MPC X-Wing - Internally Motorized S-Foils

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Hagoth

Sr Member
Clever mechanical design concept Hagoth. Will follow this thread with great interest. Please advise source of your motors / actuators. I have not seen these types of motorized screw versions.

I have been using inexpensive, geared box type 6v dc micro motors purchased off of Amazon. The manufacturer uses metal gearing. Many rpm selections. I have been using 32 pitch gears to avoid slipping teeth on the motor pinion driving a RC car spur gear. Gets me adequate torque on the rotating screw shaft. That arrangement eliminates motor head room for tight locations. The “traveling nut“ technique provides movement length not available by remote control servos and bell cranks.

Again, kindly provide your manufacturer & source of your actuators. Your electronic source would be a bonus and perhaps avoid limit switches on my project. Thanks In advance.
Thank you for the interest! I spent hours looking for possible options that could fit in the space under the unit. After purchasing a few potential solutions I figured out really quick that a high gear reduction system was necessary. Most of the motor options that are small enough to fit are made for moving super light camera shutters or focus lenses so they have almost no force output or torque. AliExpress turned out to be the best source for me with the most variety of options on a single site.

I settled on stepper motors for the very reason you mentioned. I could avoid the need for limit switches for the stops and vary the travel distance and speed with Arduino code. It did take a bit of figuring to learn how to drive them manually for testing.

Here is the source link for the motors I ended up using:
I selected the 5V with connector. Now that I know what I'm doing with them I could just get the 5V version.

Here is the other one I considered but the mounting bracket turned out to be cumbersome and just got in the way. Might be useful for another project.

The others are somewhere on the site but I'm not finding the links at the moment.
 

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Millenniumf

Well-Known Member
Hi Millennium! I've wondered what the state of that prototype was! Thanks again for the use of your kit to create it. It has evolved into a PM-2B configuration with the folding wing root panels. You can see it here:
The PM-1B like you have is still available as well.

As for motorizing the Pro-Shop mechanism I have a concept rattling around in my head that will use a worm gear on a stepper to drive a toothed disk that attaches to the front drive shaft. Since the action is about 200 degrees of rotation if is way too far for a linear drive. But, since there are already two levels of gear reduction built into the unit I can use a more direct drive method and still have it work. Should be a very flat drive unit that fits on the front right under R2. Here is the concept mock-up I've been playing with. One of the motors will be operated in reverse if I use two and put them in series. This will be a future project.

View attachment 1444048 View attachment 1444049

Cheers my friend!
I can't wait, man! :D I'm probably going to replace the PM-B1 prototype with the new configuration if I ever get around to finishing my Pro-Shop build, because motorizing it is just too cool not to do. :D When you do release this kit, for either the 1:43 or 1:35 X-wing, will it have motors and a motor controller with it?
 

Searun

Member
Thank you for the interest! I spent hours looking for possible options that could fit in the space under the unit. After purchasing a few potential solutions I figured out really quick that a high gear reduction system was necessary. Most of the motor options that are small enough to fit are made for moving super light camera shutters or focus lenses so they have almost no force output or torque. AliExpress turned out to be the best source for me with the most variety of options on a single site.

I settled on stepper motors for the very reason you mentioned. I could avoid the need for limit switches for the stops and vary the travel distance and speed with Arduino code. It did take a bit of figuring to learn how to drive them manually for testing.

Here is the source link for the motors I ended up using:
I selected the 5V with connector. Now that I know what I'm doing with them I could just get the 5V version.

Here is the other one I considered but the mounting bracket turned out to be cumbersome and just got in the way. Might be useful for another project.

The others are somewhere on the site but I'm not finding the links at the moment.
Many thanks for taking the time and the prompt response with such detail. I should have noticed my system was too large for your model. However, you have helped me greatly with your well thought out mechanical design & wiring scheme.
 

Hagoth

Sr Member
I can't wait, man! :D I'm probably going to replace the PM-B1 prototype with the new configuration if I ever get around to finishing my Pro-Shop build, because motorizing it is just too cool not to do. :D When you do release this kit, for either the 1:43 or 1:35 X-wing, will it have motors and a motor controller with it?
That is the ultimate plan. This is what I mean by the amount of scratch building one is willing to tackle. When the kits are released, including the motor pack with the motors will definitely be an option. As for a motor controller, that is still a work in progress but my intent is to make it an option as well. An internal controller will likely be custom. There are probably off the shelf controllers that can be used externally and go in a base. Still researching that as I need to find a solution example anyway for the development progress.
 

Hagoth

Sr Member
Many thanks for taking the time and the prompt response with such detail. I should have noticed my system was too large for your model. However, you have helped me greatly with your well thought out mechanical design & wiring scheme.
Glad this has been helpful to you even at this early stage. Sounds like you have a similar project in the works as well? :unsure:
 

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Hagoth

Sr Member
Quick progress update from the weekend.

Got the wire guard channels and through holes for the motor carriage designed and printed. I can easily pass 12 wires that are 30 gauge through the hole and only need at most 10. There is also plenty of room over the top of the unit for the main power wires from the battery pack. This will work.
Motor Carriage.jpg

Did a wire pass through fit and function test. I tested that I can still fit the motors in even after they are wired together (something I still need to do permanently). No issues so far. The wire loops are to provide slack for wing movement and not kink the wires. Everything fits in the body nice and snug. Since the motor mounting is reversible the wires can pass through the front or the back bulkheads. I'll likely flip them around for an in model lighting and powered wing function test.
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Also modified the PM-1A to have the vertical wire shields on the wing root attachments like the PM-2A design. They make it easier to keep the engine light wires in place and hidden. I modified the wire channels as well for easier printing and a shorter wire length like I did in the PM-2A. I'm pretty sure this is the final design state.

PM-1A Closed 2.jpg PM-1A Open 2.jpg

...and wouldn't you know it. Just had an idea to activate the wings manually through the droid strip on top... it's a good one so now I have to at least try it out.

At any rate a full assembly of the current "final" PM-1A design is printing right now.
IMG_5988.JPG

Not quite sure how I'm going to solder new wire leads onto the motors. The contacts are so tiny I'm not sure I can do it by hand. Might take them to a shop and laser weld them.
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That's it for now. Thanks for watching.
 

Hagoth

Sr Member
Very cool!

The studio scale crowd would probably love have working wings as well if it is easy enough to scale it up
Oh yes! I'm in that studio scale crowd. I have plans. I have 1:24 scale STL files for both a T-65 (purchased) and T-70 (my own) that I'm adapting the mechanism concept to. I think I can make it strong enough to work at that studio scale and even the Hasbro 1:18 scale.
 

Hagoth

Sr Member
It will be the weekend before I get over to a laser welding shop (a jeweler) to solder the longer wire leads on the motors. Really looking forward to the ability to test the unit in the kit body.

In the mean time here is the progress for today.

Printer finished the print of the full parts set for the latest PM-1A. Took just under 9.5 hours.
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Removed from the bed. A small 16 part model kit all by itself. A few little strings and branches to clean up but the prints look and feel really good.
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Spent the evening removing the support material and cleaning up the squish layer edge around all the contours that were touching the printer bed. The majority of the post print work will be spent smoothing off the surfaces of the drive spindle. Any angled surfaces that interface with another need to have the layer stair stepping sanded smooth for a flush fit. The whole clean up process takes about two hours. It is actually quite relaxing.
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It's so satisfying to me to physically hold something I custom designed in my hands and have it fit together as intended.

Thanks for stopping by.
 

Analyzer

Sr Member
3D printing still amazes me. The fact that I could go from a bottle of resin (or in your case a spool of plastic) and hours later be holding and priming or painting a model is such a freeing feeling
 

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Hagoth

Sr Member
It’s possible to scale this device for the Revell Xwing 1/29?
I don't see why it could not be scaled and modified to fit that kit. In looking at some videos of how the model goes together there would be some changes required to make it work. It would not just be a straight scale up job.
 

Hagoth

Sr Member
Ok, here's an update.

Soldering longer wire leads to the motors was a fail. Micro soldering was partially successful but removing the circuit ribbon to replace with wires wrecked one motor. Finally got them all wired but half the leads did not survive the journey home.

IMG_6027.JPG

Ordering new motors, this time without the connectors already on (which needed to be removed anyway) to see if it can be a cleaner operation next time around. The only good to come out of the effort was the removed circuit ribbons now have leads wired to them for future connection to the manual test board. Two steps forward and one step back.

So, a change of focus and discovered another hurdle. The kit wings are not planer and the roots are not 90 degrees to the engine bays. To determine what changes need to be made for a successful adaption I designed and printed my own wings to play around with. First focus was for the PM-1A (no folding wing root panels). I started with just the basic profile (somewhat adjusted the wing openings) with no other details first.

IMG_5997.JPG IMG_5998.JPG
They came out nice and then I noticed I had made a measurement adjustment twice and the wing tips are too short. Measure twice print once thus became adjust measurement twice, print wrong. But they could still serve the intended test purpose so I continued
Next time they will be right.
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I'm going to build this with the engine radiator fin looking things towards the back. The kit instructions have them to the front. There is an added benefit to flipping them around that will become apparent in a bit. The model kit parts fit perfectly and confirmed the adjustment that will need to be made to the engine lengths later on down the road.

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Then came the loose test fit. Not bad, and the top parts of the wings were a perfect fit. 0.2mm clearance gaps between mating parts results in a perfect fit right off the printer.

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I still have a gap problem at the wing tips. Shimming them can correct it but I may need to design a slight angle into the connection planes to avoid that step. Might not be as much of an issue with the PM-2A version of wing connection since those are vertical. The best result of the part fittings was testing out the pathway for the engine light wires. That worked out really well. The wires are hidden except for where they pass through the engine bay but that's not a problem because they pass as engine details when painted. This is where the benefit of flipping the engines around in the bays lined the wires up in exactly the right spot. Really pleased with how the wiring path concept turned out in practice.

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While I'm waiting for the new motors to arrive (June 1st) I will continue to try out the wing connections with properly dimensioned wings.

That's the saga update for today. Thanks for following along.
 

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Hagoth

Sr Member
I'd be happy just to be able to set them solidly in either open or closed. You are doing like a full blown science experiment!
And the science experiment is what keeps this fun for me! My goal of a self-contained motorized and lit up MPC X-Wing is looking possible. Still have a long way to go but seeing the ideas materialize in physical form is very rewarding.
 

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