As I've mentioned before, it is one of my goals to put together a worm gear based heliostat design that can be assembled with basic off the shelf components found at your typical hardware store. Aside from the stepper motors, limit switches, and Stepper Power Control Board (not strictly required), I was able to get everything needed to build this machine at my local Lowe's store.
Those who follow this forum closely will notice that this is a variation of Jim's heliostat design. http://cerebralmeltdown.com/forum/index.php?topic=293.0
Experience has showed me that worm gear based machines are much
easier to set up than the linear actuator based machines I have put together in the past. It probably only took me 15 minutes to mount and align this one, and that includes the time it took to get all of the various tools and things together.
I actually cheated a bit on this one and ended up cutting out all of the various parts on my CNC Machine. Once I work through a few bugs I plan on trying to make a PDF file that you can print out and use as a template for cutting everything out. That way it can be built using more basic tools.
These pictures are just a teaser for now. I'm going to try and build another one and make some modifications / improvments as I go. If you want to have a closer look at how everything goes together, you can check out the Sketchup model. http://www.cerebralmeltdown.com/forumpics/worm%20gear%20heliostat/PVC%20Heliostat.skp
The model is very close to the real life version since the gcode was using it.
I hope to put a bigger mirror on it later. You'll also notice that the PCV Pipe end caps for protecting the motors from the rain haven't been put on it yet. Once I'm sure I won't need to take it apart again, I will seal everything up with silicone. Although you can't see it from the pictures, I have a Stepper Power Control Board mounted inside the machine. Hopefully I will be able to seal everything up well enough to protect it from moisture.Materials List
Here is a quick materials list and price breakdown. It's not complete yet, but you will at least get a fairly accurate idea of what is needed.
Gatehouse Arborley 4-in x 4-in x 72-in White Vinyl Fence Post: $15.97http://www.lowes.com/pd_24992-73428-73002277_0__?Ntt=24992&UserSearch=24992&productId=3159989&rpp=32
EverTrue 0.75-in x 5.5-in x 8-ft Interior/Exterior Paint Grade PVC: $20.56 http://www.lowes.com/pd_209621-1487-07311_0__?productId=3339718&Ntt=209621&pl=1¤tURL=%3FNtt%3D209621&facetInfo=
2-Count 1/4-in- 20 Zinc-Plated Standard (SAE) Regular Nut: $2.73http://www.lowes.com/pd_142056-37672-881650_0__?Ntt=142056&UserSearch=142056&productId=3013468&rpp=32
1/4" x 3/8" Bronze Standard (Sae) Flat Washer: $2.92http://www.lowes.com/pd_215870-37672-882991_0__?Ntt=215870&UserSearch=215870&productId=3024780&rpp=32
Mueller Proline 3/8-in Black Steel Nipple Fitting: $4.60 http://www.lowes.com/pd_28021-29760-20316_0__?Ntt=28021&UserSearch=28021&productId=3460386&rpp=32
PVC Endcaps: I don't have the receipt, but I think this would come up to about $6.00 each.
Limit switches (about $4.00)
Stepper Motors, about $30
The total comes up to about $100 dollars in materials for this heliostat, however
, notice that the vinyl fence post and piece of exterior trim are long enough to build multiple heliostats. Compensating for that, it comes to about $70.00 for this heliostat. Most of these items I'm sure can be found for cheaper online, so you might even be able to get the price below $50.00. Like I said though, this is just a rough estimate.