Precision Continuous High-Strength Azimuth Track for Large Telescopes
A novel track joint was developed for the azimuth track of the 50-m diameter Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT) now under construction in Mexico at an elevation of 4,600 m. The track, which is 430 mm wide by 230 mm deep, must be flat to within ± 0.3 mm, and the material hardness at least 290 Brinell. This design uses a partial penetration narrow gap groove weld on the top surface of the track and a splice plate welded to the underside of the track. Pre-camber of the joint compensates for weld shrinkage which is small because of the use of the narrow gap groove weld. The residual deviations from flatness are reduced to the required tolerance by adjusting anchor bolts using an optimization procedure. The feasibility of the design with respect to fabrication, strength, fatigue, and alignment was demonstrated by detailed finite element analyses, trial welding and alignment of full scale joints, and testing of the mechanical properties of the joint and adjacent metal.
SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation