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Everything Else » XY table

May 20, 2010
by Ralphxyz
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I have always wanted a XY table for machining plastics and maybe aluminium.

Now that I am learning microprocessor programming I am thinking it would be fun to make a motorized XY table using the NerdKit to control it, possible using a joy stick or even a machining program running on a PC.

I haven't the slightest idea where to start. I have a reasonable concept for the physical table make up but how would I motorize it? Where would I even start when thinking about motors? Would I use 2 (maybe even 4) stepper motors? How would you size the motor? It would have to be big/strong enough to move the table and to to engage/push the cutter.

Once I have the motor(s) figured out then I can start asking about programing a motor contorler.

Ralph

May 21, 2010
by Rick_S
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You don't need a microcontroller at all to do that. All you need are some decent stepper motors, a stepper motor driver circuit, and a real parallel port in the PC you want to use. The PC will do all the work. Programs like Mach III (Windows) or EMC2 (Linux) will do the job PC side.

There are several tutorials on the web as well as many YouTube videos.

This is a project I've been contemplating for a long time, just haven't gotten around to it. (I'm a Journeyman Machinist and CNC programmer by trade).

Rick

May 21, 2010
by Ralphxyz
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Thanks for the reply, I was thinking of using the NerdKit with a joystick at least initially.

How would one determine what stepper motor to use?

Ralph

May 21, 2010
by Rick_S
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It really depends on the mechanical connection of the stepper to the table, the type of screw assembly, etc. I've seen people use 1/4" threaded rod coupled to a small (old 5-1/4" floppy type) stepper on the low end, up to much larger steppers connected to ball screw assemblies and linear bearing ways on the high end.

If you want to control a small stepper such as those that are about 1-1/4" square, you can easily control them with a microcontroller and a driver IC such as a ULN2803.

Once you have your stepper, you need to determine it's type and wiring which isn't too hard to do with a meter Lots of references to this on the web. For BiPolar steppers, a driver like a LM298 come in handy then all you have to do is send a direction signal and pulses for the steps.

Hope that helps a bit,

Rick

May 21, 2010
by Ralphxyz
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Great, thanks.

Now if only I could find some time...

Ralph

May 17, 2011
by Snoogie2563
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Did you ever pursue this Ralph? I am researching various electromechanical MCU apps as well

May 17, 2011
by Ralphxyz
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Hi Snoogie2563, no but it is still fairly close in the back of my mind. I probable think about it at least once a week and I'll occasionally do a Google search just to learn more.

I really would like to have a XY table of course besides the physical pieces I need to learn how to control stepper motors.

Learning how to control stepper motors with the Nerdkit would be neat in itself.

Ralph

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