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What are the recommended reference text?

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Hello!

How wonderful and well suited these things are for 3D printing!

Especially when we are using rigid plastic like PLA and ABS...

Is there a easy introductory text with e.g. of design?

There's no completely easy text, but many of the designs that you see posted here from the BYU group are from Professor Larry Howell. He has a book called Compliant Mechanisms, that explains the design and engineering principles for designing stuff like this. The book is a bit older (from 2008), so it's possible there have been improvements in the methods and tools. He has a more recent book called The Handbook of Compliant Mechanisms, I haven't been able to get my hands on a copy of that one though. I know that there are some software design tools in development/use by universities and research groups, but I don't think they're available to the public. There's a video of some of that work on youtube. Video title is "A Computational Design Tool for Compliant Mechanisms" from DisneyResearch, ETH Zurich, and Carnagie-Mellon. In short, there's no "easy" way to design these mechanisms outside of trial and error, or using a good deal of math. In the case of the compliant pliers posted here to thingiverse, they're based on the design of common vicegrips, so you could try some trial and error approaches to existing mechanisms and see how it goes.