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Compliant mechanism based on additive manufacturing


An innovative concept of building compliant mechanisms by additive manufacturing (AM) developed at CSEM is presented. Bringing together CSEM’s experience in the design and development of high-performance flexural elements and mechanisms for more than 30 years has opened the doors to new opportunities. The complete development of compliant structures for AM enables CSEM to develop innovative concepts to drastically reduce the need of machining after AM. Support structures under flexure blades are integrated to the flexures with no need for removal, which makes the overall process becomes more streamlined. Thanks to this concept, CSEM has developed new architectures of compliant mechanisms based on additive manufacturing (COMAM) for the European Space Agency (ESA). These demonstrators will be used as use-case for future high-precision and harsh environment applications such as cryogenic and space. The complete development workflow, starting with the design, topology optimization, manufacturing, post-processes, validation, up to performance and environmental testing will be presented.

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This project has been funded by the Swiss Space Office of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI.

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Conception or design of the work: LK, HS, FC, GP, AU, PZ. Data collection: LK, HS, FC, VP, YP. Data analysis and interpretation: LK, HS, FC, GP, AU, PZ, ML. Drafting the article: LK. Critical revision of the article: PZ. Final approval of the version to be published: PZ.

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Correspondence to Lionel Kiener.

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Kiener, L., Saudan, H., Cosandier, F. et al. Compliant mechanism based on additive manufacturing. CEAS Space J (2021).

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  • Compliant mechanisms
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Selective laser melting
  • Laser powder bed fusion
  • Fatigue testing
  • Flexure blade
  • Monolithic cross flexure pivot