SPADES is an interactive graphics based software package for SPAtial mechanism DESign. The program provides a platform for the synthesis of a spatial 4C mechanism that guides a body through either three or four prescribed positions in space. A spatial 4C mechanism consists of four links connected by cylindrical(C) joints. The two degree of freedom C joints allow both relative translation and rotation about a line which differs from the common planar revolute(R) or hinge joint which allows only relative rotation about a line. The goal in creating SPADES was to assemble the current spatial 4C synthesis and analysis theory into a software package that is useful for spatial mechanism design and research. SPADES runs on Silicon Graphics platforms running IRIX.
The spades design environment is made up of four unique windows. The window in the upper-left displays the 4C mechanism. The linkage may be animated in this window. The window in lower-left diplays the position synthesis. The four locations may be changed in this window. The window in the upper-right shows all location and link information. The link lengths and locations can be changed in this window simply by keying the appropriate information. The window in the lower-right shows the fixed and moving congruences. The guide map displays all possible solutions for the four locations given.