MOCCA: Modeling and Optimizing Cone-joints for Complex Assemblies

ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH), 2021

Figure 1: Our computational framework optimizes cone joints for designing assemblable and stable structures with a variety of geometric forms: (a) planar, (b) volumetric, (c) frame, and (d) shell structures.


Abstract

We present a computational framework for modeling and optimizing complex assemblies using cone joints. Cone joints are integral joints that generalize traditional single-direction joints such as mortise and tenon joints to support a general cone of directions for assembly. This additional motion flexibility not just reduces the risk of deadlocking for complex joint arrangements, but also simplifies the assembly process, in particular for automatic assembly by robots. On the other hand, compared to planar contacts, cone joints restrict relative part movement for improved structural stability. Cone joints can be realized in the form of curved contacts between associated parts, which have demonstrated good mechanical properties such as reduced stress concentration. To find the best trade-off between assemblability and stability, we propose an optimization approach that first determines the optimal motion cone for each part contact and subsequently derives a geometric realization of each joint to match this motion cone. We demonstrate that our approach can optimize cone joints for assemblies with a variety of geometric forms, and highlight several application examples.