Degree Name

BS in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering Department


Peter Schuster


Raytheon is a defense contracting company with an electronic warfare division that is developing a radio frequency signal triangulation system. Part of the focus in improving this technology is the need for accurate and real time locational knowledge of the signal receivers, which are located at the tips of aircraft wings. Due to turbulence during flight, the fluttering motion of the wings alter the distance and angle relationships of the two receivers and add noise to the received signal data, which negatively affect the triangulation estimates. To mitigate this error caused by the wing flutter, Raytheon is developing a software algorithm that predicts the precise locations of the signal receivers in space to attempt to clean up the incoming signal data.

As part of the development process at Raytheon, there is a need for a device that can move a signal antenna in random, flutter-like motion so rapid testing and refinement of the algorithm can be done. Thus Raytheon has made this project available for us to complete.

This project was completed over the course of one year, which was divided into three distinct phases of development. The first phase of the design process was research and design ideation. In this step, the project specifications that the completed device would have to meet was defined. Research into existing systems and available technologies was done to gain knowledge of the wide range of possible solutions that could be explored. During the second phase of the design process, various actuation methods and their feasibility for use in this project were analyzed, while iterative refinement of the device was also underway in parallel. The last phase involved building and testing the final design of the project.

The final product that was born out of this process is a two axis, large amplitude, low frequency shake device. The vertical axis is belt-driven with a servo drive and meets the required maximum motion of 11 inch stroke at 1.6 Hz. The horizontal axis is rack and pinion driven with a DC motor that is controlled by an Arduino board in closed loop control that met the maximum motion requirement of 1.1 inch stroke at 3.2 Hz. Both of the drive systems were capable of generating a pseudorandom motion that resembles the flutter of wingtips.