CurvedLinks were developed for quick turn-around proof-of-concept prototyping of developable mechanisms by the BYU Compliant Mechanism Research Group. Combined with commercial components from the LEGO Group, a wide range of developable mechanisms can be created.
A developable mechanism is a mechanism that, at some point in its motion, conforms to a developable surface. In other words, it is a device that can move and that is shaped to match a curved surface in a certain position.
If the the CurvedLinks are connected so that in one position they match the base circle, you've created a developable mechanism.
Visit https://www.compliantmechanisms.byu.edu/about-developable-mechanisms to learn more about developable mechanisms
We recommend that you print at least one circular piece, as well as several other of the curved beams. That way you'll have enough pieces to experiment building with.
Each of the beams (and the circular piece) in this Thing has the same curvature, which means they'll all fit onto the same size of circle.
The CurvedLinks can be 3D printed using any rigid filament. We print with PLA and find that works well. Support material is not necessary, but may help ensure the countersink holes come out the right depth.
Use CurvedLinks just as you would any other LEGO-compatible part. Connect them together using LEGO joint connector pieces.
There are several other types of CurvedLinks that we've designed. There are different sizes and lengths that you can experiment with.
We've also designed each set of CurvedLinks to work with each other. The "small" set fits inside the "medium" set, which fits inside the "large" set. There are also adapter pieces for linking the sets together as part of the same mechanism. Nestling them inside one another can give motions that you otherwise would not have achieved.