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Multi-configuration is the main important characteristic of metamorphic


mechanisms which have the ability to adjust themselves in different environments and
carry out different tasks (work stages) by changing their shape and topology with
respect to the task needed to be accomplished. In this work, with the research into
metamorphic mechanisms, firstly, a brief introduction into the basic characteristics of
metamorphic mechanisms is presented. Then the design methods and schemes
required to reach the final design proposal starting from the product¶s concept are
briefly explained and analysed. Subsequently, a detailed design metamorphic 8R
mechanism is created using a computer aided design (CAD) software SolidWorks®
and assembly diagrams are presented to illustrate the essential information of the
design. Furthermore, geometry analysis of the metamorphic 8R mechanism is carried
out for the initial mechanism and its sub-phases. The kinematic parts are ideally
illustrated using an adjacency matrix and an associated linkage for each sub-system
indicates how the links are connected one another. Finally, the assembly model is
fully animated with respect to its eight interesting reconfigurations and the work ends
with conclusions and reflection.

O  
 

With the development of science and technology within the last two decades
numerous innovative mechanisms and robots have been designed and manufactured.
 
 
 is introduced as a novel kind of mechanism that has the
ability to generate different topological configurations for reconfigurability and for
various task requirements. That is to say, metamorphic mechanisms are able to alter
their own shape and mobility by rearranging the connectivity of their parts and have
its structure transformed from one state to another in order to accomplish different
tasks [1].

The initial idea of metamorphic mechanisms, proposed by Dai and Jones (1998)
analysing their mobility based on screw theory, was originated by the concept of
metamorphosis, an ancient Greek word (meta-mȩrphosis) which means change form.
As a result, a metamorphic mechanism is not just a structure that performs a particular
function. It is a system capable of changing itself into different types of sub-systems,
through the transformation of its kinematic pairs [2]. As it has been already
mentioned, a metamorphic mechanism is transformed into a sub-system by changing
its topological structure. In order to fully understand how the topology alters it is
worth noting to define topology. A mechanism is formed by several links connected
by joints. The total number of links and joints determine the degrees of freedom
(DOFs) of the structure. Thus, topology can be defined as the types and number of
mechanical members and the adjacency between them [3].

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The essential characteristicsof metamorphic mechanisms are the following:

‡ ÷    
 
 (stability of topological state of the sub-system) [2]

‡ ÷   
 
 
  (change of topological state) [2]

‡ ÷   
     
 
 (alteration of the configuration of the topological
state of the sub-mechanism over time) [2]

‡     
    
  
   (multi-configuration based on
changing the total number of links and their mobility in each phase)

‡ 


 (a metamorphic mechanism should be able to easily alter
its structure with respect to the external environment)

‡ 
    (e.g. 3 DOF parallel mechanisms)

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The current work is to design   


  
 using computer
aided design (CAD) software SolidWorks®. The kinematic model of the
metamorphic mechanism is depicted in the following figure:

Fig.1

The metamorphic mechanism is constructed using eight links (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)


connected together using eight revolute joints (R-e1,e2,e3,e4,e5,e6,e7,e8). a   

 is a one DOF joint that allows two paired elements to rotate with respect to one
another about an axis defined by the geometry of the joint [4]. The angles between

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each couple of revolute joints intersecting at common points A,B,C and D are
determinate, that a1=a2=a3=a4=45°.

Nowadays, the ideal product design process starts with a need and 


  
, follows through a      
 stage and then trough an 

 
 stage to reach the  
  
 proposal. The conceptual design is the first
stage of the design process where imagination and creativity of the designer play a
vital role. The aim is to generate possible solution, schemes or methods to solve the
problem. The conceptual design can be illustrated using designer¶s sketches. Again
skills of the designer are really important at this stage. Although conceptual design
lacks the specific details necessary to produce a final product it is of imperative
importance due to the fact that it defines all the specifications of the product
beforehand to guide the development of the product. Also it lays down the
requirements in scientific terms for the product to be designed. A conceptual design
full of flaws means an incorrect embodiment and in turn an unsuccessful detailed
design [5]. The embodiment design is the stage whereas two or three conceptual
solutions will be evaluated and selected to be analysed in greater detail. The final
choice is with consideration of the previous stage and the output is a rough drawing.
Finally the detailed design considers all the large numbers of small but fundamental
information needed to design the final product. As a detailed design proposal the
caliber of the design should be high in order to save money and time during the
production stage. The output of this stage is a set of a very detailed design and final
specification including geometry analysis, joining methods, assembly diagrams,
motion analysis, stress analysis etc. A good representation of the design process can
be illustrated using French¶s model:

Fig. 2

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According to French¶s model a simplified and brief representation of how the


metamorphic 8R mechanism evolves through the stages of the design process can be
shown in the following figures:

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Fig.3

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Using SolidWorks® the final detailed design proposal can be depicted in the
subsequent figure:

Fig.4

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‡ a 
 

Fig.5

Fig.6

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Fig.7

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The topological structure (topology) of the metamorphic mechanism can be


represented using a matrix called the   
. The kinematical structures
can be illustrated ideally using this matrix. In this matrix each link is labeled from 1 to
8. An entry of connectivity between the ith and the jth links is given as element (i,j) in
the adjacency matrix. When two links are connected together by a kinematic pair, the
entry of the corresponding row and column is noted as ³1´ otherwise as ³0´ [3].

When links i,j are neither connected by a joint nor combined during structural
change, the entry of corresponding row and column is noted as ³-1´ [4].

Subsequently, an adjacency matrix for the initial phase of the metamorphic 8R


mechanism as well as an adjacency matrix for the first three of its interesting
topological configurations (sub-phases) will be created to describe how the geometry
changes during reconfiguration.
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Also a simple 


 
 will be introduced for each of the sub-phases to
present an overview of how the links are connected one to another.

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created using Microsoft excel®)

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along x-axis then the other link is rotating along an axis that creates an angle of45°
with x-axis within the 3-dimensional space.

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The metamorphic 8R mechanism comprises of 8 revolute joints indicated with the


green colour and 8 links (constructed only with straight surfaces- no curves). As a
result SolidWorks curvature tool displays the different parts of the assembly
according to the local radius of curvature.

Fig.10

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Selectively, the 

 of 6 out of the 8 sub-phases of the metamorphic
mechanism has been carried out using SolidWorks®. A screen shot from each
animation has depicted and presented. (  

   

   
).

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The animation for the first sub-phase carried out firstly by attaching link 8 to link 1
and then the second animation by attaching link 6 to link 5 too. For this reason, only
the second animation is shown in the figure below

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2  
 

There already exist many metamorphic mechanisms in some common equipment such
as braking mechanism and ignition lock mechanisms [1]. Metamorphic mechanisms
can cause radical changes in the field of   
 especially due to their high
flexibility and self-reliance. Also metamorphic mechanisms help scientists and
engineers to make one step forward towards enhancing the robotic systems by
designing and manufacturing  
  (reconfigurable robots). These
novel-designed robots have the ability to change their topological structure
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(reconfiguration) and that makes them extremely favorable and important units in
accomplishing a wide variety of technically complex tasks. Some of these tasks are:
providing help and rescuing people at hazardous environments (after natural disasters
such as Earthquake or Tsunami) and exploring the outer space. Studying the structure
and geometry ofmetamorphic mechanisms and designing a 3D kinematic
metamorphic 8R mechanism step by step using SolidWorks® was the fundamental
objective of this work. Metamorphic mechanisms are not just solid and unique
structures but they have the ability to change their structure (shape) resorting to link
annexing and perform several maneuvers due to their multi-configuration, robustness
and mobility.

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[1] Zhang Wuxiang and Ding Xilun, ] 


   
 
   
  
  , in International conference of Reconfigurable
Mechanisms and Robots.

[2] Liping Zhang and Jian S Dai, ] ! " 


  
 
#   
   
    , in International conference of
Reconfigurable Mechanisms and Robots.

[3] Chen-Hsiung Kang and Hong-Sen Yang, ]   


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"
% ÷   , Dissertation.

[4] Ketao Zhang, Jian S Dai and Yuefa Fang, ]&"


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  , in International
conference of Reconfigurable Mechanisms and Robots.

[5] J S Dai,  
    
  notes, 2011,Department of Mechanical
Engineering, School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, King¶s College London,
University of London, Strand campus, London.

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