Abstract

Although Stewart platforms have been applied in the designs of aricraft and vehicle simulators and parallel robots in many years, their closed-form solution of direct (forward) position analysis has not been completely solved. Up to the present time, only the relatively simple Stewart platforms have been analyzed. Examples are the octahedral Stewart and the 4-4 Stewart platforms, in which two pairs of both upper and lower joint centers are coincident. The former results in in an eighth degree polynomial and the latter results in an eighth and a twelfth degree polynomials for different cases. The single unknown variable is in the form of square of a tan-half-angle. This paper further extends the direct position analysis to a more genearl case of the Stewart platform, the 4-6 Stewart platforms, in which two pairs of upper joint centers of adjacent limbs are coincident. The result is a sixteenth degree polynomial in the square of a tan-half-angle, which indicates that a maximum of 32 configurations may be obtained. It is also shown that the previously derived solutions of 4-4 and and 3-6 Stewart platforms can be easily deduced from the sixteenth degree polynomial by setting some geometric parameters be equal to 1 or 0.

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