A systematic procedure is proposed to evaluate dynamic characteristics of design alternatives, for a Reconfigurable Machine Tool (RMT). The procedure is intended to be used in an automated design environment where various design alternatives are generated by kinematic synthesis based on a given task and specification. The evaluation procedure makes use of a substructuring method called nonlinear receptance coupling. The coupling method includes the effects of weakly nonlinear compliant joints through the use of describing functions for the nonlinearities involved. To demonstrate the utility of the proposed evaluation procedure design alternatives are generated based on a reduced order lumped parameter model of the RMT and examined with respect to the proposed criteria. It is shown that joint nonlinearities may affect dynamic stiffness considerably. It is also shown that the suggested criteria can distinguish various design alternatives with respect to their expected dynamic behavior.