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Towards Parallel Cable-Driven Pantographs

[+] Author Affiliations
Simon Perreault

Minogue Medical Inc., Montreal, QC, Canada

Philippe Cardou, Clément Gosselin

Laval University, Quebec, QC, Canada

Paper No. DETC2011-47751, pp. 1263-1272; 10 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 6: 35th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B
  • Washington, DC, USA, August 28–31, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5483-9
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


We propose a new class of pantographs, i.e., of mechanisms that allow the reproduction of the displacements of an input link, the master, with an output link, the slave. The application we envision for these devices is the telemanipulation of objects from small distances, at low cost, where magnetic fields or other design constraints prohibit the use of electromechanical systems. Despite the long history of pantographs, which were invented in the 17th century, the class of pantographs proposed here is new, as it relies on parallel cable-driven mechanisms to transmit the motion. This allows the reproduction of rigid-body displacements, while previous pantographs were limited to point displacements. This important characteristic and others are described in the paper. One important challenge in the design of the proposed systems is that the cables must remain taut at all time. We address this issue by introducing nonlinear springs that passively maintain a minimum tension in the cables, while approximating static balancing of the mechanism over its workspace. Approximating static balancing allows the forces applied at the slave to reflect more accurately at the master, and vice versa. As a preliminary validation, a two-degree-of-freedom parallel cable-driven pantograph is designed. A prototype of this apparatus that does not include approximate static balancing is built, which demonstrates the working principle of these mechanisms.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME
Topics: Cables



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