I love these kinds of discussions. now I work from home as a designer. I have 25 years experience building custom equipment and machines and am having a good time except I miss sharing the little discoveries and exchange of knowledge I had while working outside. So I'm really glad to find an active forum with these kinds of discussions going on.
I am currently working on a manipulator for a flat sheet that has to pick a vertically placed, lightweight rigid sheet and flip it 180° and place it at another point. (basically vacuum grabbed flipped and placed as I can't just grab the edges of this) if you were looking at a front view you would see the front edge of the sheet travel like a twirling baton from the left to the right. The unit doesn't have quite enough space between the left and right (the from from and to stations) so I want the sheet to be picked raised above where there is more room then flipped and lowered into the right station. I have been playing with kinematic chains that will work to do what I want but then I thought it might be a more elegant solution to have a single swing arm with a pivot (behind the sheets out of the way with a cantilevered arm) with all the rest of the manipulation be performed as the arc of the arm progresses across. I hope I have conveyed this clearly enough. I'm stuck trying to visualize how this will look as the is the fist time I'm trying to incorporate arcs and kinematic chains together. is there a way to visualize this so I can get all the pivot point down for the 2 systems to work together?
This kind of machine needs a little show to go with function to help the sales guys out.