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Author Topic: Spekkie's USS Voyager Mark II  (Read 320 times)

Offline Cpt-Spekkie

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Spekkie's USS Voyager Mark II
« on: July 22, 2018, 06:48:02 pm »
It's time for me to share with you guys and galls another build i'm doing. And i think not many hobby gade builders would do what i'm doing now, that is build a model you already build less then a year ago.  ???

So let me back up a little in the story and explain what i'm on about:

My very first ever real model kit i build was the U.S.S. Voyager by Revell and the entire build process of that ship can be found here on the forums. During that build i had my doubts if i could achieve a good finish and thus i didn't worry much over were to place the model. Then when the point came were i did complete the model and needed to give it a place i panicked a little. Reason was, i could not place it downstairs, and in the bedroom it would not be lit up many times and i thought that be a wast of the build. So i sold it to an uncle of mine at which i knew it would be displayed in his living room and be lit up every night. (And as far as i know that is still true to this day)

But now about 9 months later the situation is changed, i moved to a new house, one were my personal living room / bedroom and desk are all in the same big space. making it i spend most of my time in this place, so if i had kept Voyager i could now have it on display...

And that ladies and gentlemen brings us to one and a half weeks ago, that was the day i decided to build another one.
So why post about this you may ask yourself, and i agree with that question if i would build the ship in the exact same way as i did. But no that is not the plan. The plan is to up my game in the electronics of Voyager.


The plan:

Last time i bought all the led's i needed and also a simple blinking board that i used for the anti collision lights. The costs for this was cheaper then most expensive boards, but the cost still rose to about 50 or 60 euro's if i remember correctly. Also all the glue's and stuff i needed were costly for a new model maker. Luckily most of the glues i still have, because i didn't need half of it for the first one. And in the time between models i started experimenting with arduino's and build things like a lightsaber for my nephew, resulting in me having a almost complete spool of addressable led's. so long plan short, i want to use as much of the led's i have as i can.

Summed up i want to do this:

- Use addressable led's for the interior lights, the deflector, the bussard collectors, impuls engines, warp engines, and photon torpedo's.
- Use 1.8mm led's for the Nav lights (red / green) and for the anti collision lights (white), but driven by the arduino for the blink speed of the strobes.
- Use 0805 SMD led for the floodlight of the registry, driven by the arduino, as part of the startup sequence.
- Use an Arduino nano (clone) for controlling everything, with preferably a startup sequence for the lights, firing of torpedo, warp flash / ramp up brightness and maybe more.
- Use a micro servo to motorize warp engines (pylons) from impuls to warp mode and back.


Things i'm not sure about:

- Do i want audio from the model? like a torpedo sound effect, or warp sound effect. Also maybe the Voyager intro tune while it is in startup?
- Do i use switches for the functions or do i use a bluetooth module and write an iphone app to control the model?
- Do i want the model to be time controlled, so that it always turns on at a specified time, even if i'm not there?


As a lot of making this model is the same as my other build log, i won't be showing pictures of lets say drilling out the windows, light blocking the inside and such. That is already documented in great detail als will do this exactly the same way. What i do however want to document is all that is different, like the motorized pylons. Because i think many of us have seen the few video's on Youtube showing it off, but there is almost no information on how that person did it. And the only other thread in the forums i could find, is corrupted because the pictures don't work anymore.

So lets take a look at making the pylons go up and down on there own.

One of the goals is to make a system that is invisible from the outside, so i don't want to see any fishing line wires or gears on the outside of the fantail. Also i still want to light it up so i still need some wires to go from the fantail to the pylon / nacelle. And both nacelles need to move together, i don't want one to be faster / slower or fail to move the entire way even. Oh boy what have i gotten myself into.  ::)

First thing i did to the fantail was drill holes in the (top) section of the pylon hinge. this is where i previously router my cable through, and this way i needed to shorted the shaft only slightly. Having made these 2 holes (initially again for the wires) i started to think and then it hit me.  :o  I had read in the topic with the missing images of somebody that suggested a wire bent at an angle of about 45 degrees that would end up in the pylon and would force the pylon up when rotated. At the time i read it i could not get a clear image of how that would work, but now having drilled my wire holes i needed to test this right away, and that resulted in this:


Here i used a wooden BBQ skewer and bend then into a 45 ish angle (part of the wood broke, but it was still strong enough to do the test) inserted it into the pylon and made sure it came out the other side so i could turn the skewer and it works. So resulting from this test, if i have a piece of lets say steel wire cut at length with a 45 degree bent on the turning points of the pylons that would work.

But how to rotate this metal wire... First though i had going back to my lego days as a kid, i thought of a gear on the wire (i even thought of using a lego shaft as the wire) but ultimately i wanted to use something stronger then ABS plastic. and 2 gears would not really work. I needed to use a servo, as i could control one from the arduino easily, and foremost i could set degrees. And then it struck me again, I needed to make a hole in the fantail anyway for the wires to come out in the middle, why not instead of making this hole in the thin leading edge, make it a whole slot in the top plate. As this would be inside the engineering hull and thus nobody would see it. I could then bend the rod in such a way that i effectively get a reversed U in the shaft. something like this:
         __
 ____|   |____
/                    \

But the 45 degree bends would be 90 degree offset to the U shape.

Here the actual result of the wire:


Placing this in the model with a mockup of the pylons and nacelles looks like this:


So as you can see i now have a 90 degree turn making the pylons move into their 45 degree upward position. and both move the same time, the same amount. Precisely as i wanted.
So far so good. now to motorize this. Like is stated earlier, a servo would be ideal, so i ordered one, connected it to the ardiono for testing and failure! the servo just spins, so its defective or it is a continuous rotation servo although i did order it as a normal one. Oh well, short trip to the local hobby shop the next day and got the smallest servo they had and that would work as an expected servo.

Well it did directly work with the testing code, but it was however almost 2/3 the size of my first servo, so a lot smaller then anticipated. Smaller is easier for placing it in the model but does it have enough torque is the question.

The first movement test resulted in this:



So it looks like it can work. I did design and 3D print a shaft to go between the servo and the steel wire, (in the previous test i used some of the other servo arms) but i need to build the nacelles and pylons first so that all the weight is in them to see if my servo can hold it in the upward position.

So current progress is at the nacelle, wiring the addressable led strips: And so far that seems to be progressing nicely.



So as always, i would love to get your feedback on my project. Have questions? Ask them and i will answer. Have tips or remarks, don't hesitate to place them.
3D printing enthusiast - Model making noob - SciFi fanatic
Previously build a Revell U.S.S. Voyager and a Polar Lights 1:1000 U.S.S. Enterprise Refit
Currently building Spekkie's U.S.S. Voyager Mark II (with motorized warp nacelles)

Offline starsiegeplayer

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Re: Spekkie's USS Voyager Mark II
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2018, 07:18:53 pm »
I really like the idea of motorizing the nacelles.

Offline neilfsmith

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Re: Spekkie's USS Voyager Mark II
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2018, 09:40:13 pm »
Yup Yup! This is greatness! The nacelles are fantastic.

Offline AlW

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Re: Spekkie's USS Voyager Mark II
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2018, 05:28:02 am »
Ingenious!  Should operate even smoother with a custom shaft.  Looking forward to seeing what you do next with this build;)

Offline Cpt-Spekkie

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Re: Spekkie's USS Voyager Mark II
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2018, 09:20:14 am »
Thanks guys, i'm glad you like it and appreciate the effort of motorizing the pylons.

As for the smoothness of the motion, in the test i just set an angle on the servo, so go to 90 degrees, go back to zero and such. In the final sketch i want it to make use of some slower loop in which the pylons are driven on an incremental basis. so lets say from 0 to 90 degrees using steps of 1 over a period of time. That way its slower, smoother and i can time it to the audio effect if i continue with the idea of using audio in this model.

Also i think i have worked out the way i'm going to control the model. I somewhat liked the Bluetooth idea, but it would require a lot of programming to also make an iOS app to accompany the model and also would be a hassle to have to use the phone every time i want to demonstrate a feature. So buttons in the base would be ideal.

However i feared that using buttons would result in the fact i needed to permanently attach the model to the base. Something i don't like, i like to use a power connector or similar to attach the ship to the pole. Yesterday evening it came to me that i could use an matrix of some sorts.

My idea is as follows:
Instead of using a digital pin on the arduino to read a button state as high or low i use an analog pin to read voltages. I then connect all switches/buttons i want to a common 5v rail in the base and attach all the switches to each other resulting in a single wire. However between the 5v and switch is a resistor, each different per switch. So lets say switch one gets 1K, switch 2 gets 5K, switch 3 gets 10K, switch 4 gets 15K etc. This results in different voltages for different switches and in the arduino i can make a case / if statement that if the voltage being read is x then switch 1 is pressed, or if the voltage is y then switch 2 is pressed.

Only thing you can't do is hardware interrupt the programming in the arduino, so i have to keep pulling the buttons in the main loop. But because the main loop only consists of keeping the anti collision lights blinking (strobing) i have no problem with this. When a button press is detected and we know which button, we jump to the corresponding function and execute that piece of code. Like go to warp. In the warp routine i would then make sure i still keep updating the anti collision routine, so that the led keeps strobing. This should all work out great. Only tests will tell in the long run.

Oh and that one wire coming off all the switches? That i connect together with a 5V power line and a 0v ground line to a 6.2mm stereo headphones jack with complementing female jack inserted into Voyagers belly. The plug being stereo results in the perfect passthough of 3 wires. just enough for the setup.  ;D
3D printing enthusiast - Model making noob - SciFi fanatic
Previously build a Revell U.S.S. Voyager and a Polar Lights 1:1000 U.S.S. Enterprise Refit
Currently building Spekkie's U.S.S. Voyager Mark II (with motorized warp nacelles)

Offline scottminium

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Re: Spekkie's USS Voyager Mark II
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2018, 05:50:01 pm »
OK, that's pretty bad ass.  Another thread to follow closely!
"I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey, and reminds us to cherish every moment... because they'll never come again."

Offline MSgtUSAFRet

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Re: Spekkie's USS Voyager Mark II
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2018, 07:16:52 am »
Whoa! That servo is awesome!

Keep this going! Very interesting thread!

Steve
"To be honest with you, Picard, a significant number of my crew members have expressed a desire to return even knowing the odds. Some because they can't bear to live without their loved ones, some because they don't like the idea of slipping out in the middle of a fight."

Offline Valiant

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Re: Spekkie's USS Voyager Mark II
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2018, 09:46:44 am »
Wow...just...wow. That's probably the best pylon movement I've seen over about 15 years of people trying!

Offline Cpt-Spekkie

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Re: Spekkie's USS Voyager Mark II
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2018, 06:57:39 pm »
Hey guys, you are due an update from my end, so here it goes:

First off i want to thank everybody for the kind words on the model so far! Especially the remark Valiant made, is something that struck me as i would never have guessed that my crazy idea would produce a good or even elegant way of making the pylons motorized. So getting such high praise is heartwarming.

Work on the model is progressing at a quite fast pace. Having build the first version less then a year ago really helps me in the way i still remember how i did things back then. True this version is more complicated, and that is something that is frustrating at times, but overall in about 9 days i did a lot of work if i do say so myself.


In the first image we see how i did my fantail install. Again i did forgo the lighting of the back windows, as i just don't see a good effect with all those 1.8mm led's in the way. Also having moved the nacelle wires to the back of the pylons would make it more cramped. So i went for only lighting the nav and strobe lights in the fantail itself.

Image 2 and 3 shows us that the tail section is now a integrated unit that is still needing it's paint touchup for the seems, but that will be done on a later date. And if anyone asks what for the love of design i did to the shuttle bay. Let me explain  ;D I wanted to retain the ability to reprogram the arduino that is going to control this baby, so i needed a place to route an usb port to. The shuttle bay seemed the only place where you would not immediately see it, and if i do my work properly i will make a shuttle bay door that plugs into the usb port so that its not visible in normal operation.

However i did also have a problem with the motorization of the pylon / nacelles. Because adding all the lights adds weight and furthermore glueing the fantail also compressed the hinges and thus resulted in that my small little servo could not handle the load anymore. So i beefed it up and also made a new attachment arm that screws in place over my metal wire in the fantail. As can be seen in the next image.


The bigger servo works exactly the same, its just bigger and thus can provide more torque to do the work. It seems to be still small enough not to interfere with lighting the engineering hull.

Next image shows us an interior light test of the main saucer section. The test here was to mix the RGB colors so that it becomes a warm white instead of the cold white the RGB normally produces. I think i succeeded, however the photo makes it look cold again instead of the warmer tone. Lastly a picture of the topview of the deflector / torpedo housing. I printed the wall for separating the interior lights and the deflector just like last time and also used 3 led's to light up, but this time also made a roof plate to separate the deflector from the photon torpedo tubes. Main reason for this was that i this time used the same addressable led tape instead of the 1.8mm led's for the tubes.

Having done this, i can control the led's in such a way i can produce the effects with only one pin of the arduino, which makes life very easy.

Currently working on the nav and strobe lighting in the saucer, the interior lighting of the engineering hull and the audio setup to provide sound effects for the features. Also i really need to start making the main pcb (perfboard with arduino, sd card reader, audio amplifier and breakout pins) so that i can begin placing that in the model and better test all the functions together. It's going to be a tight fit!

Lastly i'm thinking of doing a video walkthrough of the current progress, in which i demonstrate the moving of the pylons/nacelles, the torpedo firing, the deflector ramp-up and maybe more. So if you guys are interested in that video, let me know.

And as always, any questions, comments or idea's, let me know.
3D printing enthusiast - Model making noob - SciFi fanatic
Previously build a Revell U.S.S. Voyager and a Polar Lights 1:1000 U.S.S. Enterprise Refit
Currently building Spekkie's U.S.S. Voyager Mark II (with motorized warp nacelles)

Offline Cpt-Spekkie

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Re: Spekkie's USS Voyager Mark II
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2018, 09:36:41 am »
Time for another update on the Voyager Mark II build.

Shall we start with the bad news, or the good news?
Lets start with the bad, then it can only improve down the line...

Last time i talked i was working on the lighting in the saucer and the audio system and it's this audio system that was giving me a real headache. I connected an SD card reader to the arduino and an audio amplifier to boost the audio coming from the output pin and it seemed to work. quality wise it could be improved but the sound worked and that was more then i can say of my first attempt with an external audio board. However, when i soldered up a breakout board with all the pins going to header pins (for easy testing of the separate sections) and installed that in the engineering hull i connected everything up and wanted to test the whole ship. Disaster!


The breakout board with sd reader and audio amplifier.

It turned out that the audio library i was using was using the same timer already needed by the servo to control the pylons. So it was audio but no servo movement anymore. After doing some research it turned out the arduino has 3 timers and i needed to separate the servo and audio libraries to get this to work. Moved over the audio and tested again, well the servo was moving, but it was also moving when the audio played. My Voyager had turned into a butterfly flapping its wings  :o
Not knowing what to do i pondered for a few hours and finally thought of a solution. Instead of activating the servo in the setup routine of the microcontroller, i could "attach" it just before the pylons needed to move, and "detach" the servo when the return to impulse command was given and the pylons where back down.

This seemed to work, no more butterfly behavior when playing sound, and also no servo whine when in impulse mode. The servo did hoever continue to be heard when holding the warp position.
And with that a second disaster struck my build.  :-\

While making the warp flash effect into the warp routine i tested the system multiple times, and when i was about done i did another test and thats when i saw the servo jerking. It could not reach its position anymore. And i had already epoxied it into place,  :o damn.
Luckily the servo itself wat attached with screws to my printed base that i epoxied into the hull, but no screwdriver could reach the small screws. (oh what i'd give for a real sonic screwdriver about now)
After 30 min of cursing and trying i finally got the screws out using only the bit of a screw set and my fingers. FIEUW. And after inspecting the servo it turned out to be stripped gears. So a servo with plastic ears is not strong enough. Back to the hobby shop and get a servo the same size but with metal gears.

And thus we get to the good news portion of this update:
I installed the new servo with metal gears, and instead of having the servo continue to be powered up in the warp position, this servo is strong enough to keep its position without power. When going to warp the pylons go down a tiny bit but i can live with that, as the position is still very good. and can always be improved with software (something i'm still working on), and foremost no servo whine in the warp position ether!  ;D



Here 4 pictures of the whole installation in the engineering section and the bottom saucer section with speaker and addressable led's. Also as you can see i glued up the saucer already as all is installed and working good. Oh and i used an foam strip (used for keeping the cold outside in door openings) between the bottom and top sections of the saucer to help with the light blocking, so that i don't need much putty at the seams.

Lastly i want to share the promised video, in this i show the features as they are now. But note, in this there is a red alert and blue alert. The blue alert mode will not be in the final software design, this is a place holder to test my 5 button matrix. This will be replaced by a audio intro that can be manually started with that button. Furthermore we have Torpedo single shot that alternates between the left and right tubes, torpedo rapid fire, that shoots 4 torpedo's left right left right, jump to warp and back to impulse modes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1U_qf3mlN7o

Al always i would like your opinions, comments, suggestions and more. So feel free to comment.  ;D
3D printing enthusiast - Model making noob - SciFi fanatic
Previously build a Revell U.S.S. Voyager and a Polar Lights 1:1000 U.S.S. Enterprise Refit
Currently building Spekkie's U.S.S. Voyager Mark II (with motorized warp nacelles)

Offline Plaztek

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Re: Spekkie's USS Voyager Mark II
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2018, 02:43:45 pm »
Wow just wow. Great job!
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt your little quest. Captain Ahab has to go hunt his whale!

Offline scottminium

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Re: Spekkie's USS Voyager Mark II
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2018, 06:31:59 pm »
that is seriously scary amount of wiring!
"I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey, and reminds us to cherish every moment... because they'll never come again."

Offline Cpt-Spekkie

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Re: Spekkie's USS Voyager Mark II
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2018, 06:47:35 pm »
Thanks Plaztek,

And indeed Scottminium, in the planning of the build i thought by using addressable led's i would create a simpler wiring scheme but in the end it turned to be even more complex.
The addressable led's have an extra data line that needs to be connected between each led you want to control from the chosen pin of the arduino. The nav and strobe lights need separate power lines driven by arduino pins and the SD card reader and audio amplifier made it go overboard. Luckily i could think of a button matrix using an analog input to combine multiple buttons on one wire.  ;D

And i am able to say now i'm quite pleased that i could bundle all the wires in the engineering hull with zipties so that the bundle stays in the middle. This way the wires don't influence the color that shines through the windows, as i have placed one strip of 4 led on the bottom of the hul shining up and 2 strips of 4 led's placed on the top of the secondary hull shining down on the sides near the windows. Also one strip on the spine to light up the aft windows above the fantail shining down.

I now have completed the wiring in the ship and closed her up, so no more changes can be made to the SD card. The programming i can change through the usb port in the shuttle bay so that part of the design works perfectly  ;D

Also have started painting up the details, but i will reserve the photo's until i'm further with that and make an real update post.  ;)
3D printing enthusiast - Model making noob - SciFi fanatic
Previously build a Revell U.S.S. Voyager and a Polar Lights 1:1000 U.S.S. Enterprise Refit
Currently building Spekkie's U.S.S. Voyager Mark II (with motorized warp nacelles)

 




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