I’ve been busy prototyping a new periscope lift mechanism for Artoo.
Some of you may remember my earlier posts and videos demonstrating a mechanism I’d purchased from Daniel, unfortunately I gave up on it a very long time ago. In my opinion the design was flawed from the start and I never did get it to work well, but not for the lack of trying on my part.
Now that I’ve finished adding servos to the dome I was anxious to get the periscope working. I remembered seeing photos of Wayne Orr’s lift mech and thought I’d try and do something similar. Rather than fabricate something new he uses a drawer slide as the basis for the design and a small motor to hoist the periscope up on a platform.
The only catch with Wayne’s implementation is that the periscope and life form scanner mechanisms extend deep into the droids body. I don’t have this luxury as I’ve left the top ring cross bar in place to support the slip ring. So anything I come up with would have to fit within the approximate 10″ height restriction of the dome. The periscope assembly itself is around 6″ tall, so that would be the minimum requirement but if I could get more height that would be a plus as I could add an additional riser or have room for a servo to rotate the periscope once extended.
I’d shopped around and bought a selection of drawer slides, but couldn’t find anything shorter than 16 inches locally. Once I had them on the workbench I realized that it really didn’t matter because whatever extended out would need to be hacked off anyway. In the end I picked a 20 inch slider made by KV because it’s two sliding components worked in lock step, which was important to my design.
I removed the stops and hacked it down to just over 10 inches and cut a small section of the inner slider that would run up and down on the sliding bearing, which itself ran inside main track.
This is the start point with the slider on the right
And it extended all the way to the left. Notice the two part slider has moved and not just one piece.
Unfortunately I have to jump a few steps as I didn’t take many photos of my late night tinkering with the lift platform and various iterations of how I tried to move it.
I’d originally added a roller to the top (similar to Wayne’s) which would guide the rope, but in the final design it wasn’t really needed – and currently acts as the end stop.
Right now I have a fixed motor on the lift platform that pulls itself up with a piece of string attached to the top of the slider. It uses gravity to lower itself back down as the motor unwinds the string.
I’m using a small Vex motor, but basically it’s a servo that can continuously rotate, so I can plug it directly into my receiver without the need for a speed controller.
It looks like the platform is sloping in this photo, but I’m hoping it’s just the angle of the shot
Here’s a short video of it in action
I have a lot more work to do on this and not sure how well it will work inside Artoo, especially at an angle. My short list of things to work are:
- Add support to help stop the drawer slide shaking.
- Extra weight to the platform to help it lower.
- Make sure it’s all level
- Limit switches to stop the motor
- Possibly automate with the PICAXE micro-controller, rather than control it manually via the Futaba transmitter.
In closing I also wanted to mention that I’d experimenting with having a spring loaded wheel on the motor (same position as it is now) that would run along the side of the drawer slide to pull the platform along. I still like the idea and may give it another try later. It definitely had a smoother action and having a wheel on the motor made the lift a little faster – Unfortunately I couldn’t get the spring mechanism to work right.