Control

Control

This is probably the most vague area of the project at present as I’ve no clue about electronics whatsoever!  The diorama is designed for photography primarily but I like the idea of motorising the traverser.  After reading a few posts on the use of Arduino’s for turntables it seemed like a good place to start.   The traverser was manually powered, just about able to fit a 4-6-0 with some overhang.

Being such a small contraption it was going to be difficult to model it without some visible mechanism to move it.  Some members of my local Hackerspace in Brighton had the bright idea of using powerful magnets and a stepper motor connected to a lead screw, allowing for an unattached traverser and as near the prototype as possible.  The design uses a stepper motor controlled lead screw with delrin nut and two linear bearings on rails for stability.  A platform is fitted to the delrin nut and bearings with 6 rare earth magnets sandwiched inside.  This is designed to move underneath the traverser bed, the traverser unit having corresponding magnets within the unit.

Initial tests show that the magnets are powerful enough to move the unit quite smoothly along the rails, the next step is to automate that using the Arduino and a motor shield.  The test unit I’ve made includes power to the 4 rails in order for a locomotive to move onto and off the traverser.  Extra work is needed on how to chose which bay to move the traverser to, how to power the selected bay road and how to isolate the other bays.