With 2016 well underway it's time for the first update on the state of the stabilization system!
First off, apologies for the massive delays this post has had, was originally slated for mid-Jan launch but between job hunting and other stuff I've been hitting delays and trouble at every turn. Since last semester ended on Dec 18th, I'd been going to TechShop pretty much every day until Jan 18th making massive amounts of progress.
The demonstration mockup was constructed to not only have a physical representation of the final assembly but also to familiarize myself with layout and wiring inside a confined space which is new territory to me. It is constructed out of 3 inch ID cardboard mailing tubes and has fins cut from standard cardboard bolted on, nothing special or lightweight due to this not being the final flight model. The overall mass of this version is 1.48Kg of which 452g is the stabilization system module. Testing and flight versions will be constructed out of "Blue tube" for it's superior durability and lighter weight though at much higher cost ($30/4 feet, whereas the tubes I'm using I salvaged from the scrap pile for free)
Some of my longer term readers may remember how much difficulty I was having with figuring out a method for attaching a fin to the servo spline, trying everything from printing a horn to trying integration of a round arm to no avail. In the end, I decided to stop trying to reinvent the wheel and rework an older design to bolt onto a premade servo horn. These are designed in standard diamond hypersonic form with the axis point 3/4 up the mean aerodynamic chord. Due to the mounting method of fins bolting directly onto the horn, installing these after the servos are in the body tube is impossible, forcing me to have a slot-in module that is held in place with bolts. The slots perform an additional function of being mechanical endstops for the fins to prevent an overcontrol instance(in theory). Sadly, two of the scavenged servos finally kicked the bucket and a full new set is going to cost me $72 ($18/HS82MG) which is FAR out of my frayed kitestring budget which has dwindled to nearly zero as of late. If any of my readers know how to get in contact with Hitec for a sponsorship or how to get parts donated to a student project it would be greatly appreciated if you would drop me a line.
The integration can for my system needed to be reworked due to being a bit too small to fit in the 3 inch inner diameter body tube. I retained the previous method of servo containment and mounting, just upscaled a bit and added bolt holes for attaching to the airframe, in addition to adding a forward riser to hold the control board in place and provide a nose cone mounting flange. Making sure this has a slightly snug fit is key, as internal movement can instigate a self-amplifying and destructive resonant wobble. Two slots with gentle slopes leading up were employed in this version.
The breadboard and connection board of the previous version were not only too hard to set up quickly but also very fragile and annoying to work with. I'd had enough so finally I went and built a nice shield that integrates almost everything while still keeping the Arduino removable so it can be used in other projects. V1 was a first attempt, all wires were red (bad idea) and shoddily laid out which caused a lot of headaches when it simply failed to work when powered up. Debugging when powered up showed the 5V rail hanging around 1.2V and not budging at all even when everything was disconnected. After a few hours of frustration my father walked by and offhandedly remarked to check the ground, much to my chagrin I found that I'd forgotten to connect the ground net to the ground rail which promptly fixed the problems (check for floating grounds). On the second revision the power and ground wires were in standard red and black while signals are in white (I ran out of wire colors okay?) in addition to being MUCH cleaner and better laid out. On the final...
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