More Periscope Work

I’m still fiddling with the periscope, I added some LEDs, a servo to make it turn and something to mount it to the lift mechanism.

But first I had to adjust the dome pie panel cut out to give more clearance. I marked off the area I wanted to cut and Dremeled in a few slots to start things off and finished it with a small hacksaw blade.

The main periscope assemble is mounted atop PVC tube to add more height.

I wanted to easily remove it for maintenance and also allow some height adjustment at the same time. This little tube is fixed to the lift mech

And the main PVC riser tube slips over and locks into place with a couple of screws

I installed a small HiTec HS-55 servo into the top of the PVC tube to turn the periscope side to side when it’s extended. Attached is a round plate the aluminum based of the periscope will screw into.

I’ve also add the LEDs to the main periscope housing. On the front is an array of 6 rectangular LEDs. These are very close to one’s used on the original ROTJ periscope

They’re glowing orange in the photo but they’re deep red in person. Power is 12V and no resistors needed as they’re in series

Here’s the block of LEDs soldered together before I installed them

I’ve wired in some bright white LEDs inside and some colored one’s on the back of the housing, I also re-appropriated one of my old PSI boards to blink a couple of LEDs to add a bit of variety.

Getting closer 🙂


Posted by Chris on August 1st, 2008 in Body, Dome, Electronics, Feet | 3 Comments

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Dome Pie Panel Control

I’ve almost finished the electronics and programming to control the new hinged pie panels. I’m using a small 18X PICAXE micro-controller coupled with a few buttons on the RF remote.

Check out the video of the panels in action.

I’m also in the process of replacing the veclro that attaches the servos to the dome with something a bit more permanent. The brackets are made from aluminum angle (1.5″x1.5″ and 1/16″ thick).

They’re attached to the top of the hinge and the bolts from the mounting plate that already fix to the dome.

As a side note, if I was doing this again I’d adjust the hinge position a tad. The pies open to the vertical position, but it would have been nice if they’d open a little further, and I figured out (too late) that the lower the hinge is on the pie panel the further it will open – but too far and the hinge will not clear the dome properly.

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Posted by Chris on July 17th, 2008 in Dome, Electronics | 2 Comments

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Dome Pie Panel Servo Setup

Spent the last few evenings working on the dome pie panels, and after some tweaking I think I have a setup I’m happy with.

I ended up keeping the extra plate on the inside of the pie panel. It adds some detail and I like the sound the panels makes because of the extra weight. I left the hinges in the default configuration with no tweaks apart from drilling some holes to attach the servos.

I glued the hinges in place using CA glue, which sounds like it may not work so well, but I used the same glue on the hinges on the body and they’ve held up well.

Notice how the hinges are angled slightly to follow the curve of the dome.

I could have just glue the hinges directly to the dome, but I wanted to make the panels removable, so I created a small plate that glues to the dome and then then the hinges are screwed to it.

For the front Holo projector I’d purchased some push rod assemblies to attach the servos, but they were pretty expensive for something so simple, and I thought I could do better – this is what I ended up with.

It’s made up of some very cheap and readily available parts you’ll find at any hardware store. It basically some #4-40 and #6-32 screws in varying lengths, and short length of aluminum tubing that I cut up to make some linkages. I think it cost me less than $4 to make four push rod assemblies.

The long push rod is a #6-32 screw which attaches to the hinges via a piece of the aluminum tube that’s tapped at one end for the screw.

A long #4-40 screw passes through it horizontally to fix it to the hinges.

On the servo end I tap a small section of the tube on each side, and drilled a hole in the middle that allows the long screw to freely pass thru until I lock it on the side.

The servo is currently attached to the dome with some heavy-duty Velcro, which works fine right now, but I know it will eventually fail so I’ll be making a mounting brackets next.

Here’s a short video showing the setup in action

The next step is to wire all 4 servos into a PICAXE processor and tie it all together with some software to trigger sequences from the RF remote.

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Posted by Chris on July 10th, 2008 in Dome, Electronics | 1 Comment

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Dome Pie Panel Hinge Experiments

Adding hinges to anything on Artoo is tricky, with so many curves and often located in tight spaces it’s really hard to get things just right. I’d bought a bunch of the Robart “350” bomber door hinges a long time ago, and successfully added some to the power charging panel. They’re not cheap, but if you shop around you can find them for around $7 a pair.

There are other options that are cheaper, like the McMaster Carr steal hinges or the plastic one’s Calvin found for 30c. But the consensus seems to be that the Robart hinges are the way to go.

Some builders have had to reverse and trim part of the hinge to get them to work, but I’m not convinced it’s necessary for the dome pie panels. Here’s Keith’s explanation on how he uses them.

Most people seem to use epoxy to secure the hinges, but I also like how Calvin uses nuts and bolts for easy removal.

For my experiments I temporarily used adhesive foam tape, and played with several configurations.

I started off with Keith’s method of trimming and doubling up the hinges. I also added back the cut out from the inner dome to the pie panel to give it more weight and substance.

I found that by reversing and trimming the hinge, it has to sit right on the edge of the dome cut out – making it really easy to align – this is probably the only advantage I can see for flipping the mounting.

But I’m not crazy about how it look so close to the edge.

I also had to slightly file the inside bottom edge of the pie panel to get it to open cleanly.

For my next test I went the minimalistic route, and used a single hinge, configured the ‘correct’ way with it extending further into the dome. I also did not attach the extra cut out to the pie panel.

It was a snap to align and worked surprisingly well and opened just as easy as the first, if not easier. I suspect a servo would like the setup a bit better, being lighter and only having to move one joint. However, it felt more flimsy (obviously) and it would be super important to keep the single screw tight – which is hard to do on anything Artoo.

In summary – I like the heavy feel of the first option and how it sounds when it closes, but I also like the simplicity and cost saving of the second. I’m going to sleep on it tonite and get a second opinion tomorrow before permanently affixing anything to the dome.


Posted by Chris on July 8th, 2008 in Dome | 2 Comments

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