Design of a hexapod mount for a radio telescope

Janse van Vuuren, Frank (2011-03)

Thesis (MScEng (Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The world's astronomy community is working together to build the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world namely: the SKA (Square Kilometre Array). It will consist of approximately three thousand dishes which will each require accurate positioning. The Square Kilometer Array has a testbed called the Phased Experimental Demonstrator (PED) in Observatory, Cape Town. A hexapod positioning mechanism is required to position a 3.7 m radio telescope which forms part of an array of seven radio telescopes. This thesis details the design process of the hexapod system. The design consists of the mechanical design of the joints and linear actuators, a kinematic and dynamic model, a controller and a user interface. In order to verify the design for the PED hexapod a scaled prototype was designed, built and tested. The hexapod's repeatability as well as ability to track a path was tested using an inclinometer. The tests confirmed the design feasibility of the PED hexapod and also highlight issues that require care when constructing the full scale hexapod, such as the amount of play in the platform joints. The designed full scale hexapod will have an error angle less than 0.13°, a payload capacity of 45 kg, withstand wind speeds of 110 km/h and cost R160 000.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die wêreld se sterrekundige gemeenskap is besig om saam te werk om die grootste en mees sensitiewe radioteleskoop in die wêreld te bou, naamlik: die SKA (Square Kilometre Array). Dit sal uit ongeveer drie duisend skottels bestaan wat elkeen akkurate posisionering benodig. Die SKA het 'n toetssentrum, genaamd die “Phased Experimental Demonstrator” in Observatory, Kaapstad. 'n Sespoot posisionering meganisme word benodig om die 3.7 m radioteleskoop te posisioneer, wat deel vorm van 'n stelsel van sewe radioteleskope. Hierdie tesis beskryf die proses om die sespoot stelsel te ontwerp. Die ontwerp bestaan uit die meganiese komponent van die koppelings en lineêre aktueerders, 'n kinematiese en dinamiese model, 'n beheerder, asook 'n gebruikersintervlak. 'n Geskaleerde prototipe is ontwerp, gebou en getoets om die ontwerp te verifieer. Die platform se herhaalbaarheid sowel as akkuraatheid om 'n pad te volg was getoets met 'n oriëntasie sensor. Die toetse het probleme uitgelig wat versigtig hanteer moet word gedurende die konstruksie van die volskaalse sespoot, veral die hoeveelheid speling in die koppelings. Die volskaalse sespoot ontwerp het 'n hoek fout van minder as 0.13°, 'n ladingsvermoë van 45 kg en kan 'n windspoed van 110 km/h weerstaan en kos R160 000.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6693
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