Samantha Allen, Sheelagh Dunn, Andrew Jaehne, Trevor Perez, James Riggins, Andrew Robinson, James Sanchez
The purpose of this paper is to present the ideation, prototyping, testing, and implementation of a uniquely developed heliostat system which seeks to improve upon previous design concepts– the Last Light Bender (LLB) heliostat. Using a house of quality analysis coupled with design prototyping, the decisions were made to generate a heliostat with modern manufacturability, low-cost production, ease of assembly, and simplistic operation practices in mind. To achieve these goals and meet design requirements, the LLB heliostat contains a simple 2-axis actuation system, a fully 3-D printed design, and reduced cost Nema 17 stepper motors for system control. The overall design is composed of three major sections: a base, rotating shaft, and upper assembly. The base is composed of two hollowed halves, 3D printed for easy packaging, and secured with two clamps. Inside the base, lies the shaft – also hollow and 3D printed. The shaft contains one of the two stepper motors which serves to drive the gear system for facilitating the azimuth rotation. Thrust and ball bearings are incorporated to mitigate frictional effects caused by the 3D printed plastic. The upper assembly consists of a backplate with attached mirror, a rim gear, additional stepper motor, and facilitates mirror elevation control. The gear system is housed inside a 4:1 gearbox mounted on top of the shaft, producing decreased velocity and increased torque. To date the LLB heliostat has seen successful testing results with wind survivability, motor control, and azimuthal and elevation control, and laser reflection targeting.