Final Project: A Digitally Controlled 3-Axis Gimbal

Machine(s): Laser Cutter, Modella | Material(s): Acrylic, FR1, SMD Components, Servos, Misc Hardware

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This page is designed to present the results of my final project. Although I do not describe the step-by-step build process on this page, you are welcome to browse through the two earlier pages describing the genesis of the project: Proposal and Update.

In short, this device is intended to help me visualize air and spacecraft rotation angles in three-dimensional space. The three gimbals are independently actuated and allow the user to rotate the model about each axis. The user can choose to command these rotations from a physical control panel (knobs, switches, LED's, etc), or the user can connect to the device via a Processing sketch running on a laptop. In the future I hope to modify the code to accept angle commands in the form of .txt files; this will allow the user to not only command single angles but to also command actual flight maneuver sequences.

Here are two videos that showcase the two modes of operations. The first video shows the aircraft being rotated independently about the three axes by turning knobs on the control panel. The second video shows that the gimbal mechanism is connected to a laptop via a FTDI cable. The laptop runs a Processing sketch that controls the aircraft as well as displaying a visualization of what the aircraft should look like.

More Pictures

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