richfiles

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About richfiles

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    Spacecraft Instrumentation Engineer

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  1. My thing to whine about... I want to be done with spinning rust, but SSDs are simply still too expensive for mass bulk storage solutions for regular folk. I'm sorry, but I can't justify the still massive cost to go pure solid state yet, and I just want to be done with yet another point of mechanical failure...
  2. One worry off my back... The motor appears to have been flown, and is now in the US... Or at least in a shipping crate on the far side of US customs. Now I get to wait for it to trickle it's way into the US mail system. The Pulley wheels and belts arrived on the 8th... And it's not the 18th. They are still in "Shipping partner facility", and are technically not in the USPS system yet. 10 days... Looking at other items tracking history... Arrival at the US to delivery was 15 days... Ugh... I'm still looking at a good chunk of next week to get the pulleys and belts, and likely Halloweenish, or possibly even November before I see the motor! I HATE all this WAITING! That motor better be a suitable ratio for what I need! Given the time delays between deciding a part is needed and receiving said part, I sure hope I judged the ratio requirements accurately! **EDIT** FRIDAY!!! The motor made it into the USPS system, and it is saying delivery Friday! Timing belts and pulleys may or may not arrive by then, but if their arrival and time in transit with a "shipping partner" match my other shipments, it'll likely arrive close to the same time.
  3. Small updates... I've got the bearings, the steel tube, the flange adapter to mount the large pulley wheel to the 6mm absolute position sensor shaft... The timing pulley wheels and belts are also already in the USA (currently sitting in some facility in Greenwood Indiana)... Aaaaand... The motor is still stuck at the airline in China. I still have no idea if it'll even get shipped. Apparently, a lot of small packages ship in free belly space on passenger flights, and with the Rona out and about, passenger flights are drastically reduced. New restrictions have barred batteries and magnets on some Chinese flights, and apparently my 4mm shaft motor got hit by that, and Chinese customs refused to load it. It was resent by way of a different shipping method, and has been sitting around "Handed over to Airlines" for the last 8 days... I have no idea if it was refused a second time, if they just haven't found a flight with free space in the belly to load it onto, or what... At this point, I'd have been happy for it to ship by slow boat, cause I'd probably have gotten it already! I did have a small product quality scare... The bearing blocks look fine, but the bearings installed look like trash, with one even being dented. I feel 95% convinced I was sold salvaged bearings... Whatever. They aren't in a precision or a high speed application. If they work, they work... The REAL problem was the brass tube I bought. when it arrived, I measured it, and the outer diameter was spot on at 6mm... Perfect! Inner diameter was... less so... One of the tubes was 4.4mm and the other 4.5. They weren't even consistent between each other, and they were so out of spec I could never have used them on the 4mm motor shafts! I was VERY unhappy with the product quality. Fortunately, I had also ordered steel tubing, realizing i probably shouldn't mix a trio of aluminum, brass, and stainless steel all together. I might end up with some sort of galvanic corrosion over time. I ordered stainless steel tubing... And I hoped and prayed that it was closer to spec than the brass garbage was! Well, it arrived in the mail today, and the first thing I can say, is the tubes were VERY roughly cut. I had to file and deburr the ends first, before I could take any measurements, but thankfully, I am able to confirm that they were much closer. One is nearly spot on, at 4.02mm, while the other two were a little wide, at 4.09 and 4.11mm. Ultimately, I have one tube for absolute certain that will work, so I'm fine with it. That's all that matters! Now it's just a matter of waiting for the timing belt and pulleys to arrive... and to wait for the motor... I'll also have to figure out how best to frame all the various components together. Probably a sandwich of plates, separated by spacers. It's simple, and doesn't require anything more complex than a drill to make.
  4. Welp... I mopped and swept and vacuumed and scrubbed the walls and toilet and tub and sinks and put the new blue water thingy in the toilet tank, and used the foamy bubbles... We have really hard water at my apartment, enough that I buy my drinking water from a water purification shop just down the street from me (literally 7 blocks) for 25 cents per gallon. I have a 5 gallon dispenser in my kitchen... Anyway... Scale and crusty crud always build up in the sinks, and it's always a pain in the ol' cockpit warmer to scrub and scrub and scrub that stuff away... My hands and wrists are sore, my back hurts, and I want a shower SO BAD, but the landlord could knock at any moment... So nope... Shower can wait. Today was a little depressing too... I had not really gone into the back room and dealt with any of my cat's stuff, nor gotten rid of her old litter box, etc... I really hadn't done anything in there at all, save for some emergency spot cleaning, in regards to the... accidents... that she had before becoming so mortally ill. It's not like the room was dirty... I had done a thorough deep cleaning literally a week or two before... Ultimately, it was time. She passed on May 15th... It's October already... I put all her toys inside her little "kitty cave" that I'd made from the plastic shell of an old blue and white Mac monitor. It had been fully gutted, and had cushions inside, and she could sit inside where the screen would have been and curl up to nap. I put it away on a shelf. Her window cushions were all packed into a milk crate and placed on said shelf also. Her favorite toy, her froggy, has sat on my work bench though, since the first day she was gone... Here I sit, really wanting a shower, with a sore back and worn out hands, waiting for a landlord that could have been here an hour and a half ago, but has decided to put my apartment much later on the home invasion list... Here I sit, utterly devastated that I'm not bribing my little sweetie girl with tuna and shrimp (that was her favorite) so that I could snatch her up and put her in the dog sized kennel I got for her (only the best), cause she never liked strangers in her place... I will never do that again with her... I miss her so much...
  5. My landlord put notices on everyone's door today... Surprise inspections tomorrow. I've been wanting to do some "deep cleaning" lately... I guess that means I'll be up late tonight doing said deep cleaning... Grr...
  6. As a fan of anime, I often rely on fan subs to be able to enjoy stuff... Today, one of the most prominent fansub websites shut down, and I am hugely bummed out by this news. This easily sets the hardcore anime fan back a decade, in terms of difficulty in finding new and old content. I feel very bummed out about this fact.
  7. "Exception: Shipment failed to leave country of origin warehouse"... Guess which part it is... Hint... It begins with an "M", and ends with an "otor" The new motor that I found, with the 4mm shaft... The one that shipped right away... Well, it's SOMEHOW managed to run into issues with shipping, and I do not understand why. Why can't I seem to be able to order a stupid motor and not have someone utterly drop the ball.
  8. I bought a book last week, and it just arrived! I've been looking for this book for years. It's not unobtanium... It's just expensive. It typically costs around $122-190, and i have a digital copy, so it was never an expense I could justify. When I saw a copy pop up for $12.95, I jumped at it. I saw a similar thing happen in January, but the seller never shipped. I assume it was a drop shipper, and they found they couldn't get the book lower than the price I paid, so they just never sent me anything... It was annoying, but whatever. I took that gamble again, but thankfully, the seller pulled through! I got the $122 book for $14 shipped! Not only did the seller pull through, but it's an original printing, and the hardcover edition, no less! I never even noticed the listing mentioned it was hardcover! My complaint... They put a STOCK STICKER ON THE SPINE!!! NOOOOO!!!! I had to carefully peel it off. SO annoying!!! So why does the book matter to me? (Spoiled simply cause wall of text, plus a video, and mostly positive stuff... except the very last thing...)
  9. Once I realized the motor I was looking for apparently just flat out didn't exist in any meaningful manner, that's exactly what I ended up doing. I already made a post on my solution on my Kerbal Instrument Panel build thread, but I looked and found 6mm OD/4mm ID stainless steel tubing. I'll Loctite the tubing onto the shaft of a much more readily available 4mm motor shaft, and then i can mount the two 6mm bore timing pulley wheels to the extended motor shaft. I also ordered a small 6mm ID pillow block bearing to support the other end of the motor shaft. Since I'm cutting the shaft to length anyway, I can give the it enough length to actually support it by it's end.
  10. So, the last week has been... Hectic... I ordered all the parts, all centered around that *perfect* motor I'd found... The supplier on AliExpress never updated their stock, and had run out, and were not getting more. Just great... So I look elsewhere, and find the same type of motor on Ebay the next day... IT WAS THE SAME SELLER!!! I didn't know whether to laugh or scream or both... Ugh! Anyway, the issue, is all the timing pulleys had already been ordered, and the ones for the motor had 6mm IDs. The motor I found had an extra long 6mm shaft, that would let me reliably mount a pair of pulley wheels to, rather than just one. Larger motors that typically had shafts that long tended to be either 8mm shafts or threaded screw shafts. Smaller motors with 4mm shafts just weren't long enough to secure two pulley wheels. I searched for a solid week, trying to find the right motor, and kept up coming up short. In the end, I came up with a remarkably simple solution that will let me use the parts already ordered, with one of the more common 4mm shaft motors. A brass tube. 6mm OD, 4mm ID. I'll Loctite the brass tube over the 4mm motor shaft, essentially installing a 6mm shaft onto it. It's super simple! If I wanted to, I could even get a longer set screw on the inner timing pulley wheel and drill out the brass tube over the motor shaft's flat, allowing the inner motor to have a set screw set against the 4mm motor shaft. Would be simple enough. Anyway, the diagram below should make the plan clear. As I said, it's actually a super simple solution! And since I can cut the brass tube to whatever length I like, I also went ahead and purchased a few 6mm ID ball bearing pillow blocks, so I can actually support the end of the shaft. There will be pulleys tightened up on these, and they aren't going to be 180° out, so there will always be a directional force pulling on that motor shaft. The extra support will help reduce wear on the motor. The motor was selected for it's peak output speed, and voltage range. I selected a 6 volt rated motor, as that's a voltage I can easily drive off of a small motor driver board, controlled by an Arduino. The peak no load speed is 280 RPM. divided by 60, that's 4.6 RPS, or approximately 1.3 seconds to perform a complete cycle (6 rotations of the tape drive input shaft). For a position reset, since the halfway point on the tape is 3 turns to home position, it shouldn't take more than about .64 seconds to reset the tape meter, if it ran at peak speed. In reality, it'll be slightly slower, as one must accommodate for ramping up motor acceleration, and then ramping the motor speed down again to stop. I can't imagine a reset taking more than 1 second, even taking motor ramping into consideration. For practical display purposes, the motor would run at a much lower speeds. It'll certainly be PWMed. I haven't determined how I'll correlate desired position/sensor position error into motor command yet. I could do it a few ways. A proper PID controller driven off the error would likely work. I could also possibly do a lookup table of error/rate of change/motor speed values, so the system just drives motor at X voltage based on degree of data/sensor error. Furthermore, if I discover that I can't get a fine enough resolution of motor control, I DO have some motors on hand already that are geared much lower. I can still mount pulleys on them using the brass tube. The lower gearing means finer control, at the expense of rapid tape movement. What that would mean is that a... Rapid unplanned decent might get tape lag, and that tape resets would probably take a few seconds. I have considered, in addition to the aqua green LEDs to edge light the tape, the addition of red LEDs to indicate rate of change exceeds the instrument's capability. Basically, if error increases at max motor speed, the red lights come on to indicate tape meter value is unreliable, and to fold your tray tables in the upright position, place your head between your legs, and kiss your retrograde surface goodbye... Cause you're probably not gonna slow down in time to nail the landing... Only you!
  11. AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I was JOKING!!! For the love of God, I was just joking!!! It seems I found the exact same SELLER on ebay... I just... I'm so tired... I wanna just sleep a whole stupid day, and maybe dream of a world where workmates at Shenzhen warehouses actually do their job and track inventory...
  12. AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I HATE stupid, absolutely incompetent suppliers that can't even keep their inventory straight. Just got the most aggravatingly cheery "Hi! Sorry we forgot to update our inventory, so no motor for you! Plz cancel and we'll refund you"... Complete with the stupid cheery emojis... I just can't even... I just paid $57 for a whole pile of parts TAILORED to install around THEIR MOTOR!!! ARHGHnjbfbbdabfbKLMbfbgf Every part I bought had to be ordered to match the bores and shaft diameters of other parts, so all of it would actually fit together... Ugh!!! Now I'm not only BACK to searching for a motor, but now, cause it had a 6mm shaft, I'm now locked out of the more common 5mm shaft motors, unless I WASTE MORE MONEY and just buy extra parts! I'm so frustrated with these absolutely unreliable suppliers, I swear if my hair don't fall out, I'll start pulling it out! This is an untenable level of incompetence, over such simple concepts, like keep track of your freaking inventory! Now I'm back to searching... Most of this post was copied out of a Discord chat, so I wouldn't need to retype it... I think I got all my "choice words" removed from it... Oh, am I angry though... Absolutely livid... **UPDATE** Found the exact same motor on ebay... Now let's hope it's not coming from the exact same source...
  13. I finally worked out a solution, figured out all the parts, and ordered everything I'll need to build the drive mechanism for the Radar Altimeter Tape Meter for my KSP Instrument Panel. Delivery date: As late as October 22.. This is assuming all the parts even ship... I've had huge supply issues out of China cause of the pandemic. Not all supply chains are at full capacity.
  14. Update... I worked out a belt arrangement (in red) that uses the stock belt that comes with the 6:1 ratio timing pulley set I found, plus a second pair of 1:1 pulleys and a second belt. I didn't worry about the specifics of adding the idler wheel into the mix, as this arrangement can work without the idler, though I very well may add the idler when in to bring the sensor wheel closer to the back of the Navball housing. I also found a planetary gear motor with a 6mm diameter, 42mm long shaft... This is PERFECT!!! I added a pair of 12 tooth timing pulley wheels with a 6mm ID to the order, so now I have 4 pulley wheels, 2 belts, a motor, and a flange adapter to fit the large 10mm ID 72 tooth wheel to the diameter absolute position sensor's 6mm shaft. The 6:1 ratio pair also had the 12 tooth wheel with the 6.35mm ID part, so it fits the Tape Meter's drive shaft. ALL the parts to complete the drive mechanism of the Tape Meter are now on order! Now let's all hope the three suppliers pull through. I upgraded all shipping to a tier with tracking. Cost a little more... worth it. I'm really excited about this! I was tempted to keep on trying to figure out what I need for the Carriage Meter as well, but I wanted to get this ON ORDER NOW, since this stuff could STILL take till October 22 to reach me... if it all even ships... I can really only work on one thing at a time anyway, so really... There isn't any point in rushing the other parts. I can work those out while I wait for this, cause I ain't getting any more work done on this till the parts show.
  15. Every job is easy when you have the right tool. That bevel gear was held onto that shaft with loctite, a set screw, and a locktite bonded roll pin... For a flippin' tape meter!? They literally don't build 'em like they used to. This was merely a display device for a dial on a piece of high end 1960s era test equipment! I tried several times to remove the roll pin, but it was very tight in it's hole. My press wasn't big enough to give me enough leverage, and I didn't have a V-Block the right size to securely rest the bevel gear on. Took it to work, asked my boss if he had a push pin and block that'd work for it... Took literally 3 minutes to find the tools and do the job. I had to smile when he mentioned he made the narrow V-Block himself, way, way back when he was in shop class. That's a satisfying feeling... To know a tool a man has created himself is still getting regularly used, decades later. I love it! This pic is an old one, but is relevant here. It shows the clearance available around the underside of the navball... And yeah... I ended up deciding the hardest arrangement would be the most ideal arrangement. The navball is just too far shifted left, and I want to bring it closer to the center of the instrument panel. It's just too important an instrument to be off to the side. This helps. I initially had been looking at some larger timing pulleys, but found some smaller diameter ones. The small pulley is only half the diameter of the bevel gear. I'll unfortunately need a very long belt (the second longest the manufacturer offers, in fact). They are currently backlogged, due to the pandemic, and are not even currently selling the large belt separately. I'm still waiting for a reply to find out if I can even get the long belt. You can see a 1:1 scale drawing of the navball instrument, as viewed form the side and bottom. This configuration requires the use of an idler wheel, which I'll make with a pair of ball bearings, as seen. There is a valid alternative solution though... If I buy a dual shaft motor, I could theoretically use two shorter belts. One short belt and two small 1:1 pulleys on one side of the motor. The other side will have a 1:6 ratio, and be farther back, enough to allow the sensor wheel to sit behind the navball. I need to order the pulleys ASAP, if I want them in October yet. Sadly, no US sources, and the Chinese sources are all struggling to keep up... This is gonna be a difficult purchase, to say the least. Still trying to get some other parts since May!