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The Turret

Posted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:13 pm
by dragonator
Why has it been so quiet here for the past month? I have hinted I was incredibly busy, and that was no exaggeration. I went to SHA2017 in Zeewolde, and I wanted to make something for it. I ended up wanting to make something way too difficult for the time I had, I only had slightly over a month to design and make this. I have worked all nights and all weekends to finish it on time, and even then I didn't actually finish it completely.

The title did already give away what I built, I built a turret from the game Portal. The scale really doesn't come across on any photo. It is 1.3m from the ground up. It can open, close, move the guns up, down, left and right. It has a laser in the eye that can also move with the guns. It has a camera with a raspberry pi to track people, sound in the front to make it sound like a turret. And best of all, it has 4 fully functional nerf guns to shoot with.
Turret pre-sha.jpg
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That was what it is going to do. At SHA we only had the movements and 4 poorly working nerf guns that constantly jammed. The raspberry pi side was still being worked on and was not finished on time. Still, it gathered quite a crowd at SHA.

The project is going to be finished for a few other events coming up, but for now enjoy a nice photo (there are no videos yet) of the turret in it's full unfinished glory. In the mean time, I will pick up some old projects again.

Re: The Turret

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 8:05 pm
by ajvinke
a late response but that looks Awesome.
It looks great and i believe you when you sway it cost a lot of time

Re: The Turret

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:05 pm
by dragonator
2019 will be started with me trying to finish the Turret. It has been standing at my local hackerspace for over a year and a halve, unfinished. I have had a few weeks to design things, so I though I'd post updates on the Turret here.

Last time I worked on it, it was after SHA2017. A mad struggle to get it finished in around a month. Mechanically it is mostly sound. Electrically it is a disaster and in software it does not work at all. Here is a list of what needs to be done in the coming few months:
  • Get the outer shells 3D printed. They are laser cut parts covered in fabric. This was a time saving measure and though it did save a lot of time, It is also the worst looking part.
  • Redo the feeders in the guns. The feeders constantly jam and burn motors.
  • Add checks and double checks to all motion. I want the turret to be able to run on it's own. It can only do this if it can stop when stuff goes wrong.
  • Add the last of the cosmetic shells. Again, not done due to time.
  • Complete rewire of the turret.
  • New programming on both software and firmware
  • Make a nice video of it
I have done most of the design work in the last two weeks. There is still small stuff left to be done, but I will start 3D printing in the coming weeks.
BT WIP2 20190105.JPG
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I will leave for now with 2 videos of 2 experimental feeder designs I tested. The current winner is the rack and pinion feeder for compactness.

Re: The Turret

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 5:58 pm
by dragonator
A few more weeks, a few more progress.
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I first tore out all of the wiring that was in the turret. This was a mess that I did not even want to fix. I then started to rewire the turret (this time with an actual design beforehand). The basics are still the same. There is a 12V/30A power supply in the base. This goes through the tubes to the turret. Here it goes to the Arduino mega, a Raspberry pi and now also, a relay block that allows me to switch off blocks of the turret if they give issues. I want to turret so safely run without anyone babysitting it. Wherever 5V is needed, a step down converter is used.
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I then rewired the eye. This block holds 8 leds to light up the plastic disc of the eye, a laser diode, and 2 servo's, one for pan and one for tilt. I am happy to report that it now works again.
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Next is the pan and the open/close mechanism for the guns, and to finish the redesign of the guns. Both should be done in the coming few weeks.

Re: The Turret

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:35 pm
by dragonator
A month later, this post schedule is getting out of hand. I will post the past month in a few separate posts, else this post will be too long.

I spent the past month doing several things. Mostly rewiring the main body and printing the left shell of the turret. Today is the left shell. A bit of background.

The original turret was made in slightly over a month. In order to make that happen, a few corners were cut. The place where the most corners were cut is with the guns. The shells were made with a laser cut frame with fabric to save printing time. The shells already needed to be replaced. The main gun assembly itself 'worked', but not great. It would take quite a bit of effort to to make the current version of the gun fit a new shell. I instead opted to completely redesign the guns completely. This took some time.

The last 3 weeks were spent 3D printing. In total, one complete gun takes around 120 hours of printing.
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Each shell consists of 10 part, each taking around 8 hours to print. The shell pieces are aligned with dowel pins and glued with super glue. Later the shells will get an epoxy coating strengthening the shell further.
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The gun mechanism and movement fits in holes that are printed in the shells. The guns will get a post of their own when they are wired. There are 2 nerf guns and a bearing with a motor that tilts each gun. I will wire the gun in a few weeks to test it, and if it works properly, than I will print the other half.

Next post, rewiring and pan/open mechanism. It already works :).

Re: The Turret

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 5:36 pm
by dragonator

(Sorry for the vertical video)

I finished wiring the open and pan motor. It took a while because I also got a new 3D printer while doing this.

The guts of the movement is the pan/open mechanism. The whole mechanism pans, and inside is a scissor mechanism that opens and closed the turret. 2 worm gear motors drive this mechanism. The open mechanism is powered with 18V to make the motion fast enough, the pan motor uses the stock 12V. 2 potmeters and switches check the position of the mechanism. If there is a discrepancy, the power to the mechanism is cut.

There is not much else to the mechanism.

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Next time I should have one gun side wired and hopefully running

Re: The Turret

Posted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:42 pm
by dragonator
That was quite a wiring job.

But the turret now shoots.

I spent the last few weeks wiring the shells. The wiring was quite a bit more work than expected. There are 4 flywheel motors, 1 tilt motor with feedback, and 2 feeder circuits with adequate redundancies. The side is wired in 3 distinct blocks. The upper gun (where the power and signal cable enter), the lower gun and the tilt/adjustment mechanism. Each module has a cable to the upper gun so it can be separated if needed.
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To make the cable going to each gun look nice, there are a beefy power cable and a ribbon cable going to the gun in a nice curve. A magnetic mount attaches the cable to the head. It is getting quite cramped everywhere, but I think everything will fit.
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Now I will prepare the other side for printing. Printing will take 3-4 weeks, so until then, there will not be much progress on the turret. I do hope to be programming the turret in the meantime, but that is not very postworthy until I am more or less done.

Until next time.

Re: The Turret

Posted: Sat May 25, 2019 6:51 pm
by dragonator
I am running a bit out of steam on this project, but luckily, I am also almost there
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The whole right side guns are printed, wired, and tested. This took over 3 weeks to print, so this took the bulk of the time.

I also added the green covers at the top of the head. These cover the bulk of the electronics, and make the whole turret look a lot beefier. The attach with magnets to the head.

Upon testing of the right side guns, I discovered that the feeders rack and pinion system is not really working quite the way I want it. There are dozens of solutions, but I have designed a locking mechanism that keeps the ends in place when the teeth are not meshing. The only issue is that my printer broke during this process. I do have alternatives, but everything will take more time now.

Fixing the rack and pinion system is the next priority. after that I will finish up the firmware. Once that is finished I can sand and paint the shells, and start on the software running the turrets more demanding functions like people recognition and talking. Until next time.

Re: The Turret

Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:48 am
by sargrvb
This is a really cool project. Upon complete, will you be releasing a build guide/ STLs? I'm midway through printing the GLaDOS lamp. If this is going to be released soon-(ish), I think I'll wait until later and print the newer turret. I really wanted to recreate a more accurate version like WETA's gift to Valve, but it seems as if you've done all of the hard work! Extremely impressive, looking forward to seeing this complete.

Re: The Turret

Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:34 pm
by dragonator
I will not release a build guide. The project is way too big (over 300 hours of 3D printing alone) and too specific for my tools. I will release the files, but with absolutely no guarantee on whether it will work for others. If you are desperate for the files I can put them on the site. 98% of the CAD files are not going to change anymore.