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ESP8266 Parabolic Reflector

Experiment in 3D printing parabolic radio reflectors

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Recently, I was asked to come up with a futuristic, space-ey prop for an upcoming video for the 2017 Hackaday Prize. My custom-built, easily transportable parabolic antenna immediately sprang to mind. The idea of a three-meter diameter parabolic dish was rejected for something that isn't insane, but I did go so far as to do a few more calculations, open up a CAD program and start work on the actual design. As a test, I decided to 3D print a small model of this dish. In creating this model, I inadvertently created the perfect WiFi antenna for an ESP8266 module using nothing but 3D printed parts, a bit of epoxy, and duct tape.

This is an experiment to determine if it's possible to 3D print a parabolic WiFi antenna.

Turns out it's very possible.

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 103.21 kB - 01/23/2017 at 00:03

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scad - 1.29 kB - 01/23/2017 at 00:03

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Standard Tesselated Geometry - 117.51 kB - 12/28/2016 at 04:18

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scad - 1023.00 bytes - 12/28/2016 at 04:18

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HexCenter.gcode

Gcode for the center in ABS

gcode - 5.45 MB - 12/27/2016 at 02:15

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  • 1 × 3D printed parts
  • 1 × 5 minute epoxy
  • 1 × Duct tape Real duct tape, the kind you put on ducts.
  • 1 × ESP8266

  • Deploying A Dish

    Benchoff01/23/2017 at 01:31 0 comments

    I've aluminized the dish, mounted it to a tripod, and tested it out. Pics:

    I've also written a post on this for Hackaday. You can check that out here.

  • A Feedhorn? No, an ESP

    Benchoff12/28/2016 at 02:28 0 comments

    The center mount has a single 'stovepipe' that allows me to attach a pole for the feedhorn. This is the other end.

    It's designed to hold an ESP-01 module so that the antenna is directly in the center of the dish.

    $fn = 64;
    
    module esp8266(){
        
     union(){   
         translate([0,-4,-2])   
         cube([14.7,25,11], center=true);   
         
         translate([0,-12.5,6])   
         cube([12,8,12], center=true);
     }   
    }
    
    module pole(){
     
     translate([27, 0, -21])   
     cylinder(d=6.40, h=30);   
        
    }
    
    module holder(){
       difference(){ 
            hull(){
                translate([32,0,0])
                cylinder(d=4, h=10);
                    
                translate([32,5,0])
                cylinder(d=4, h=10);   
                   
                translate([32,-5,0])
                cylinder(d=4, h=10);  
                
                translate([10,10,0])
                cylinder(d=4, h=5);
                
                translate([-10,10,0])
                cylinder(d=4, h=5);
                
                translate([-10,-20,0])
                cylinder(d=4, h=5);
                
                translate([10,-20,0])
                cylinder(d=4, h=5);     
            }
            
            esp8266();
            pole();
            
        }
    }
    
    
    holder();

  • Designing the Center Mount

    Benchoff12/27/2016 at 02:14 0 comments

    Meant to hold a 1/4" dowel for the extnetion.

    Hexagon code from Chris Bate

    Uses 1/4-20 flange mount insert on the back, designed for camera tripod

    //
    //  Center mount for 3D printed parabolic antenna
    //  hackaday.io/project/18866
    //  Brian Benchoff
    //
    //  uses hexagon code from Chris Bate:
    //  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAKEk1falNg
    //
    $fn = 64;
    
    
    module phex(wid,rad,height){
    hull(){
            translate([wid/2-rad,0,0])cylinder(r=rad,h=height);
            rotate([0,0,60])translate([wid/2-rad,0,0])cylinder(r=rad,h=height);
            rotate([0,0,120])translate([wid/2-rad,0,0])cylinder(r=rad,h=height);
            rotate([0,0,180])translate([wid/2-rad,0,0])cylinder(r=rad,h=height);
            rotate([0,0,240])translate([wid/2-rad,0,0])cylinder(r=rad,h=height);
            rotate([0,0,300])translate([wid/2-rad,0,0])cylinder(r=rad,h=height);
        }
    }
    module plug(){
        difference(){
        cylinder(d=12,h=30);
        translate([0,0,-1])
                cylinder(d=6.40,h=25);
        }
    }
    
    
    module metaAdapter(){
        union(){
            translate([0,0,10]){
                difference(){
                phex(68,0.1,20);
                    translate([0,0,21])
                        phex(64,0.1,19);
                    
                    translate([0,0,1])
                        cylinder(d=8,h=20);
                    
                    translate([0,0,18.5])
                        cylinder(d=20,h=5);
                    
                    translate([0,15,1])
                        cylinder(d=4,h=25);
                }
            }
            intersection(){
                
    
    
                translate([0,0,-10])
                phex(80,0.1,20);
    
    
                
                translate([0,0,50])
                   sphere(d=120);
           }
           
           translate([27,0,-20])
            plug();
        }
        
    }
    
    
    
    
    module adapter(){
        difference(){
            metaAdapter();
            
            translate([20,13,-15])
            cylinder(d=10, h=50);
            
            translate([20,13,22])
                rotate([-90,0,-60])
                    cylinder(d=10,h=10);
            
            translate([27,0,-20])
                cylinder(d=6.4,h=40);       
        }
    }
    
    
    adapter();

  • Commissioning A Dish

    Benchoff12/14/2016 at 05:16 0 comments

    The dish is printed. only thing left to do is add the center mount, metalize the dish, and place the feedhorn.

    The diameter of the dish is 49mm, which means the depth of the dish is 6mm. We're dividing everything by two here (units are arbitrary), so the feed horn must be 25mm from the bottom of the dish. This means the feed horn must be 19mm above the 'points' of the dish.

    Knitting needles and hot glue.

  • Designing a dish

    Benchoff12/09/2016 at 19:14 0 comments

    diameter 98, depth 12, Focal length 50. Units are arbitrary.

    I scaled this 500% when 3D printing it, so the actual specs are:

    490mm diameter, 60m depth, focal length 250.

    What do we end up with?

View all 5 project logs

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Morning.Star wrote 01/25/2017 at 11:18 point

Thats really tidy, nice work. Makes mine look horrible lol. https://hackaday.io/project/19582

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