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Help Needed: Anyone Know of How I Can Get a Real nav-ball Painted or Engraved?


NeoMorph
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This is for the KSP hardware interface project. I've managed to figure out 90% of my real nav ball design but for the life of me I cannot think of who to go to to get a nav ball made.

I'm talking of the ball itself. It has to be two hollow hemispheres with a screw hole at the top. This is to attach the third axis. For my test systems I'm going to fudge it with a kids ball and the markings scrawled on. I haven't decided on servo or stepper motors yet... both have good and bad points so I will probably do both... But I have no clue where to get a ball made.

Once I finish this I will post all the specs for how to make one yourself. I was surprised at how easy the design is. I think the only real expensive parts are the servos and maybe getting the ball done. But compared to a real one it's going to be cheap. The only hard part in construction is the link tracks (remember as the sphere rotates if the wires were directly contacted to the internal servo it would tangle up and die. It's going to look like a record player with many needles heh.

So if anyone has any help I would be eternally grateful. I soooooo wish I had a CNC machine that could sort this out.

Edited by NeoMorph
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I'm pretty sure this is going to be your cheapest chance around.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/F-16-Jet-Aircraft-ADI-Attitude-Directional-Indicator-panel-instrument-/151087604114?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item232d85e192

The "Navball" is called an Attitude Direction Indicator or ADI for short in real aviation, you can always try looking at ebay or similar sites until you find something you like.

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The apollo style one is the Flight Director Attitude Indicator... I have a LOAD of data regarding the system including how it actually worked with the gyros. I just don't know where I could get the markings done on the ball. Thanks anyway guys...

The only instruments I have made like it are the ADI ones for my ATR72 sim... (I sooooo need to start building that but I don't have the space atm). A plane doesn't usually do loop the loops so you can fake it easy enough with a bent piece of aluminium and painting the face is easier still. I used a DYMO labeller to add the numbers using clear tape. I COULD do that with this nav ball but I want to make a really good job with this sim.

PS... that Jet ADI looks sweet. Shame someone axed the leads off at the back. Price is good too but I'm in the UK... and I don't want to build another Jet. Spent way too much time in my old Eurofighter cockpit hehe.

Edited by NeoMorph
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You could try 3D printing a Navball if you have access to a 3D printer in any way. That still leaves the question of paint though...

If you 3D print it as two halves that can screw together, you could coat each half in an appropriate color, then mark-in the guide lines, etc by hand.

If you're looking for 3D printer access, check local universities and colleges. Some have 3D printing labs now, and will often allow you to make use of them if you pay for the plastic to create your idea, and bring an appropriate model in the appropriate file-type.

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You could try 3D printing a Navball if you have access to a 3D printer in any way. That still leaves the question of paint though...

If you 3D print it as two halves that can screw together, you could coat each half in an appropriate color, then mark-in the guide lines, etc by hand.

If you're looking for 3D printer access, check local universities and colleges. Some have 3D printing labs now, and will often allow you to make use of them if you pay for the plastic to create your idea, and bring an appropriate model in the appropriate file-type.

Oh... Freakin... WOW!

See, this is something I didn't even think about. I've come across 3D printing a lot in the last year but I never even THOUGHT about using it to fill this problem. Because I really had my idea of my build and wanted the holes perfectly on the axis and I was wondering how hard it must be to get the axis hole perfectly centered... AND I THINK 3D PRINTING MIGHT JUST DO IT.

The halves don't actually screw together round the equator. There will be a rod going to the inside of the center, through a circular mounting plate and then attaching at the other centre. I will have to do an example to show you.

If the numerals and lines are engraved right then the painting should be easy enough. Paint the lines and numerals first (just paint in the engraved bits) not worrying about the over spill. Then wait until paint is dry and sand down the outer sphere (the numerals being "engraved" won't get sanded). Then fill the lines with liquid mask and sand down again... Then paint the outer part of the sphere. Wait to dry and then peel the liquid mask. Simples.

Hmmmm... Time to get my modelling hat on. Haven't done any 3d modelling for years.

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I think blender uses those nurbs shapes, because while I was derping around with it I saw a whole bunch of things that said "nurbs nurbs nurbs". But don't take it from me, I'm just a nub. If you want to know more about blender, you can go here, and if you want to know how to use it I recommend Blender: Noob to Pro. The best part is, blender is free!

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I've got no idea.

How much are real ones? Should be the same markings right? nothing especially different about the KSP one.

I just came across a price relating to an auction of one of these...

Lot No: 1111

APOLLO FDAI COMMAND MODULE MAIN CONTROL PANEL FLIGHT INSTRUMENT.

Flight Director Attitude Indicator (FDAI) instrument contained within a cylindrical metal housing 11 inches long and 7 inches in diameter. A glass front allows viewing of three linear indicator bars along the top (spacecraft roll), bottom (yaw), and right side (pitch). Three yellow needle indicators work in conjunction with two concentric marker rings, the roll index pointing needle, and the pitch/yaw "U" shaped index bar. A small "8 ball" globe inside the unit defines the relative location of the spacecraft in three dimensional space. A metal ID tag reads in part: "Indicator, Attitude, Flight Director. MFG by Honeywell, MFR Part No. DJG264E3, MFR Serial No. 10028DAN1012, MFR Date 19 SEPT 1966." An additional Honeywell tag reads: "Modification Identification, Contract No. NAS9-5269, Accep Date 11 APR 67." A multi-pinned electrical connector port is attached to the rear housing.

Estimate: $25,000 - 35,000

:0.0:

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Like notfruit said, Blender uses Nurbs. You should look up some youtube videos, like
one.

OK... watching that video I keep hearing "Heeeheeehee... bottom" in my mind. Why is Gru making a video about motorcycle fairings?

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NeoMorph I use solidworks on a daily basis, and could model a nav ball or anything else for that matter if you're interested in going that route. Let me know.

Cool... I have a guy who isn't up on the modelling but has an Ultimaker that he wants to test out and going to help out and then you come along.

I will need two hemispheres that would be separated by a central mount plate... This shows what I mean...

5U7MT60.png

So as you can see, the plate takes up some of the sphere so they would have to be slightly truncated hemispheres to rotate as a ball.

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TerrenCmdr thanks but Xiphos has offered to make the model in Solidworks and beelzebub will be making it on his Ultimaker.

Cool thing that makes me realise the universe wants me to build this is that I popped into poundland and sitting right in front of me were some garden ornaments which were metal spheres on sticks that was about the right size. I had been going round toy shops asking the assistants to "Show me where your balls are" all morning and couldn't find any the right size. These garden ornaments... 78mm and I was looking for 80mm. And because they are metal they are pretty darn solid... and only 99p each. For the prototype they will be perfect.

Regarding the prototype, I have now finished ordering the parts I need to make it and begin testing. Really looking forward to it now I have cracked the design. This coming week is going to be working on making the circuit boards for the record player and the internal gearing.

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I won't be selling this but I will be posting how to make your own including plans, PCB layouts (so you can make your own), Arduino code etc. Maybe people can even improve on my designs. To make it easy to build I will be using acrylic sheets that are easier to cut. It will need things like a router and a decent cutting tool (I use an Exakt powered saw that cuts acrylic like butter) and some soldering work but should be doable (if we find a cheap way of making the main ball hemispheres).

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I'm a CNC Machinist and in theory it shouldn't be too hard to model two halves then stick them together. Modelling a solid sphere is also possible, but then you've got some kind of mount to hold the material still while you machine the rest. Domes are easier. I've only looked into 3D printing a little myself, we use HAAS milling machines. Do you just want the ball or the mounting plate? Unfortunately we don't have 4 or 5 axis machines to do the whole thing in one shot (or the whole dome) but it shouldn't be hard to machine each dome in five ops. I've done this kind of thing before.

Any idea on materials you want? We mainly machine metals at work, Aluminum (or aluminium depending on where you're from :) ), various grades of steel, stainless (very different, and gummy to work with), and occasionally copper. I don't buy materials, I just program, set up and run the machines myself, but I doubt it would be too hard. And the program to mill the thing should be easily transferable to most generic Fanuc style Milling machines for others to use.

(EDIT: Sorry, missed the post saying you'd already got someone to make this for you. Hope it works out and I'll be interested to see the results! :) )

Edited by Patupi
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