If at first you don't succeed

A project log for SATRAN - Satellite Tracking Antenna

3D-printed, wifi-enabled and android controlled antenna rotator.

Daniel NikolajsenDaniel Nikolajsen 06/17/2021 at 05:450 Comments

Try again! 

Well, the plastic injection molding machine didnt work as planned. The heat from the heater element didnt transfer where it needed to go; into the nozzle. Therefore the pressure inside got too big for the piston since the plastic didnt melt enough. 

To make a long story short; I'm now rebuilding the heat cylinder from scratch. A smaller inner diameter (27mm) so the hydraulic piston can handle it, and mounting the heater directly to the nozzle. Plus some other small adjustments, like a spring around the cylinder instead of two small on the sides which made the cylinder wiggle all over the place. 

(The block on the left in the photo is something called "tooling board" of the brand Renshape. Its a sample I got of a ceramic-filled polyurethane block that you can easily CNC-machine to make molds from, a lot faster and cheaper than aluminium. It will be interesting to see how it works.)

The plan for this machine, is to produce parts for the Satran MK2 that I am now planning. The next generation rotator will be a lot more professional looking, faster, more durable and weatherproof plus include an antenna. Hopefully it will have both a digital compass and absolute encoder to read its position instead of simple limit switches. But it will also cost twice as much as the MK1, and most probably not finished until next year.

I have a few MK1 kits available in stock, but interest seems to have cooled off a bit for the first version. But MK1 is not at all abandoned, it will continue to get updates both in hardware and software. Also, soon I hope to offer the MK1 as a preassembled version if that's the case why people are not overloading my checkout page, or maybe everyone is busy sunbathing and barbecuing right now =)