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William Waters III - N7IPY

This took some time to finish as there is a lot of detail involved and it connects the Bubble and Ear Post projects into a larger sub-assembly. 


Just the Facts:  The basic structure of the Radar section comes from a club vendor; Gary Olley.   it was one his prototype kits so there was a little more work involved to build it and get it finished but it was well worth the small cost.  The Ear Posts are motorized, I used a fast linear actuator to lift the bubble, and of course the Crown turns and the Finger Lights move up and down.  The Radar section is also designed to turn via a stepper motor. The Motor Controller uses my Simple Serial Protocol to control the Linear actuator,  the ear posts motors and the Crown/Finger light motor.  The rotation stepper motor controller and driver is a seperate sub-processor circuit.  This circuit uses 3 optical sensors to detect the rotation position.  Rotation is 90 degrees both directions from center.

I chose a little different color scheme than the standard construction, just because I liked the color contrast.  I built a special purpose stand to support the sub-assembly as my Torso is unfinished and I needed access to the underside while developing the hardware.


The finished Radar Section with the Bubble mounted and in the Up position
Picture of the Bubble in the down position.
Close up of the Bubble in the down position
Close up of the Radar Section with the Bubble in the Up postion
Motor control sub-processors.  The bottom circuit controls the Crown/Finger Light Motor, Ear Motors, and Linear Actuator.  The Linear Actuator has both an up and down position microswitchs. The top controller controls the Stepper Motor for the Radar/Bubble rotation. (Prior to Collar build where these parts have been moved)
Another view of the Electronics, this shows the serial data distribution card that buffers the serial command packet sent to each controller.  The controllers include the Light Controller, Voice Controller, and the Motor Controllers.

Building Gary's Early Radar Kit.

Gary's original kit consisted of Plexiglass top and bottom disks and smaller disks that make up the clutch pack structure, all cut to the proper size.  The main structure is laser cut from compressed wood.  The 8 vertical members on the clutch pack look to be of a resin molding.  Some sanding and fitting was needed to get everything to fit together, but it all worked out well.  I spent time in the shop removing about 50% of the internal plastic that made up the clutch pack to lighten it.  Actually I liked having the wood structure to work with, being an old R/C airplane builder; I find a wood Inner structure easier to work with than plastic.  Other than the plastic removal for weight reduction the only other thing I modified was the ring at the top of the Radar that holds the boot in place.  It was a thin piece of plastic formed into a circle and it did not look right nor did it allow for a tight fit for the boot.  My solution was to thicken it by about 1/4 inch and to make it a bit taller with a slight taper.  Using an epoxy putty and a simple jig, I added the thickness and after a little sanding and paint, it looks much better and the boot fits nicely.

Jig used to modify the top ring size
Drilling the Ear Post holes

The bubble lift actuator is built around a fast linear actuator from Firgelli Automations; model FA-MS-8-12-4.  It is a 12 volt actuator with a 4 inch stroke with an 8 pound force.  My control electronics using the 2 micro-switches control the up down motion to about 3 inches.  I turned Delrin on my mini lathe to make the adapter from the brain cup base to the actuator shaft.  One problem I ran into is the actuator shaft spins within the body of the actuator.  I added a guide rod that keeps the shaft from spinning but also acts as the micro-switch actuator. 

The inside structure is made of ¼ inch hobby plywood.  I then used the same ¼ inch plywood to make the mount that holds the actuator.  The lazzy Susan and main gear are then attached to the inside wood structure.

Close up of the Bubble lifter in the down position showing the Delrin adapters
Close up of the Bubble lifter in the Up position.  Here you can see the guide rod that stops the rotation.
bottom view of Radar Section.  Notice the brass tubing and delrin mounting plate.  Slots cut in the Brass tube allow the micro-switch arms to pass into the center. 

Top view of the Radar Sections bubble lifter.  Here you can see the top Delrin mount and the brass bushing.

I made a simple stand out of the hobby plywood to hold the whole sub assembly up so I can work on it easier. 

The final picture is of a prototype microcontroller board I made that I attached 32 buttons to it’s inputs.  I then programmed the controller to issue the serial control sequences issue from a button press.  This allows me to test the various functions of the sub-processors in an easy fashion (I got tired of loading HyperTerm and trying to remember the sequences).


Test Stand


Serial Command Console.  Simple microcontroller with 32 buttons and a LCD screen.  Each button is programmed to send a different command to test the controllers operation.

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(C) 2007 - 2018  William Waters   Last Updated February 2018