The end effector deflections of robotic manipulators may be minimized by optimizing the geometric shape and the dimensions of their links. A multiple posture static performance criterion for the prediction of the shape optimum design is presented. An efficient optimization algorithm is developed for the solution of the problem using finite element modeling to predict the compliance of the robotic arm. The method is applied to an existing robotic arm, and the results demonstrate that simple alterations to the dimensions and the shape of the links can greatly improve, not only the stiffness, but also the stiffness/mass ratio and consequently the vibrational response of the manipulator structure.

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