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The Raven


The steering actuation is now moving along at a decent clip. In the last few weeks I have been able to complete an extraordinary amount of design and machining on the supporting components. The tough part has been figuring a way in which to allow the axles to travel up and down with little or no lateral motion on the steering angle. After many hours at the sketch pad (and a few cold beers), the best prototype seems to be a combination of stainless and poly tubing. The rigid tubing will keep the cables taught from the actuator to roughly halfway to each axle, and the poly will allow vertical motion of the lower cable stays during motion. So far, this seems to be working.


The mechanical aspects of the system are now complete. All four cables are installed and working well, so far. The stainless tubing has been removed in favor of using only nylon tubing for the time being. Until a permanent setup is settled upon, the stainless will remain off the chassis. Nylon is pliable enough to allow some flexibility in the design and will be easier with which to work.

The torque required to turn the lead screw and move the block is much more than I had originally envisioned. As a result, the stepper motor may have to operate at a higher current per phase and a higher voltage to increase the speed. The screw is 10 threads per inch and travels a total of 1 inch to steer the system from lock to lock. The likely interval for this travel will be 1.1 seconds. The voltage can be infinitely varied for whatever overall speed I desire.

The cable ends have not been soldered as I had planned. They are held by offset screws and seem to be reasonably secure. Time will tell if they hold up. The reasoning behind this was to ease the labor required to maintain the system. All of the hardware is stainless steel, which is very temperamental with regard to soldering, and if I have to disassemble anything it needs to be less than a pain in the ass. The fact that the cables loop through the frame in two places also makes it more difficult to disassemble if they are soldered. I still have yet to receive the damned stepper controller and if and when it arrives I will begin testing to evaluate the gearing and current required to operate the insanity ...er... steering. The system has been complete for almost two months now, and it's still hard to believe that I made it happen.

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Content Updated: Sunday, September 04, 2016 at 10:25 pdt

Maltese Cross

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