Need SatelliteGuys Assistance for C-band Feedhorn Alignment Tool Project

Status
Please reply by conversation.

Titanium

Thread Starter
AI6US
Lifetime Supporter
May 23, 2013
6,935
7,722
Meadow Vista, Northern California
Even with the changes in industrial 3D printing over the past few years, the product cost remains far too high to mass produce. The available consumer 3D nylon filament builds are too rigid. Unlike molded nylon, which has greater flexibility and a smooth finish, the printed parts stick and break easily.

If there is any interest for building one off units for personal use, we could release the .eprt or .ais files for 3D printing. Drop me a PM (Conversation) and we will work out the details.

I wish to publicly recognize the Project Designer, Fred Learning. As a fellow satellite hobbyist eager to find a better way to align scalars and feedhorns, he volunteered many, many hours on this project and shared his considerable knowledge of the design and production process. I know that we both were disappointed with the cost analysis and the failure to place the LFA into production.
 

Lone Gunman

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 19, 2010
3,006
720
southeast
The cost on this has to be low. With the laser one would think it could be half of what Brian came out with.
In Brian's defense, they designed one that would work on pretty much everything. Mine, not so much as I made mine specifically for the DMX/BSC series of LNBFs that were popular at the time. Not sure if mine would work on a Corotor II type with variable skew.

But yeah, mine was "cheap" all right. The laser came from fleabay and I already had the aluminum material. A friend turned the piece out on his lathe and put the center hole in it and I machined the rest of it on my Bridgeport mill. I can't remember what I spent on it but I'd bet it was less than $20.

Note, it doesn't work well with a button hook LNBF holder because the button hook tube runs up from the center of the dish. To do the button hook type you'd need one that is offset a specific amount to get outside that tube.

Oh, and after I used it on my Winegard dish (other 2 dishes are button hook) and saw how much mine was off, I put it on the shelf and it hasn't been used since??? Hummmm, come to think of it, that dish is the one that's been giving me problems with that 16apsk feed?? Heh, maybe I should get off my a$$ and tweak it in, hey. :wink
 

hank123

COLORADO CONNOISSEUR BUD HUNTER
Lifetime Supporter
May 8, 2016
543
287
N. Colorado
I didn't even think about it being a problem with the button hook.
How would you make something that would work on a button hook?
 

Babadem

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 21, 2007
2,284
158
MA
Even with the changes in industrial 3D printing over the past few years, the product cost remains far too high to mass produce. The available consumer 3D nylon filament builds are too rigid. Unlike molded nylon, which has greater flexibility and a smooth finish, the printed parts stick and break easily.

If there is any interest for building one off units for personal use, we could release the .eprt or .ais files for 3D printing. Drop me a PM (Conversation) and we will work out the details.

I wish to publicly recognize the Project Designer, Fred Learning. As a fellow satellite hobbyist eager to find a better way to align scalars and feedhorns, he volunteered many, many hours on this project and shared his considerable knowledge of the design and production process. I know that we both were disappointed with the cost analysis and the failure to place the LFA into production.
This is worth looking into.
 

Lone Gunman

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 19, 2010
3,006
720
southeast
I didn't even think about it being a problem with the button hook.
How would you make something that would work on a button hook?
You'd have to make one with the laser offset a "known" amount so it would hit a spot BESIDE the button hook mount. Looking at mine I could have mounted the laser about 13/16" off to one side and done that and it would have cleared a 1 1/2" button hook tube and most of those that I've seen are around 1" to 1 1/4". Hind site is always 20/20, hey!
 

richyrich

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 2, 2008
480
20
dead
Well, I have decided that I wpuld build my own again; using flat round 1/4" solid piece of alum. aircraft type and a pattern like a tool used to make a pulley puller round inside the flat part (micrometer interior sizer how wide the opening is); then straight telescopic center of tool; to middle of dish (pool cue tip with chalk extension). Then I used my eye on the inclino-meter part which is hooked to my cellphone. This was the problem; I do not see as well; and time is just about gone to finalize "using my eye" is only close, and any new one is multiple satellites from one dish; then the laser mounting tool is a level way to "see the line"; and the plastic only flows off a plastic (circular problem in areas) cavity printing/plastic manufacturing machine (auto-bot) is not extra; it is mandatory.

I always offset the feed manually from the "aimed portion" and it does not change from there again; it does have to be within a 1/2" in c band; within a 1/16" in ku sizes for the offset's to work "perfectly"; it would not be there physically...
 

Hockeynut

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 13, 2010
848
696
Sat Farm in NC.
This project took off with a full head of steam and quickly realized the manufacturing,demand cost were not workable.There is only less than a handfull of folks for us here in NA that would like to advance our hobby and Titanium Brian is 1 of them so I will never knock the efforts of these great guys.

That being said a feed horn alignment tool is a big gamble and imo not a sure bet the scaler and feedhorn will be align!.First off with any project for it to be a success must start from the ground up..

Here is the problems I see in something like this.

1 A laser that is guaranteed to be true to it`s outside diameter as after all this is the area we are working with and trusting it to be true...Kinda like my Pepere who had 1 eye pointed to his left and 1 eye lookin at ya.

2 Even if one can find a laser that is guaranteed to run true to its outside diameter then a device to be built that will utilize this precision.and the design is rather nice but still to many parts and when dealing with a collet type device it will never be trued to exact spot every time once loosening or tightening.This does not sound like much but once the error is multiplied by the distance from the scaler to the dish then all accuracy is lost and defeating the purpose.

3 Most important of all is if we could get a perfect laser it does not change the fact we are dealing with castings of which are not very accurate and many of us have different scalers.There is taper in these cast scalers so nothing accurate there.

Now for those with a home shop and a lathe or work in a machine shop and want to take this on it`s possible for folks like us...Make a precision scaler ring and bushing to accept a high dollar laser then problem solved.

Brian am sure seen the risk,reward and accuracy and dealing with many variables and threw in his chips...Smart move.

Nothing beats a great Saturday or Sunday ( Don`t miss any football ) out at the dish with a SA,Meter or receiver and tv at the dish...Just tinkering what works best..After all we are dealing with in most cases very old dishes that are not so accurate anymore!.
 

sgs

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 27, 2012
226
46
Southwestern Ontario
Hi guys,

As promised on another thread, I wanted to share pics of a feedhorn alignment tool I've used for the last few years... I scored it when I did a 800+ mile round trip to get a H-H mount a few years ago.

This is a simple solution that works and doesn't require any batteries. Lasers are so overrated guys... :biggrin

The red cap end fits over every common LNB and LNBF - I've tried it on at least six different kinds. Notice the interior rings on the red plastic in the second pic? Those are different diameters, allowing it to fit snugly over various sizes of LNBs. Also the outside red cap comes off, allowing it to fit over very large diameter LNBs, I suppose...

Because it's transparent, it's very easy to see the LNB(F) inside it, so it's easy to know that you have it on straight by making sure it's the same depth around the circumference of the red plastic.

You'll notice that the metal rods have telescoping extension. It extends to about five and a half feet, more than enough to accurately align to center of any dish up to twelve feet.

Perhaps this is something that could be built and sold, Brian?

It is etched with "Natropolis Int, Pat. Pend." - looks to be an old satellite tools/parts company, St Paul Minnesota, from a quick search. Possibly this is called a "Natropolis Focus Finder" or "Natropolis Future Focus Finder"


The alignment tool, not extended.
no1.jpg


Notice the concentric interior rings of various depths. Also, the outside cap of smaller diameter comes off for extra large LNBs.
no2.jpg


Telescoping rod partially extended:
no3.jpg


Example with my favorite LNBF: :happydance
no4.jpg


:hatsoff :canada

sgs
 

dem0nlord

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 12, 2005
331
5
Central Texas
Hi guys,

As promised on another thread, I wanted to share pics of a feedhorn alignment tool I've used for the last few years...
I have something similar I ratholed after finding it on ebay at least a decade ago. This one fits inside the feed, so I could never use it with the corotor but I may be able to with the c band orthogonal feed I have now. Box says Precision Satellite Service 1-800-HOT-DISH. LOL IMG_20170105_161746.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: sgs and KE4EST

KE4EST

SatelliteGuys Is My Second Home
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
Lifetime Supporter
Aug 9, 2004
25,280
5,599
EM75xb
Box says Precision Satellite Service 1-800-HOT-DISH.
Someone needs to call that number and see who has it now.....and say, "You mean this is not HOT DISH"? :D
 

wvman

SatelliteGuys Pro
Lifetime Supporter
Sep 19, 2014
2,697
1,265
N. Central WV
Even with the changes in industrial 3D printing over the past few years, the product cost remains far too high to mass produce. The available consumer 3D nylon filament builds are too rigid. Unlike molded nylon, which has greater flexibility and a smooth finish, the printed parts stick and break easily.

If there is any interest for building one off units for personal use, we could release the .eprt or .ais files for 3D printing. Drop me a PM (Conversation) and we will work out the details.

I wish to publicly recognize the Project Designer, Fred Learning. As a fellow satellite hobbyist eager to find a better way to align scalars and feedhorns, he volunteered many, many hours on this project and shared his considerable knowledge of the design and production process. I know that we both were disappointed with the cost analysis and the failure to place the LFA into production.
Here's one I built a year or so ago. The main body is a plastic compound used for various applications. I cut it out on my lathe in about an hour. The Laser was purchased off EBay, and the hole in the plastic was cut .003 undersize for a snug fit. The hole in the edge has one 180 degrees opposite it in order to install a steel pin to use for alighing the feed to the polar axis of the dish.

I'd reccomend using a little less powerful laser. This one is 500mw green laser, which is a bit much for this application. (too much reflected light) I stuck a piece of duct tape over the hole in the center of the dish to keep it from shining through the hole. It works quite well. It is cut to fit the throat of the Titanium LNBF, which is all I use, but use in bigger throat application can be accomplished by wrapping a little nylon tape around the inner lip on the device. Cost me about 1 hour labor and $6 bucks for the laser.
 

Attachments

Greg Mueller

Munich Oktoberfest
Mar 3, 2006
850
85
Datil, NM
For a number of years, as a side business (hobby) I made a gadget called an Align-O-Tron. It was a device for technicians for aligning lamphouses on movie projectors. (back when they still used film in theaters.) I only sold a few hundred of them (one tech can do many theaters) but some of them wound up in some pretty prestigious theaters and users loved them. Maybe you can get some ideas from my old webpage.
Align-O-Tron
 
Status
Please reply by conversation.

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 1, Members: 0, Guests: 1)

Top