This page last updated: December 21, 2012 as of August 2016
Coal Ship Loader Building instructions
- As of 2016 September the code is posted to SourceForge.
Coal Ship Loader
Coal in train cars from mine floodloader
is transported up and delivered to be rotary dumped into conveyor into ship loader into ship. Ship sails to distant port. Then the ships conveyor unloads at dock into conveyor-flood loader that loads train cars for delivery to steel mill rotary dumper and from there the coal is funneled down into the mine floodloader
- Coal Ship Loader
- Rotary dumper unloads train cars coal into a conveyor that loads into the top of the ship loader [maybe someday when the antigravity device is installed]. The ship loader has an input at the top. From there the coal is partioned into sub-bins across the loader. The conveyor that loads the ship has as extension that moves along the ship. Each bin is emptied into the ships cargo bins.
- Coal ship has numerous hoppers to hold coal that is conveyored out at the port. Great Lakes Bulk Freighter
Waterline Plastic Model Kit (1/87 scale) 71" X 6" $389. Neato but not what ended up being used and done.
- Ship unloads using its built in conveyor system into flood loader into train cars.
- Coal Ship Loader
- "Conveyors" move the coal from the rotary dumper into the ship loader...
- Conveyors... 2 Tomy ERTL conveyors 1 from rotary dumper, second on up and into the ship loader
- 1510..1540 is stop, 1800..1900 is go forwards, Never go back. The servo is on the output dumping end , so is Visible and needs 'camoflage'.
- As of April 2015 they FAILED MISERABLY... the conveyors and auger DO NOT WORK for my use.
- If i ever make a ship loader that works - until then will probably just manually dump the coal into the bins... Unless a mechanism for moving coal against gravity is found. Possibly use a conveyor like on the ship that has brass bins... it would be a massive mechanical monster to move the coal from beneath the rotary dumpers up and above the ship loader so the coal could fall out and into the loader bins.
- Coal ship loader moves the coal into the ships hoppers... this part seems possible and is what is described below.
- Coal Ship loader... bashed printer mechanism or similar to move along the ship with loading conveyors to move the coal out and dump into the ship. Printer mechanisms would not be long enough to travel the length of the ship. So this is what is actually planned. There are many parts from printers and scanners and floppy drives sitting in boxes under the train table...
- Ship loader has devolved into most of what makes up the ship
Overview of the loading dock-before the bins have been built / Closeup of the Vex track and control panel
- Bins to hold the coal are similar to the ships bins in size yet made more like the flood loader with a chute that raises and lowers. A box on wheels is moved along the dock by a VEX track similar to the ships main conveyor - without the tire - attached to the box instead - it goes back and forth - not around and around. The track will have rails along the dock to keep the box aligned and have areas at the ends for the bottom half of the track to go beneath the dock. [Conveyors mounted on the box move the coal from the dockside bins into the ship bins. One conveyor moves the coal from the bins onto another conveyor beneath it. Sliding drawer brackets allow sliding the bottom conveyor across the ship bins while loading coal.] Simplified to just one sliding conveyor. Adjustable slanting chute on the bottom conveyor directs the coal as needed [changed to a chute that raises and lowers].
- Parts are listed on the ...ships conveyor page as they are very similar. Construction of the bins is directed there.
- Big bad brass bins, VEX track, servos stuff, GT2 belts, pulleys, inner tubes, wood, and ... all that stuff plus drawer slides and a slanting chute.
- 2 6x100" rolls of brass shim stock 0.010" thick (100/16 = 6 So use about one and a half and use the rest for ...
- 3 6x12x0.025 brass sheet (each 6x12 makes 3 gates)
- Bins will be made more like the flood loader rather than the ships bins - thus No ball links. 9 ball links (6 per package So 2 packs ?what happened to the ones that should be left over from the ship?) .. really only use the ball
- 9 servos for the gates ... and 9 more to raise/lower the gate keeper to direct the coal onto the conveyor.
- 2 VEX track kits,large motor and servo link; small motor and link and the gears and stuff from rotary dumper positioner - to move the conveyor on slide. UL>
- 2 GT2 timing belt 2mm pitch-6mm wide ... 1 1140mm long [and the other __ long-deleted]
- GT2 timing pulley 20 tooth 8mm bore, 8mm shaft, 8mm converter, and 8mm inner id bearings (Flanged for the ends and 'skate' bearings to maintain center and conveyor flatness when it goes around the bend) from EBay...
- 9V 1 Amp power for the Arduino and a 6V 2 Amp power for the servos and this was greatly increased ... see electronic stuff below
- 5 lbs of sheet lead stacked and wrapped in the front of the box to offset the conveyor out the rear.
- Use the wheels from the ERTL conveyors to move the 'box' - make rails to keep the wheels rolling along. Just a deviant use of something from them worthless things.
- Tried a 6" drawer slide and it did not actually extend 6", so tried a 9" and it only extends about 7"... it is built now so that is what is used. Sounds like a fisherman tale about fish size, I suppose that is where advertising people get their ideas ... lies lies lies.
- Mega Arduino and electronic stuff
- 4 unit 74HC595 pin expander that controls 32 LEDs using only 3 pins
- 3 Adafruit 16 channel servo drivers that control 16 servos each and daisy chain using only 2 pins no mtter how many boards, well limit is 64 or something.
- 2 5V 10 Amp, 1 5V 4 Amp power supplies for the servo boards; 1 5V 2 Amp, 1 9V 1 Amp power supplies for the Mega and shield
- Using 3 shields 48 servo capacity for 23 servos leaves a lot of space - but they are easy to hook up - this was done to allow moar powr to be sent to the servos... and they only use 2 pins for up to ?64x16? servos.
- Make side covers the full length of the conveyors - the inner tube outer edger is supported beneath by wood shims and the edge is covered by styrene.
- Use double sided foam sponge tape - servo tape to attach the tube to the GT2 belt so it does not develop that ridge where the tube is pulled down into the gear area.
- Figure out how to make the slides and servo arms on the bins work smoothly without binding. Maybe file the top edge so the coal is shoved up when the gate is closed rather than grinding the coal between it and the gate. Smooth the gate keepers so the servo arms move them easily. Use slightly bigger than standard size servos rather than nano size servos which will probably be what is really the solution. ... and it was not ... binding parts bind. Still working on smooth sailing.
Gear connection for conveyor : parts , glued
on servo, on dasher, ... remember to test and set the full rotation servo so its 'off' is at 1500 (adjust with a screwdriver into that hole they drilled in the servo) Before gluing it in place :)
Soldering on a prototype board to be attached to a Mega (before oopso changes) ... Mega and the Shifty board to drive the LEDs (after some of the oopso changes, later there was added a row of servo connections along the bottom where that black wire loops around for the coal bin up/down chutes)
Vex motor in the pit with the latest Mega board alongside, the added connections are barely visible behind the blue id tag.
Inside backside of the Control board - ancient Tupperware container [front is visible elsewhere] / Front of the box, coal chute, and the 5 lbs of lead.
- Due to the ship and loader being bashed together with no planning - there is a dam wall to keep the water from drowning the dock... and the rest of the world. Same situation will be at the ship unloading into the flood loader. [Removed the dam wall on the ship loader as it is sitting above the 'water' level and will pretend it is a 'dock' that moves up and down with the ship as it sinks into the water as it is loaded (yeah really removed it so the chute that moves up and down from the conveyor can be there) (The dam is in the top photos and gone in the bottom photos that have the brass chute)] Do not really know if it would be possible to build the ship and loader to a scale that would have the loader ..O No, the real world would have the coal flowing down chutes and stuff and at unloading site the real conveyor could lift the coal up at about 45 degrees. O Well. and so it goes.
- Dock made and painted cement gray ... the conveyor will stick out the back over a foot when in the retracted position.
- Track mounted conveyor mover has quite an umbilical cord of wires trailing along behind it. They will be mostly hidden by the coal bins.
- There will be an open area under all the bins for the conveyor to move in and around... the support will be at the ends only .. i foresee angle iron bolt holddowns:)
- The ship weighs 60 lbs and each part of the dock weighs 40, so bolted together the loading dock weighs just over 80 lbs.
Bin parts, assembled
- Coal bins being made as of 2016 July
- First version will have coal dumped into the loading bins by the giant hand (until a working conveyor is invented). The ships hold covers will be removed by that device also (until Nano bots develop a working one).
Bins with servos, Bins sidewall covers
Bins chutes servos, along the top
- Bins made similar to ships - with a tall surround that holds more coal... are removable to be adjusted and 'fixed'. Making them hold the same amount of coal as the ship would make loading much simpler as it would just be dump it all from each, rather than having to pay attention to the levels. So when loaded they will be measured per bin.
- September 2016... final assembly
- Control code
- A row of LEDs and 2 rows of buttons (Open/Close) to control the bin gates.
- A row of LEDs and buttons to move the 'box' to positions.
- Buttons and their LEDs to control the conveyor (On/Off), direct the slanting chute (3 positions)(as of 2016July27 - changed the slanting swivel to a coal chute that moves up/down), and the sliding conveyor (4 positions).
- Looks like another Mega Arduino... even then, having LEDs made for having to make a 4 unit 74HC595 pin expander that controls 32 LEDs using only 3 pins, (as of 2016July - only 1 Mega pin unused)... thank the internet for physical build examples and a library so it is actually even simpler than turning on LEDs... once it is built and debugged. (as of 2016July27 - used that last pin to run the robodroid at startup until anything needs to be done - and that got frustrating to start anything so I moved the code to spin its head when the conveyor is moved from place to place)
- as of 2016 August have had major problems getting the 18 servos to work. [First test and they slammed to full extent and blew the chutes off - really. They draw a LOT of power on startup - before the code gets hold of them and that makes the servos go wild, and then they continually flutter and do strasnge things due to not enough power to keep them under control] After two weeks of failure I ordered a couple Adafruit 16 channel servo drivers, so hopefully they and their individual power supplies can get the servos working. The servos work individually using a HPP-21 and 4.8V battery, so dunno what the actual problem is. The 2 Vex servos and the other two (3 now) servos work fine, Nothing works more than 1 servo at a time except the conveyor chute or slider while the conveyor is running.
- Driving 18 servos using only 2 pins frees up a lot of them. - so 16 free pins now. Internet seaching discovered that Uno Analog pins 6 and 7 are analog read only- no digital I/O or write anything. Not really sure if that is true on a Mega or not.
- The Adafruit board seems to interfere with servo code, So i ordered another one to drive the rest of the servos. Had major problems getting them to work, Adafruit tried to help, however it seems the problems was my wiring or somethin so they really cannot help with stupidity:) Even with enough power the servos slammed to full open on startup using the Arduino servo code, the Adafruit board controls them - the servo moving on startup is a common and terrible problem that is solved using the Lady Ada boards!
If you decide to use these great boards make sure you also order that green connection to a power supply that is in one of the tutorial images so you can have big solidly connected wires connecting the power to the board. Many more pins freed up from the totally used Mega. What to do with all those pins now??? hmm.
- If the brass buckets on the conveyor were deeper they might allow the coal to fall out at the top rather than sticking around until nearly halfway back down - thus causing the major problems...
Copyright © 1991..2016 by Ivan Lee Herring