Working towards v2 of the Ground Station Gear Assembly, the SatNOGS hardware team has experimented with various gear designs. All of them where designed and 3D printed from scratch focusing on ease of reproduction and excellent mechanical operation and properties.
The new gear assembly (which is almost identical for both Azimuth and Altitude) sports a much thinner and compact design, driven by a much more powerful NEMA 17 Stepper motor.
Failing was part of the process. As you can see in the pics above, 3D printing a worm gear can be a monster of its own. After careful calibration and fine-tuning (layer heights, cooling, leveling, infill settings etc) on our 3D printer we were able to consistently reproduce worm and matching gears. We even experimented with acetone abs curing, which (based on the results we are seeing) we believe should be the default for our gears moving forward.
v2 of Ground Station is around the corner, and we will be posting later this week with full documentation, designs and instructions on how to build. Till then, back to gear-craze!