In this present work, the non-linear behavior of a single-link flexible visco-elastic Cartesian manipulator is studied. The temporal equation of motion with complex coefficients of the system is obtained by using D'Alembert's principle and generalized Galarkin method. The temporal equation of motion contains non-linear geometric and inertia terms with forced and non-linear parametric excitations. It may also be found that linear and non-linear damping terms originated from the geometry of the large deformation of the system exist in this equation of motion. Method of multiple scales is used to determine the approximate solution of the complex temporal equation of motion and to study the stability and bifurcation of the system. The response obtained using method of multiple scales are compared with those obtained by numerically solving the temporal equation of motion and are found to be in good agreement. The response curves obtained using viscoelastic beams are compared with those obtained from a linear Kelvin-Voigt model and also with an equivalent elastic beam. The effect of the material loss factor, amplitude of base excitation, and mass ratio on the steady state responses for both simple and subharmonic resonance conditions are investigated. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.