Abstract

This paper presents the design of a novel compliant bistable mechanism. Bistable mechanisms are commonly used in switches and other devices that operate in two distinct modes. This mechanism is a single monolithic structure with simple geometry and does not require external components or post-manufacture assembly. As such, the design is ideally suited for additive manufacturing at large, or micro, scales. The design features a fixed-guided flexural member with surrounding geometry. When a load is applied to the mechanism in a stable configuration, the flexural member exhibits an inflection point that enables bifurcated behavior. As a result, the mechanism snaps between two stable positions in an on-off operation mode. This paper describes the mechanism geometry and its operation. Preliminary design modeling equations are formulated. A finite element simulation is presented that verifies the design equations. Lastly, a prototype is presented to confirm the operation and facilitate force and displacement measurements.

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