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Limited Degrees of Freedom


"Limited Degrees of Freedom" is a concept in design where positioning is determined by the minimum number of contact points.  Only as many contact points are used as is needed to insure the accurate positioning of a part. 

For a simple illustration of this concept, let us consider the design of a bar stool.  If a bar stool has four legs, as many do to support the additional weight of some beer drinkers   :-)   , it would rock back and forth on an uneven floor.  If the bar stool had only three legs, it would stand in a stable fashion even if the floor was uneven.  Therefore, under principles of Limited Degrees of Freedom, to make a stable bar stool for any floor surface, you would design one with three legs.