ACUTRONIC USA's Engineers Mentor Point Park University Students

September 23, 2014

ACUTRONIC’s engineers teamed with a group of senior-level mechanical engineering students from Point Park University with the goal of prototyping a gimbal using cylindrical carbon composite tubing.  ACUTRONIC is a supplier of multi-axis motion simulators used in laboratory testing of inertial instruments and in the simulation of missile-to-target engagement scenarios.  ACUTRONIC’s multi-axis motion simulators, or flight tables, are intended to simulate missile-to-target engagement scenarios.  ACUTRONIC typically constructs flight tables with aluminum gimbals powered by hydraulic actuators. To significantly improve the fidelity of the motion simulation of a multi-axis system, ACUTRONIC has proposed a concept for a gimbal system composed of light-weight composite materials.  The goal of this collaboration was to guide Point Park University students in designing and prototyping a demonstrable proof of concept composite gimbal for use in a flight table.   

The student engineering project team from Point Park University, mentored by senior-level engineers at ACUTRONIC, performed the following activities:

  1. Completed the detailed design of the gimbal with consideration given to the gimbal tube construction and the shaft to gimbal structure interface.  The detail design included assembly drawings, manufacturing drawings, parts lists and details. 
  2. Completed a detailed cost estimate of the gimbal.
  3. Calculated the overall weight of the gimbal and the rotating inertia along the main, longitudinal axis. 
  4. Performed a finite element analysis of the gimbal and predicted the lowest torsional resonant frequency. 
  5. Produced a ¼ scale model of the gimbal, shafts and base using 3-D printing.  The student engineering project team submitted a cost estimate for creating the scale model to ACUTRONIC prior to placing an order for the model.

ACUTRONIC funded the manufacturing of the ¼ scale model, which the students used as part of their final project presentation to Point Park professors and students. Thanks to the relationship between Point Park University and ACUTRONIC, the proof of concept of the composite gimbal was a success.