Teaching Kinematic Synthesis of Linkages Without Complex Mathematics

  • Louis G. Reifschneider (Illinois State University)


Courses in which the design of machine elements is taught typically address the design of four-bar linkages, cams, and gear trains. Instruction about the function of mechanisms begins with kinematic analysis where it is assumed that all principal dimensions of a mechanism are known, the interconnections of the links are defined, and the motion of the driver link is prescribed. The task is to determine the displacements, velocities, and accelerations of the various members in the mechanism and also the path followed by certain elements (Erdman, Sandor, & Kota, 2001). Kinematic synthesis, on the other hand, begins with a prescribed motion that must be achieved with an as yet unknown sized or shaped mechanism. It is the intent of the author to show by detailed examples how graphing the trends observed while performing the overlay technique for kinematic synthesis can be used to facilitate finding a solution to a common set of design problems that would otherwise require complex mathematics to solve.

Keywords: CAD|curriculum|design|machine design|teaching methods

How to Cite:

Reifschneider, L. G., (2005) “Teaching Kinematic Synthesis of Linkages Without Complex Mathematics”, The Journal of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering 23(1).

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Published on
01 Oct 2005