Altitude Drive with Extra Muscle

The 5:1 planetary gear from Anaheim Automation arrived early (almost two weeks faster than the first one) and Larry got immediately to work fabricating the L-shaped mounting bracket for it.  This afternoon, after a week of measuring twice (at least!), I drilled the holes and tapped them for the new locations of – everything.  With it all together (fewer constraint violations to contend with here than on the azimuth drive), I was able to successfully test it with the hand pad controller. Successful means that with the clutch spring compressed about half way through its full length, I could not make the clutch slip – it just kept turning the timing wheel.

And speaking of that timing wheel, you’ll notice that it is missing something – that would be the timing belt.  Sure wish I’d brought that with me from Mark’s shop. Because now I have to take it apart, again, to get the timing belt on.  Getting it together in the newly reduced quarters for just about everything reminded me a lot of working on my ’63 Volkswagen. For just about anything I ever wanted to adjust, replace, remove or otherwise tinker with, there was always something in the way.  My next design will keep the mechanic more in mind.

While this mount business has been ticking along, so has the mirror grinding.  Steve and Larry have moved the test apparatus to the way-back corner of Steve’s Optical Shop (garage) and tests with a small enclosure for the mirror just barely sticking out of the front of the garage were quite satisfactory. That means that they were repeatable, and we like that! Less than satisfactory but expected was a bit of astigmatism here and there.  A subsequent session cured one bit, a bit or two more to go. The best news, though, is that the windless, more temperature controlled shop environ is helping to remove the noise from the test results – chasing error bars is not fun.

Next step on the mount is re-installing the altitude drive in the mount and doing some test driving, maybe with a small scope just to make it more of a challenge.


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