Action Tremors and solutions there to

Michael Tauson wh7hg.hi at GMAIL.COM
Mon Mar 29 09:42:50 EDT 2010

My hands shake, sometimes fairly wildly, when I'm trying to do things
that require them to stay steady.  Thyis is frustrating since even the
most simple soldering job is rendered difficult with the wide open
spaces in boatanchors to impossible with SMDs.  It's called Action
Tremors and there are several causes with a limited number of
treatments including using meds to counter side effects of existing
meds.  In a rather ironic twist, one of the counteracting meds is one
I already take for another irritation but the dosage is too light.

Not being able to solder is simply not acceptable.  How can I convert
an NOS T-15/ARC-5 into a SSB exciter or install crystal filters and a
product detector in an S-38 if I can't solder?  Sooo, I'm calling on
my edjamakashun (I'd have at least a bachelor's in EE & ME - split
major - with some graduate work in place if academic politics hadn't
screwed me and a few others.) and interest in robotics & process
control to Save the Day.  Or something.

So, anyway, I've been designing motor drives for the lathe accessories
that require a steady hand but soldering presented a special and
interesting case.  To handle that, I've been sketching a resistance
soldering head on a positioner driven by stepper and servo motors and,
in a few cases, solenoids.  There are two different designs for the
positioners, an X-Y-limited Z device and something along the lines of
a robotic arm.  In both cases, the head itself has several degrees of
freedom of rotation for the final positioning so it can get into about
any situation without running into components on the equipment.  While
I was originally thinking of combining the two ideas, I now believe
the arm approach is the better choice since it can better emulate how
I would approach a solder connection but with greater flexibility.

Resistance soldering allows me to concentrate more heat into a smaller
space with a minimum of effort.  Using a variety of different head
designs, it should be able to handle about any reasonable soldering
situation (ie, soldering together lengths of copper tubing is
definitely out.) plus possibly resistance welding (including capacitor
discharge welding) and SMD positioning.

The control electronics will be the familiar bipolar TTL (74LS mostly)
with some 74HCT included, for those who are familiar with the
different families.  Computer control including PICs et al isn't
planned; it will be all manual with a fairly basic control panel to
handle the motors.  (A VR glove won't work for what should be obvious

Aside from a radio telescope antenna positioner that used a couple of
national SC/MPs (my all time favorite microprocessor), all my
robotics/process control machines to date (including the microbots)
have been more toys and experiments than anything else.  After almost
40 years, this is the first one that will do real practical work and
I'm kind of excited by it.  There are a few problems remaining, motor
weight and balancing the whole thing properly among them, but I
haven't had this much fun since .... er, okay, I won't go there.

The things I won't do to continue melting solder.  :-)

Best regards,

Michael, WH7HG
Hiki Nô!

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