I am an Electrical engineer with enough mechanical engineering background to get me in trouble but not get very good answers so I thought I'd post my current problem here and see if anyone else could help me a bit.
The Problem: The lighting director at the college I work for has requested a custom design for his stage setups. He wants to build large panels out of wood in various sizes and shapes. Something like a large rectangle or a triangle. Then they will paint them different colors and shine lights on them to get different affects. Here comes my problem. He wants them to rotate by command from the light board. the elctronics side I can do. I actually just found a module that will take a pot feedback and a 36 vdc motor with 5a max output and make a giant DMX (the light board protocol) input and that will change the position of the panel to the desired angle.
So electronics are done but I need to size and build to motor and gear box to move this large panel. He estimates a max of 250 lb for the panel. His example was a 15 foot by like 5 or 6 foot rectangle with a wood frame and luan (thin plywood) skin.
It doesn't need to rotate very fast. It will need to get into position rather quickly and then stop but nothing to fast. A 180 degree rotation in a few seconds would be sufficient. My preliminary design was just a shaft with 2 bearings to support the weight and a gear on on end and a flange to attach the panel on the other. Then a simple chain drive to a DC motor.
They only want preliminary designs and cost estimates right now but I need to figure out how to size the motor and well its giving me a headache so I'm posting it here to see if someone with more experience can help me. Also any better ideas for moving this panel are welcome