The SPENDULAP system is a valuable teaching tool for reinforcing
several key concepts discussed in advanced undergraduate
dynamics and control courses. The plant's motion is simple to
visualize, but it presents interesting
challenges in kinematics, dynamics, simulation, and control.
In particular, the
three-dimensional nature of the pendulum motion allows students to gain
proficiency and confidence
not possible with a planar apparatus. Additionally, nonlinearities
in the dynamics present interesting,
but tenable, control challenges.
The material presented in this paper could be used as a class project
or as a tutorial for students to go through a complete cycle of kinematic and dynamic
modeling, control, simulation and animation of a multibody
three-dimensional mechanical system.