Design of a constant-force snap-fit mechanism for minimal mating uncertainty

Yi Ho Chen, Chao Chieh Lan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


For assembling injection-molded plastic parts having complicated geometry, snap-fit mechanisms are preferable to screws and chemical adhesives. The use of snap-fits relies on accurate calculation of interference and the associated mating force. The mating force is proportional to the interference, which is very sensitive to plastic part dimensional error. Insufficient interference would result in loose assembly, whereas excessive interference would impede assembly and possibly damage the thin-walled plastic parts. The possibility of unqualified interference impairs the high-value application of snap-fits to electronic appliances and automobiles. To alleviate the requirement for precise interference and to improve the assembly's robustness, this paper presents a constant-force snap-fit mechanism that maintains a regular mating force against a range of interference uncertainty. We propose a design formulation to find mechanism configurations that produce the most constant mating force. Illustrated simulations and experiments show that the mating force of the constant-force snap-fit is less sensitive to interference uncertainty than are typical snap-fits. Since uncertain mating force is minimized without demanding precise interference, we expect this mechanism to provide a ready alternative to existing snap-fit assembly applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-50
Number of pages17
JournalMechanism and Machine Theory
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Sep

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications

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