link
can be duplicated and rotated to yield the relocated link. All CAD systems have a
command that can easily rotate and copy geometric entities. This command can be
used to rotate all lines of a link about a designated point, a specified angular
displacement. It is convenient to display the rotated link in another color and place it on
a different layer.
Once a driver link is repositioned, the position of all other links must be determined. To
accomplish this, the possible paths of all links that are connected to the frame should be
constructed. For links that are pinned to the frame, all points on the link can only rotate
relative to the frame. Thus, the possible paths of those points are circular arcs, centered
at the pin connecting the link to the frame.
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Figure 3.4 illustrates a kinematic diagram of a mechanism. Links 2, 4, and 6 are all
pinned to the frame. Because points B, C, and E are located on links 2, 4, and 6,
respectively, their constrained paths can be readily constructed. The constrained path of
point B is a circular arc, centered at point A, which is the pin that connects link 2 to the
frame. The constrained paths of C and E can be determined in a similar manner.
The constrained path of a point on a link that is connected to the frame with a slider joint
can also be easily determined. All points on this link move in a straight line, parallel to
the direction of the sliding surface.
After the constrained paths of all links joined to the frame are constructed, the positions
of the connecting links can be determined. This is a logical process that stems from the
fact that all links are rigid. Rigidity means that the links do not change length or shape
during motion.

Figure 3.4 Constrained path of points on a link pinned to the frame


In figure 3.1, the positions of links 3 and 4 are desired as link 2 rotates 15 0 clockwise.
Figure 3.5 shows link 2 relocated to its displaced location, which defines the position of
point B. The constrained path of point C has also been constructed in figure 3.5.
Because of its rigidity, the length of link 3 does not change during motion. Although link
2 has been repositioned, the length between points B and C (r BC) does not change. To
summarize the facts of this displacement analysis, the following is known:
1. Point B has been moved to B.
2. Point C must always lay on its constrained path (length r CD from D) and
3. The length between B and C must stay constant (C must be a length rBC from B.

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From these facts, the new position of link 3 can be constructed. The length of line BC
should be measured. Because point B has been moved to B, an arc of length r BC is
constructed with its center at B. By sweeping this arc, the feasible path of point C has
been determined. However, point C must also lay on its constrained path, as shown in
figure 3.5. Therefore, point C must be located at the intersection of the two arcs. This
process is illustrated in figure 3.10. Note that the two arcs will also intersect at a second
point. This second point of intersection is a considerable distance from C and
represents a second geometric inversion for this linkage. The linkage must be
disassembled and reassembled to achieve this alternate configuration, so that
intersection can be ignored.
It is possible that the two arcs do not intersect at all. Cases where the constrained path
and feasible path do not intersect indicate that length of the individual links prevents the
driver link from achieving the specified displacement.

Figure 3.5 Constructing the constrained path of C.


Once C has been located, the position of links 3 and 4 can be drawn. Thus, the
configuration of the mechanism as the driver link was repositioned has been determined
This section presents the logic behind graphical position analysisthat is, locating a
displaced point as the intersection of the constrained and feasible paths. This logic is
merely repeated as the mechanisms become more complex. The actual solution can be
completed using manual drawing techniques (using a protractor and compass) or can
be completed on a CAD system (using a rotate and copy command). The logic is
identical; however, the CAD solution is not susceptible to the limitations of drafting
accuracy. Regardless of the method used, the underlying concepts of graphical position
analysis can be further illustrated and expanded through the following example
problems.
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Example 1
Figure E1 shows a kinematic diagram of a mechanism that is driven by moving link 2.
Graphically reposition the links of the mechanism as link 2 is displaced 30 0
counterclockwise. Determine the resulting angular displacement of link 4 and the linear
displacement of point E.

Fig. E1
Example 2
Compound-lever snips, as shown in figure E2, are often used in place of regular tinner
snips when large cutting forces are required. Using the top handle as the frame,
graphically reposition the components of the snips when the jaw is opened 15 0.
Determine the resulting displacement of the lower handle.

Fig. E2
Graphical Position Analysis of Four-bar Linkages
For any one DOF linkage, such as a four-bar, only one parameter is needed to
completely define the positions of all the links. The parameter usually chosen is the
angle of the input link. This is shown as 4 in figure 3.6. We want to find 3 and 4. The
link lengths are known. We can consistently number the ground link as 1 and the driver
link as 2 in these examples.
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If we draw the linkage carefully to scale with ruler, compass, and protractor in a
particular position (given 2), then it is only necessary to measure the angles of links 3
and 4 with the protractor. All link angles are measured from the positive X axis. In
figure 3.6, a local xy axis system, parallel to the global XY system, has been created at
point A to measure 3. The accuracy of this graphical solution will be limited by our care
and drafting ability and by the crudity of the protractor used. Nevertheless, a very rapid
approximation solution can be found for any one position.
Figure 3.7 shows the construction of the graphical position solution. The four link
lengths a, b, c, and d and the angle 2 of the input link are given. First, the ground link 1
and the input link 2 are drawn to a convenient scale such that they intersect at the origin
O2 of the global XY coordinate system with link 2 placed at the input angle 2. Link 1 is
drawn along the X axis for convenience. The compass is set to the scaled length of link
3, and an arc of that radius swung about the end of link 2 (point A). Then the compass is
set to the scaled length of link 4, and a second arc swung about the end of link 1 (point
O4). These two arcs will have two intersections at B and B that define the two solutions
to the position problem for a four-bar linkage which can be assembled in two
configurations, called circuits, labeled open and crossed in figure 3.7.

Figure 3.6 Measurement of angles in the four-bar linkage


The angles of links 3 and 4 can be measured with a protractor. One circuit has angles 3
and 4, the other 3 and 4. A graphical solution is only valid for the particular value of
input angle used. For each additional position analysis, we must completely redraw the
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linkage. This can become burdensome if we need a complete analysis at every 1 or 2


degrees increment of 2. In that case we will be better off to derive an analytical solution
for 3 and 4 which can be solved by computer.

Figure 3.7 Graphical position solution to the open and crossed configurations
B. Analytical Position Analysis
Generally speaking, analytical methods can be used in position analysis to yield results
with a high degree of accuracy. This accuracy comes with a price in that the methods
often become numerically intensive.
For design situations, where kinematic analysis is not a daily task, complex methods
can be difficult to understand and implement. A more straightforward method of position
analysis involves using the trigonometric laws for triangles. Admittedly, this brute-force
technique is not efficient for those involved in kinematic research. However, for the
typical design engineer, the simplicity far outweighs all inefficiencies. Thus, this triangle
method of position analysis will be used first.
In general, this method involves inserting reference lines within a mechanism and
analyzing the triangles. Laws of general and right triangles are then used to determine
the lengths of the triangle sides and the magnitude of the interior angles. As details
about the geometry of the triangles are determined, this information is assembled to
analyze the entire mechanism.
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A substantial benefit of analytical analysis is the ability to alter dimensions and quickly
recalculate a solution. During the design stages, many machine configurations and
dimensions are evaluated. Graphical analysis must be completely repeated for each
evaluation. Analytical methods, specifically when implemented with spreadsheets or
other computer-based tools, can update solutions quickly. The analytical method of
position analysis can best be seen through the following examples.
Example 3
Figure E3 shows a toggle clamp used to securely hold parts. Analytically determine the
displacement of the clamp surface as the handle rotates downward, 15 0.

Fig. E3
Algebraic Position Analysis of Four-bar Linkages
The same procedure that was used in figure 3.7 to solve geometrically for the
intersection B and B and angles of links 3 and 4 can be encoded into an algebraic
algorithm. The coordinates of point A are found from:

(3.1a)
The coordinates of point B are found using the equations of circles about A and O 4,

(3.1b & c)
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which provides a pair of simultaneous equations in B x and By,


Subtracting eqn. 3.2c from 3.2b gives an expression for B x:

(3.1d)

Substituting eqn. 3.1d into 3.1c gives a quadratic equation in B y which has two solutions
corresponding to those in figure 3.7.

(3.1e)
This can be solved with the familiar expression for the roots of a quadratic equation,

(3.1f)

Note that the solutions to this equation set can be real or imaginary. If the latter, it
indicates that the links cannot connect at the given input angle or at all. Once the two
values of By are found (if real), they can be substituted into eqn. 3.1d to find their
corresponding x components. The link angles for this position can then be found from:

(3.1g)
A two-argument arctangent function must be used to solve equations 3.2g since the
angles can be in any quadrant. Equations 3.1 can be encoded in any computer
language or equation solver, and the value of 2 varied over the linkage's usable range
to find all corresponding values of the other two link angles.
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3.3

Instructor: Robel Metiku

Vector Loop Representation of linkages

An alternate approach to linkage position analysis creates a vector loop (or loops)
around the linkage. The links are represented as position vectors. Figure 3.8 shows the
a four-bar linkage with the links drawn as position vectors which form a vector loop. This
loop closes on itself making the sum of the vectors around the loop zero. The lengths of
the vectors are the link lengths which are known. The current linkage position is defined
by the input angle as it is a one DOF mechanism. We want to solve for the unknown
angles 3 and 4. To do so a convenient notation to represent the position vectors is to
use complex number notation.

Figure 3.8 Position vector loop for a four-bar linkage


The directions of the position vectors in figure 3.8 are chosen so as to define their
angles where we desire them to be measured. By definition, the angle of a vector is
always measured at the root, not at its head. We would like angle 4 to be measured at
the fixed pivot O4, so vector R4 is arranged to have its root at that point. We would like to
measure angle 3 at the point where links 2 and 3 join, so vector R3 is rooted there. A
similar logic dictates the arrangement of vectors R1 and R2. Note that the X (real) axis is
taken for convenience along link 1 and the origin of the global coordinate system is
taken at point O2, the root of the input link vector, R2. These choices of vector directions
and senses, as indicated by their arrow heads, lead to this vector loop equation:
(3.2a)
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Next, we substitute the complex number notation for each position vector. To simplify
the notation and minimize the use of subscripts, we will denote the scalar lengths of the
four links as a, b, c, and d. Using Eulers identity,

(3.2b)
the equation becomes:

(3.2c)
These are two forms of the same vector equation, and as such can be solved for two
unknowns. There are four variables in this equation, namely the four link angles. The
link lengths are all constant in this particular linkage. Also, the value of the angle of link
1 is fixed (at zero) since this is the ground link. The independent variable is 2 which we
will control with a motor or other driver device. That leaves the angles of link 3 and 4 to
be found. We need algebraic expressions which define 3 and 4 as functions only of the
constant link lengths and the one input angle, 2. The expression is of the form:

(3.2d)
To solve eqn. 3.2c, we must substitute the Euler equivalents (eqn. 3.2b) for the e j
terms, and then separate the resulting Cartesian form vector equation into two scalar
equations which can be solved simultaneously for 3 and 4. Substituting eqn. 3.2b into
eqn. 3.2c:

. (3.2e)
The equation can now be separated into real and imaginary parts and each set to zero.
Real part (x component):
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(3.3a)
Imaginary part (y component):

(3.3b)
The equations 3.3a and 3.3b can now be solved simultaneously for 3 and 4. To solve
this set of two simultaneous trigonometric equations is straightforward but tedious.
Some substitution of trigonometric identities will simplify the expressions.
The first step is to rewrite eqns. 3.3a and 3.3b so as to isolate one of the two unknowns
on the left side. We will isolate 3 and solve for 4 in this example.

(3.3c & d)
Now squaring both sides of eqns. 3.3c and 3.3d and add them:

(3.4a)
Note that the quantity in parentheses on the left side is equal to 1, eliminating 3 from
the equation, leaving only 4 which can now be solved for:

.. (3.4b)
In order to reduce eqn. 3.4b to a more solvable form, it will be useful to substitute the
half angle identities which will convert the sin 4 and cos 4 terms to tan 4 terms:

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.. (3.4c)
The solution for angle 3 is essentially similar to that for 4.
Closed Form Position Analysis Equation for Four-bar Linkage Mechanism
Figure 3.9 illustrates a general four-bar linkage.

Figure 3.9 the four-bar mechanism


A typical analysis involves determining the interior joint angles ( 3, 4, and ) for known
links (L1, L2, L3, and L4) at a certain crank angle 2. Specifically, the interior joint angles
(3, 4, and ) must be determined.

These equations can be used to determine the position of the links in any mechanism
configuration. The equations are applicable to any four-bar mechanism assembled as
shown in Figure 3.9.
Circuits of a Four-Bar Linkage
For four-bar mechanisms classified as crank-rockers, there are two regions of possible
motion corresponding with the two geometric inversions. These regions are termed

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assembly circuits. A mechanism is unable to move between assembly circuits without


being disassembled. The mechanism shown in Figure 3.9 operates in the first circuit
(Figure 3.10a).
By physically disconnecting joint C, the links can be reoriented and reassembled into
the configuration shown in Figure 3.10b. As this mechanism is operated, it exhibits
motion in the second circuit. Although the motion of the mechanism appears to be
different, depending on the circuit of operation, the relative motion between the links
does not change. However, the circuit in which the mechanism is assembled must be
specified to understand the absolute motion and operation of the mechanism.

Figure 3.10 Circuits of a four-bar mechanism


For four-bar mechanisms operating in the second circuit, the above equations must be
slightly altered as follows:

Closed Form Position Analysis Equation for an In line Slider Crank Mechanism
Figure 3.11 illustrates the basic configuration of an in-line slider-crank linkage. A typical
analysis involves locating the position of the links, given their lengths (L 2 and L3) and the
crank angle (2). Specifically, the position of the slider (L 4) and the interior joint angles
(3 and ) must be determined.

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Figure 3.11 In line slider crank mechanism


The equations used in terms of L2, L3, and 2 are:

These equations can be used to determine the position of the links in any configuration
of an in line slider crank mechanism.
Example 4
Figure E4 shows a concept for a hand pump used for increasing oil pressure in a
hydraulic line. Analytically determine the displacement of the piston as the handle
rotates 150 counterclockwise.

Figure E4 Toggle clamp


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Closed Form Position Analysis Equation for an Offset Slider Crank Mechanism
Figure 3.12 illustrates the basic configuration of an offset slider-crank linkage.

Figure 3.16 Offset slider crank mechanism


A typical analysis involves locating the position of the links, given their lengths (L 1, L2
and L3) and the crank angle ( 2). Specifically, the position of the slider (L 4) and the
interior joint angles (3 and ) must be determined.
The generalized equations are given as:

These equations can be used to determine the position of the links in any configuration
of an offset slider crank mechanism. The equations also apply when the offset
distance is in the opposite direction of figure 3.16. For that case, L 1 in the equation
should be substituted as a negative value.
Example 5
Figure E5 shows a toggle clamp used for securing a work-piece during a machining
operation. Analytically determine the angle that the handle must be displaced in order to
lift the clamp arm 300 clockwise.

Fig. E5

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3.4

Instructor: Robel Metiku

Limiting Positions

Graphical Analysis of Limiting Position


The configuration of a mechanism that places one of the follower links in an extreme
location is called a limiting position. Many machines have linkages that continually
oscillate between two limiting positions. Figure 3.13 illustrates the limiting positions of
an offset slider-crank mechanism.
The displacement of the follower link from one limiting position to the other defines the
stroke of the follower. For translating links, as shown in figure 3.13a, the stroke is a
linear measurement. For links that exhibit pure rotation, the stroke is an angular
quantity, and is also called throw, as shown in figure 3.13b. The configuration of links
that place a follower in a limiting position is associated with the crank and coupler
becoming collinear. Figure 3.13 illustrates the limiting configurations for a slider-crank
and a four-bar linkage. An imbalance angle is defined as the angle between the
coupler configurations at the two limiting positions. The position of a driver, or actuated
link that places a follower link in an extreme, or limiting, position is often desired. In
addition, the motion of a linkage is commonly referenced from the actuator position that
places the follower in a limiting position.
The logic used on solving such a problem is similar to the position analysis just
discussed. The following examples illustrate this analysis.

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Figure 3.13 Limiting Positions

Example 6
The mechanism shown in figure E6 is the driving linkage for a reciprocating saber saw.
Determine the configurations of the mechanism that places the saw blade in its limiting
positions.

Figure E6 Saber saw mechanism


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Example 7
Figure E7 illustrates a linkage that operates a water nozzle at an automatic car wash.
Determine the limiting positions of the mechanism that places the nozzle in its extreme
positions.

Figure E7 Water nozzle linkage

Analytical Analysis of Limiting Position


Analytical determination of the limiting positions for a mechanism is a combination of
two concepts presented earlier in this chapter:
I.

The logic of configuring the mechanism into a limiting configuration. This was

II.

incorporated in the graphical method for determining the limiting positions.


The method of breaking a mechanism into convenient triangles and using the
laws of trigonometry to determine all mechanism angles and lengths.

Combining these two concepts to determine the position of all links in a mechanism at a
limiting position is illustrated through Example 8.
Example 8
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Figure E8 shows a conveyor transfer mechanism. Its function is to feed packages to a


shipping station at specific intervals. Analytically determine the extreme positions of the
lifting conveyor segment.

Figure E8 Conveyor feed


3.5.

Transmission Angle

The mechanical advantage of a mechanism is the ratio of the output force (or torque)
divided by the input force (or torque). In a linkage, the transmission angle quantifies
the force transmission through a linkage and directly affects the mechanical efficiency.
Clearly, the definitions of transmission angle depend on the choice of driving link. The
transmission angle for slider-crank and four-bar mechanisms driven by the crank is
shown in figure 3.14. In these linkages, the mechanical advantage is proportional to the
sine of the angle . As the linkage moves, the transmission angle, along with all other
joint angles, and the mechanical advantage constantly change. Often, the extreme
transmission angle values are desired.
In the slider-crank, the transmission angle is measured between the coupler and a line
normal to the sliding direction. The values for the minimum and maximum transmission
angles can be determined by geometrically constructing the configurations as shown in
figure 3.14a. Alternatively, the minimum and maximum transmission angles for a slidercrank can be calculated from

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In the four-bar, the transmission angle is measured between the output link and the
coupler. The values for the minimum and maximum transmission angles can be
determined by geometrically constructing the configurations as shown in figure 3.14b.
Alternatively, the minimum and maximum transmission angles can be calculated from

The transmission angle is one measure of the quality of force transmission in the
mechanism. Ordinarily, the coupler is a tension or compression link. Thus, it is only able
to push or pull along the line that connects the two pins. As a torque applied to the
output pivot, optimal force transmission occurs when the transmission angle is 90 0. As
the transmission angle deviates from 900, only a component of the coupler force is
converted to torque at the pivot.

Figure 3.14 Transmission Angle


Thus, the transmission angle influences mechanical advantage of a mechanism. A
common rule of thumb is that the transmission angles should remain between 45 0 and
1350.
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Example 9
Figure E9 shows a mechanism that is designed to push parts from one conveyor to
another. During the transfer, the parts must be rotated as shown. Analytically determine
the limiting positions and stroke of the pusher rod.

Figure E9 Conveyor Feed


Solution
1. Draw the Kinematic Diagram
The kinematic diagram for this mechanism is shown below. Notice that it is an offset
slider-crank mechanism having one degree of freedom.

Mechanism (KD) for E9


2. Designate the Original Phase
Arbitrarily, the original phase is selected to be when the crank is horizontal, placing joint
directly left of joint.
3. Identify the Limiting Positions
Focusing on the position of link 4, the slider oscillation can be approximated as and the
maximum displacement as
26.51 mm < L4 < 93.25 mm
And the maximum displacement (stroke) as
R4 max = (L4)max - (L4)min 93.25 26.51 = 66.74 mm.
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1. For the mechanism shown below:


a. Positions all the links as link 2 is rotated 60 0 clockwise and analytically
determine the displacement of link 4.
b. Analytically position the inks into the configuration that places link 4 in its
limiting position. Determine the maximum displacement (stroke) of link 4.

(Correction: change 16.8 mm to 20 mm & do not use the 5.3 mm not given)
2. A crank rocker linkage has a 100 mm frame, a 25 mm crank, a 90 mm coupler,
and a 75 mm rocker. Draw the linkage and find the maximum and minimum
values of the transmission angle. Locate both toggle positions and compute the
corresponding crank angles and transmission angles.
Ans. (min = 53.130, max = 98.10; at = 400, = 59.10; at = 228.60, = 89.10).

3. The offset slider crank mechanism shown below is driven by rotating crank 2.
Using any appropriate method write an equation for the position of the slider 4 as
a function of 2 or cos 2. Take L1 = 1.0 cm, L2 = 2.5 cm, L3 = 7.0 cm.
Ans. [L4 = 2.50 cos 2 + (36.75 + 6.25 cos2 2)1/2 cm].

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