The X-Cam Team

Overview Webcams Software Results
Overview PERT Optical Math
Olin-NASA Research Olin College NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Constellation-X

ISPS Project: Overview

The goal for this project was to make the process of aligning mirrors for x-ray focusing easier, either through a robotic assembly line or by simply building a comb-like template into which the foils can be placed and fixed into position. The team decided to focus of the latter, believing if they could improve the machining of the mirrors to a higher tolerance, they could then build an alignment frame/template in which to place and fix the mirrors.

In pursuing this goal, several factors had to be taken into account, the most important of which was the tolerance of the positioning. This factor would determine what methods of alignment and machining were feasible. A lower position tolerance would mean lower tolerances in the machining of both the mirrors and the template. The mirrors are currently machined by taking a section of a very large circle with a delta (the difference between the outer and inner radii) of 5 cm. The section would be cut out based on some precalculated angle and then folded around to form a cone. For the next few weeks the team focused on calculating the radius and angles need to create different sizes grazing angles (<1 degree) for each cone in the mirror assembly. The mathematical relationships between the angles, radii, delta, focal length, and spot size are discussed in the section entitled "Optical Math." From those results the team was able to come up with optimized results for each value and then CAD appropriate models for what would become the mirror cones.


Throughout this time, machining methods, such as laser cutting and CNC milling, were investigated. The team made templates in Solidworks for the mirrors, and then proceeded to cut them out of Kapton using a laser cutter. Methods on how to take the cutouts, fold them together, and adhere the ends to make the cones were then investigated in order to assure that the cone shape would not be altered by natural stresses in the segment pulling the ends apart. After some of these issues were worked out, the team ended up dropping the project in order to focus on the X-ray imaging webcam project, which was felt to be more valuable and had more that could be achieved in the limited time left.