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Design and Fabrication of a Multi-Material Compliant Flapping Wing Drive Mechanism for Miniature Air Vehicles

[+] Author Affiliations
Wojciech Bejgerowski, John W. Gerdes, Satyandra K. Gupta, Hugh A. Bruck

University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Stephen Wilkerson

U.S. Army Research Lab, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

Paper No. DETC2010-28519, pp. 69-80; 12 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2: 34th Annual Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, August 15–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4410-6 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3881-5
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


Successful realization of a flapping wing micro air vehicle (MAV) requires development of a light weight drive mechanism converting the rotary motion of the motor into flapping motion of the wings. Low weight of the drive mechanism is required to maximize the payload and battery capacity. In order to make flapping wing MAVs attractive in search, rescue, and recovery missions, they should be disposable from the cost point of view. Injection molded compliant drive mechanisms are an attractive design option to satisfy the weight, efficiency and cost requirements. In the past, we have successfully used multi-piece molding to create mechanisms utilizing distributed compliance for smaller MAVs. However, as the size of the MAV increases, mechanisms with distributed compliance exhibit excessive deformation. Therefore localizing rather than distributing the compliance in the mechanism becomes a more attractive option. Local compliance can be realized through multimaterial designs. A multi-material injection molded mechanism additionally offers reduction in the number of parts. This paper describes an approach for determining the drive mechanism shape and size that meets both the functional design and multi-material molding requirements. The design generated by the approach described in this paper was utilized to realize a flapping wing MAV with significant enhancements in the payload capabilities.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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