In the body of research relevant to high-performance flapping micro air vehicles (MAV), development of light-weight, compact and energy-efficient flapping mechanisms occupies a position of primacy due to its direct impact on the flight performance and mission capability. Realization of such versatile flapping mechanism with additional ability of producing thrust levels that fulfill requirements of cruising forward flight and vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) conditions demand extensive design validation and performance evaluation. This paper presents a concerted approach for mechanism development of a 20 cm span flapping MAV through an iterative design process and synergistic fabrication options involving electrical-discharge-wire-cutting (EDWC) and injection molding. Dynamic characterization of each mechanism is done through high speed photography, power take-off measurement, wind tunnel testing and proof-of-concept test flights. The research outcome represents best-in-class mechanism for a 20 cm span flapping MAV with desirable performance features of extra-large flapping stroke up to 100°, minimal transverse vibrations and almost no phase lag between the wings.
International Journal of Micro Air Vehicles 7(2), p.181-202