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In some papers and books we can see that authors using symbols to represent robot arms. My question is, is there a convention for such sketches? If so could you provide a reference which shows how these symbols should be used?

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There are usually only two kinds of joints you would use in a robot - a revolute (rotational) joint and a prismatic (translational) joint. Every reference I've seen uses a cylinder to represent revolute joints and a cube or prism to represent a prismatic joint.

You might be able to argue that a cylinder should represent a cylindrical joint, but in reality a cylindrical joint is a combination revolute and prismatic joint.

There are spherical (ball) joints, but I have never seen an actuated spherical joint before. They're more used as a kinematic constraint in shoulder joints or suspension design, in which cases the joint is a pivot and the actuation is still done by prismatic joints.

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  • $\begingroup$ "Usually only two kinds of joints" - I guess I should say two kinds of actuated joints. $\endgroup$ – Chuck May 11 '17 at 12:07
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, however, the from a schematic point of view, active or passive joints are not graphically distingushed (the just have a "$q_i$" written next to them sometimes) $\endgroup$ – 50k4 May 11 '17 at 14:28

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