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X-Plane 11 6DOF motion platform

Discussion in 'DIY Motion Simulator Projects' started by SixDegreesOfFlight, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
    DC motor, Arduino, Motion platform, 6DOF
    I will be making a 6DOF platform for my X-Plane 11 flight simulator. After reading through @SilentChill and @wannabeaflyer2 and @baykah threads I just cannot wait any longer.

    From the software side, X-Plane 11 will communicate data refs to Ian's BFF or Simtools 2. I don't think either of these is ready for the latest version of X-Plane but XP can send data refs via UDP. I have used Arduino’s with Ethernet shields and UDP was very good. However, the AMC1280USB uses USB so this may not work. Maybe XP11 is much like XP10 so possibly both software packages can get access to the data? I am a bit uncertain about this bit.

    From the hardware side, I will use an AMC1280USB and 6DOF extension board to drive 3 x Sabertooth 2x60's and Motiondynamics 12V 370W 4500RPM motors. Thanos has a kickstarter at the moment so if you guys think this is the right direction, I will sign up. The Sabertooths will be fed by Dell Poweredge 2950 psus. I am considering these because they are 750W and are designed to run in parallel when used for server redundancy. I am trying to avoid using batteries and blocking diodes, but the Sabertooths seem to require batteries to soak up the regenerating currents. Again not sure about this bit. I read that the 2x32’s don’t need batteries but @SilentChill’s experience of using 2x32’s means I must consider the 2x60’s. There is also @SilentChills experience with server psus shutting down. Still I would think the quality of server psus would be better than the LED power supplies and the refurbished ones are quite a bit cheaper.

    The frame and linear actuators will be largely based on @wannabeaflyer2 design using @SilentChill's mods to overcome my lack of a CNC machine. @baykah used lots of 3D parts in his, so this is probably the route I will take using PETG. At this point I don't know how to weld, but where I work they do have a welding bay and I can ask one of my colleagues to give me hand/teach me this skill. That will be some time down the track as the linear actuators are the first step.

    Feedback about any of this will be very welcome
    • Like Like x 2
  2. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    OK first fork in the road. I have been clear in my mind up until now to use 12V DC motors between 3000-4000rpm and 200-350W. @SilentChill said in Pierre's build that if he had the time over he would use 24V motors because they use less current.

    I am going to get my motors from Motion Dynamics in NSW to keep the postage low and they have a quite a few candidates that would suit the platform:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    What would you recommend?
  3. SilentChill

    SilentChill Problem Maker

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    The 450w 24v motors will be upto the job if you want to go that route they care slightly slower at 3000rpm however @Grigory built a 6dof here using that speed motor which works well and seems to be able to cope with lifting a pretty heavy platform.

    As for controllers I have no experience with thanos @SeatTime used one for a bit maybe he has some input.

    Using 3 arduinos are nearly as good, cheaper and a lot of people using them here there is a lot more in the way of support with simtoools.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
    DC motor, Arduino, Motion platform, 6DOF
    Thanks @SilentChill, I value your advice and experience.

    Tomorrow I will order:
    6 x MY9764
    3 x Sabertooth 2x60
    3 x Arduino Uno

    I only have few days left of my holiday and I want to get the orders off as there is a long lead time to Aus. When they arrive, I will take a photo of the packages - that seems to be the tradition :p
    • Like Like x 1
  5. SilentChill

    SilentChill Problem Maker

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    Pictures and Videos tell a thousand words and more :D
  6. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
    DC motor, Arduino, Motion platform, 6DOF
    Just spent up big.

    6 x Power supplies 24V 30A
    3 x Sabertooth 2x60
    6 x DC Motors 24V DC 450W 4500RPM 1.0Nm

    3 x UNO r3

    2 x POWGE 3pcs GT2 Timing Pulley 40 teeth Bore 6.35mm

    3 x POWGE 5pcs 20 Teeth 2GT Idler Pulley Bore 3/4/5mm 20Teeth Passive Pulley 20T 20 Geer GT2 Idle Pulley For Width 6mm GT2 Belt

    1 x 3D Printer accessories 10meter 10M GT2-6mm open timing belt width 6mm GT2 2GT-6MM For reprap Prusa i3 Kossel Mendel Rostock

    3 x 2pcs 3K Pure Carbon Fiber Tubes OD 25mm X ID 22mm X Length 500mm 25 x 22 x 500mm Tube Matte for Multicopter Quadcopter RC Arms

    6 x 2 Pcs Micro Limit Switch Long Lever Arm Subminiature SPDT Snap Action WS

    6 x 12mm Dia Shaft Coupling Motor Connector DIY Steering Steel Universal Joint

    6 x 3590S-2-502L 5K Ohm BOURNS Rotary Wirewound Precision Potentiometer Pot 10 Turn

    6 x V-Slot 1000mm x 20mm x 60mm

    6 x SFU1605 500mm BK12/BF12 machined

    6 x BK12 BF12 Ball Screw and support

    6 x LMK25 LMK25UU

    1 x Digital Clamp Multimeter OHM Meter AC/DC Current Voltage Resistance Tester D9R2

    1 x eSUN 3D Printer Filament 1.75mm PETG 1kg Spool

    7x T-Handle M3-6 Chuck Tap Drill Bit + M3x0.5 M4x0.7 M5x0.8 M6X1 M8x1.2 Thread

    100pc M3/M4/M5/M6/M8/M10 Stainless Steel Metric Flat Washers Repair Tool Kit NEW

    50/100 Hammer Head T Nut M4 M5 M6 20 30 40 Series European Profile Extrusion

    M4 x 8mm Button HEAD SOCKET CAP SCREWS ALLEN BOLTS ALLOY STEEL GRADE 10.9 BLACK

    Steel tubing and plate

    0.5-6.0mm² Ratchet Crimp Pliers Crimper Tool AWG22-10 Hand Crimping Tool Blue

    2216 B/A GRAY - EPOXY, 2 PART, HIGH PEEL/SHEER

    SAAS Mach II Blue Fixed Back Sports Race Seat ADR Approved

    Bunnings - 4x2400x90x35mm structural pine, 7xM8 1200mm threaded rods, 1xM12 threaded rod, 50x8G 50mm screws

    6 x ZP-100A Power Supplies Stud Mounted Rectifier Diode 100Amperes 1600Volts

    Auto Car Waterproof 12/24V 100A 4Pin Control Device Relay Transparent Harness

    60mm LED Light Big Round Arcade Video Game Player Push Button Switch Lamp GT

    12V 33Ah AGM General Purpose lead-acid batteries

    Car Boat 100A Battery Master Disconnect Rotary Cut Off Isolator Switch Black

    12V-24V AUTO Car Marine Bike Stereo Audio Circuit Breaker Reset Fuse Inverter BD

    Astrotek-AU-Power-Board-6-Socket-Outlet-with-6-Seperate-Switches-1-5m-Cable-Blk

    Waterproof Metal 16mm Push Button Momentary ON OFF Horn Switch Start High Flush

    M12 Female Rose Joint Bearing Right Thread Bronze Liner Rod End

    NEW High torque 8-22MM CNC Flexible Plum Coupling Shaft Coupler Connect D40 L45

    Machine Screw M5 5mm Pan Head Stainless Steel 304

    M6x35mm Full Thread Phillips Flat Head Countersunk Bolts Screws

    16pcs M12 x 1.5 Hex Lug Wheel Nuts Alloy For Ford Focus Fiesta Kuga Mondeo Puma

    10 PACK STAINLESS NYLOC NYLOCK LOCK NUTS M2 M2.5 M3 M4 M5 M6 M8 M10 M12

    15-55mm Hole Saw Carbide Tip Tool Stainless Steel Drill Bit Metal Cutter Kit

    Pan Phillip Self Tapping 12g (5.4mm) Screw Tapper Stainless G304

    Pan Head Phillip Machine M5 (5mm) Metric Coarse Screw Stainless G304

    Hex Standard Full Nut M5 (5mm) Metric Coarse High Tensile Class 8 Zinc Plated

    Alloy Cutter 10mm Shank Twist Drill Bit 80mm Diameter Hole Saw Cutting Tool

    10PCS Hex Head Cap Screws M12 20-150mm Hexagonal Bolts Building Fasteners Parts

    UNO Proto Shield Prototype Expansion SYB-170 Mini Bread Board Based For Arduino

    UNI-T UT210E Digital Clamp Meter Multimeter Handheld RMS AC/DC Mini Resistance

    10 PACK STAINLESS NYLOC NYLOCK LOCK NUTS M2 M2.5 M3 M4 M5 M6 M8 M10 M12

    Tungsten hand tap M12x1.75, 12mm, Intermediate, RH. Metric. New

    536-1-1-103 - VISHAY WIREWOUND POTENTIOMETER, 10KOHM, 5%, 2W

    edit: I have just uploaded the Fusion 360 native files so you can modify / combine them. The rod holder assembly should be one solid piece and should be at least 1-2mm narrower than the ones I will upload so it doesn't rub on the V-slot. So consider them prototypes. I would suggest printing them at 10% to see what they are like then modify them to suit your own actuator.

    Attached Files:

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    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
  7. SilentChill

    SilentChill Problem Maker

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    My Motion Simulator:
    DC motor, Arduino, Motion platform, 6DOF
    Links under each of the pictures would be awesome if you can ;) it would help others and stop people asking where ya bought stuff............. actually they still ask but it helps :D
    • Agree Agree x 2
  8. SeatTime

    SeatTime Well-Known Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    You now have the bug
  9. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    @SilentChill done!
    @SeatTime - and there is no cure :eek:

    I thought I would add into this post my Design Considerations and edit it as I go along. Beginning with the 'provolutionary' design of @SeatTime and the child instances that followed, I would like to sincerely thank him for opening the door for us noob DIYers. After reading through the very enjoyable children of @SeatTime - the journeys of @SilentChill and @wannabeaflyer2 I have benefited from their successes and well, not so successful endeavours. This has saved me both time and money and I am sure many others will benefit as time goes on.

    Design Considerations

    Motors
    I wanted to minimize my work with mains AC - simply for safety sake - therefore it had to be DC. This also fits in with the intention of using Sabertooth motor drivers. I had originally considered 12V but @SilentChill said that if he had the chance to start again he would use 24V simply because they used less current. In fact, the ones I eventually ordered from Motion Dynamics were considerably cheaper and better than the 12V ones. The model I got also had a built in fan and ventilation at the back - so I won't need to drill holes ;)They had to be 4000RPM or more after reading @Grigory experience with motion sickness. I reasoned that the nausea was due to the platform not following his vestibule accurately enough. They couldn't be too fast as there was some concern about the Ball Screw flying apart. @SeatTime children proved that 4000-5000RPM worked fine from experience. The motors need enough torque to lift the platform therefore at least 250W. In practice, @wannabeaflyer2 found the actual current drawn was way less than the motor's spec at full load. Finally, the power couldn't be too high as one house outlet is limited in Aus to 2400W. Although I would consider getting a sparky to install a 15A outlet and separate circuit breaker, or run three motors from one circuit, there was always the option of simply finding another outlet on another breaker so the current is split across two circuits. Edit: the motor must have brushes to work with Sabertooths. Edit2: the downside of choosing this particular motor is the need to cut an 80mm hole for the fan.

    Motor Drivers
    After reading @SilentChill negative experiences with Monster Moto and other cheaper drivers and the success he had with Sabertooth, in addition to the successes of @wannabeaflyer2, the decision to go with Sabertooth 2x64 was straightforward. I could have chosen the cheaper 2x32 but with the higher wattage Motion Dynamic motors I eventually ordered, and the postage time from the USA, the decision almost was made for me. The only reservation I have at the moment is the battery required for regenerative currents and how to hook it up if the power supplies are connected in parallel with diodes etc. Edit: I am now going with three 'sets' of power supplies for the motors. That is, two psu's in parallel with blocking diodes and a small deep cycle battery for each Sabertooth and a pair of motors. These will be positioned as closed to each pair of actuators as possible to keep the wiring short. The only downside to this approach is I am going to need 6 batteries (24V) around 33Ah :eek: That will be expensive. Might need to reconsider the @SilentChill all in parallel approach with one big battery.

    Carbon rod top end
    There are lots of options for attaching the Rose to the end of the carbon fiber tube. I don't have the skill of @SeatTime to work with carbon fiber tape/sheet/mouldings. I am going to try a fluted 3D printed insert using PETG with an M12 thread. This will be bonded with the rod with 3M 2216 B/A gray two part epoxy. The printed insert will be fluted to increase the surface area in contact with the epoxy. Edit: rather than fluting the sleeve I make it about 1.5mm smaller than the inner diameter of the rod and relied on the epoxy to do its job

    Top bearing
    I purchased LMK25 LMK25UU for 25mm shaft linear bearing square flange ball bearing bush for the top of the actuator. At this point I am finding it hard to justify the cost of the Igus bearings.

    Software
    While I haven't ruled out Thanos' board, I will use three Arduino Unos and the SMC3 software together with SimTools. I have had a lot of success with Arduinos in small robotic projects and I feel more confident using them. In addition, there is a wealth of information on this forum on how to use them. Edit: there is a lot to read to set SimTools up correctly and it takes some considerable time to understand how it works and tweak it to get the best out of the motion platform.

    Motor base/end/top plate
    These will be made with 18mm Merbau, a hard wood, rather than plywood. I will 3D print the end plate that the top bearing sits on. Edit: a colleague offered me 6mm aluminium plate which I readily accepted - he even cut it for me into 130mm squares (18 of them!) and six 90mm plates for the top bearing.

    Top and bottom frame
    The top frame will be made with 20x20x1.6mm steel tube and the bottom frame from radiata pine. The corners will be strengthened with corner braces following @wannabeaflyer2 design. His beautifully detailed drawings make this an easy design decision. I noticed that @wannabeaflyer2 ended up moving his rose mount points on the upper frame in further from the end points of the triangle - looks like about 100mm. Edit: I ended up making the frame slight smaller and welding the triangle using 50mm x 50mm x 4mm steel angle. In hindsight I should have used 30mm square steel and welded corner braces. While the 20mm is light and easy to work with, it flexes easily and I ended up having to use bolts and corner braces.

    Position Potentiometers
    I originally purchased Bournes 10T pots but they are very poor quality. After some advice I ended up buying quality Vishay pots for $18AUS each posted.

    Limit switches and Panic consideration
    There are 2 micro-switches per actuator - one near the top and one near the bottom. They are in the normally closed NC position. All limit switches and the panic button are wired in series forming one continuous circuit. If there is a break in any wire or any of the switches are pressed it disengages a 'self-latching' relay which switches the power off to all the relays in series with the motor negative leads. Simple, cheap and effective. After testing, the position of the limit switches was moved towards the middle of the actuator to account for inertia / gravity to prevent the ball screw from hitting either the top or the bottom of the actuator.
    • Informative Informative x 2
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    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
  10. Mmcool

    Mmcool Member

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  11. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    Thank you for your interest in my project :)

    It is quite difficult for beginners like myself to settle on a motion platform design with all the possible variations. This is why I created a post earlier up which explains my thinking behind the design and the choices I finally made.

    When I was investigating the software/hardware interface there were again a few choices and combinations. I had seen Thanos' board used successfully in @wannabeaflyer2 project, and as his project was a child of @SeatTime, I naturally chose those components. However, I was interested in the Arduino option as I work with them on a daily basis. I am not claiming to be a programmer or hardware wizard but I do teach others to build small robots based on Arduino clones. In the end the choice was not based on cost, far from it, but on the greatest possibility of success and support from this forum (without which it will not be finished).
    • Agree Agree x 2
  12. baykah

    baykah Active Member

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    ! Great project !

    I also have 3000rpm motors

    The advantage of the 2x32 is the resistor for regenerative braking, I don't need batteries (only 1 big diode and 1 big capacitor per sabertooth)

    I use simtools with x plane, it's great :) but use the extra 1 & 2 instead of yaw and pitch on the plugin.

    I modifed my actuator to use carbon tube 25/21 x 500 from aliexpress (cheap)

    have fun
  13. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    @baykah
    Thank you for your kind words. I read every post of your build and I hope to complete my project to your high standard.

    It would be a great help to me if you could share some of your 3D stl files :sos your designs really showed how 3D printing can be used for motion simulators
  14. baykah

    baykah Active Member

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    Do you have sketchup ?, I have 1 3D file with everything ..

    After that I export each STL when I need it, and most of the time I print with +1% on the slicer ..
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  15. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    @baykah
    Yes I have Sketchup as well as 123D Design and Fusion 360. It would be really awesome to get some help from you :thumbs
  16. baykah

    baykah Active Member

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    I don't have the file here, I will try not to forget you this evening or tomorrow !

    My 3D file is not an actuator, it is only the parts alone, I do not have wanabeaflyer2 skills :D
  17. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    @baykah
    It is only the 3D parts that I am interested in. I have spent quite a bit of time today trying to figure out what to do about the bearing at the top of the actuator. The Igus bearings are way too expensive. What did you use?
  18. baykah

    baykah Active Member

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  19. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    @baykah
    I am currently trying to haggle a price on that bearing and the lead screw at AliExpress. Time will tell if it will wear out the carbon fiber rods. I wear noise cancelling headphones anyway because my pc is really loud with the fans trying to keep the overclocked stuff cool :p
  20. Austin Slater

    Austin Slater New Member

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    @SixDegreesOfFlight ,

    I am so glad I found your post, I too am trying to build my first 6dof simulator. I beg you to keep the thread active, what you are planning is sounding like exactly what I want to do. I have a few questions if you don't mind.

    First off, my name is Austin.

    So, I have some electronics knowledge, I am in no way experienced though, at 22 years old, i'm limited only by time. So my first question probably sounds idiotic, if so, im sorry. I have never dealt with integrating devices with a PC, so this brings me to my first question.

    I am not sure I understand how the motors interact with Xplane. But this is what I am interpreting:

    An installed plugin in Xplane Exports G Force data to the Sim tools, that then communicates via serial or UDP with the Arduino, Arduino is connected to the sabertooth, which then drives the motor positions? And the power supplys are providing power to the sabertooths?

    Am I off here? can you please make a crude drawing in paint or something that shows the wiring?

    Also, is it possible to use Teensy boards instead of Arduino?

    2nd question:

    I am estimating my simulator with occupants will weigh about 1200 LBS, (3 occupants, pilot, copilot, and instructor, along with the computers, screens, simulated panels, and framework). Will the 24V 60 amp motors have the power to move a sim this size or do I need to go bigger?

    @baykah I have read your posts quite a bit, very impressive what you have done, please chime in on your thoughts too! Thank You Thank you so much, both of yall.

    Thank you so much for your time.

    Best regards,
    Austin.