This paper proposes a novel synthesis method for constructing plane–space switching mechanisms based on the symmetric plane of the regular prism. First, the structure equation and motion characteristic of plane-symmetric eight-bar linkage are presented. Then, the plane-symmetric seven-bar linkage and rhombic Bricard linkage are obtained by locking the joint of the eight-bar linkage. Four types of plane–space switching mechanisms are constructed based on the synthesis method and switching linkage units. These switching mechanisms can expand completely into planar configurations and fold completely into spatial configurations. Subsequently, the kinematics of the coupled branch chain is analyzed, through which the folded and contractive characteristics of the mechanism are revealed. Then, the concept of the distributed circle of joints is proposed, and the enveloping performance of the mechanism is approximately analyzed. This paper provides a new idea and synthesis method for designing new deployable mechanisms.
Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics Open Issues