Date of Award

Summer 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Voglewede, Philip A.

Second Advisor

Craig, Kevin C.

Third Advisor

Nagurka, Mark L.


Reconfigurable mechanisms provide quick changeover and reduced costs for low volume manufacturing applications. In addition, these mechanisms provide added flexibility in the context of a constrained environment. A subset of planar reconfigurable mechanisms use variable joints to provide this added adaptability.

In this dissertation, the profile synthesis of planar variable joints that change from a rotational motion to a translational motion was investigated. A method was developed to perform automated profile synthesis. It was shown that combinations of higher variable joints can be used to create kinematically equivalent variable joints that are geometrically different.

The results were used to create two new reconfigurable mechanisms that utilize the synthesized variable joints. The first reconfigurable mechanism is a four-bar mechanism that performs a rigid body guidance task not possible using conventional four-bar theory. The second mechanism uses variable joints in a 3-RPR parallel mechanism for singularity avoidance without adding redundant actuation.