Ever since the design and manufacture of products moved from the craftsman era where individual craftsman designed and manufactured the entire product, to the mass production era, where skilled laborers were crafting interchangeable parts or in some cases single features on interchangeable parts, variation in assemblies has been a major concern to designers, manufacturers, and in a more subtle way, customers. Variation, in the end, affects quality, performance and the cost of products. One particular type of design that is particularly robust to variation is an exactly constrained design.

Several researchers have recently explored the topic of exact constraint design. An exactly constrained design is one in which each degree of freedom is constrained by a single constraint until the desired degrees of freedom for the design is attained. One attractive advantage of exactly constrained designs is that they are robust to variation.

However, exactly constrained designs often require nesting forces to maintain the configuration of the design. This research develops a method for designing features that will supply robust nesting forces such that the advantages of the exactly constrained design are preserved.

The method developed in this work takes advantage of a proven method for tolerance analysis and enhances this method to include the analysis of these features that supply nesting forces. Along with the enhancement, principles are developed that aid this analysis. All the examples provided in this work are verified using comparisons to Monte Carlo simulations. The comparisons show good results, typically less than 2% difference from the Monte Carlo simulations, verifying that this method accurately predicts variation and allows for the robust design of features that supply the nesting forces in exactly constrained assemblies.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





nesting forces, robust design, tolerance analysis, mechanical assemblies, active smart assemblies