Turret Prototype one is done! This prototype is mostly to explore the mechanics of the eventual design, as the design needed for this project will have to be very different than the vast majority posted online.
So I decided to start off this project by researching what kind of laser turret designs others had created. While I wouldn't say the designs are bad, the vast majority are simple pan tilt servos with a laser pointer. These aren't the most mechanically sound designs, and they have some very real limitations. Limitations which would make such a design unusable for this projects eventual goals.
So, the first step is to make a turret design from scratch. It won't be an incredibly complicated design, but I need something fast, precise, and designed to a high quality standard. The most important feature that I haven't seen in other designs is I needed the turret to be able to rotate 360 degrees continuously. The initial way I've come up with to pull this off is through the use of a set of geared down stepper motors. All of the electronics, including a battery, are designed to be mounded to one pivoting plate, with teeth on the base itself. By driving against these teeth, the upper plate can spin 360 degrees around continuously.
Unfortunately there are some problems with this first attempt. They are as follows:
- I didn't allow for enough space to fit the electronics under the base. That makes it so this prototype can't technically spin a full 360 degrees, though it can mechanically.
- I wasn't able to mechanically constrain the top to the point I would like, so there is a slight amount of "play". Not much, but more than I would like. This will likely lead to a total over-hall of the way I secure the plates together.
- I used a handheld laser pointer, as its what I had on hand. It works, but its heavier than I would like, and looks very unprofessional. I am most likely going to switch to a laser engraver diode.
- I am just not a huge fan of the exposed top. In my opinion it doesn't look very professional, and limits where I can put the electronics. A shroud would look better and allow me to move the electronics.
However, on the bright side, the motion is perfect. The laser is able to target quickly and accurately, exceeding my expectations. This is mainly what I was hoping to explore with this prototype. With a lighter laser this could only get better, so I am very optimistic for the next prototype design.