Kinematic tolerance analysis

Leo Joskowicz, Elisha Sacks*, Vijay Srinivasan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


We present a general method for worst-case limit kinematic tolerance analysis: computing the range of variation in the kinematic function of a mechanism from its part tolerance specifications. The method covers fixed and multiple contact mechanisms with parametric or geometric part tolerances. We develop a new model of kinematic variation, called kinematic tolerance space, that generalizes the configuration space representation of nominal kinematic function. Kinematic tolerance space captures quantitative and qualitative variations in kinematic function due to variations in part shape and part configuration. We derive properties of kinematic tolerance space that express the relationship between the nominal kinematics of mechanisms and their kinematic variations. Using these properties, we develop a practical kinematic tolerance space computation algorithm for planar pairs with two degrees of freedom.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)147-157
Number of pages11
JournalCAD Computer Aided Design
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1997

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
A preliminary version of this paper appears in the Proceedings of the Third Symposium on Solid Modeling and Applications, 1995. M. Jakiela and R. Gupta of the MIT Mechanical Engineering Department provided preliminary parametric models of the camera parts. Elisha Sacks is supported in part by NSF grant CCR-9505745 from the CISE programme in numeric, symbolic, and geometric computation.


  • Computational kinematics
  • Multiple contact mechanisms
  • Tolerance


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