After playing with the small RC servo motors I wanted more power, continuous 360° rotation and still "know"
where the shaft is for positioning. Enter the Stepper Motor ...
The Usual Learning Curve
V Click thumbnails for full size V
I ran my first tiny stepper motor straight from the parallel port of a PC. (don't do this)
Learned about coil sequences.
I discovered I needed a motor "driver", so built a home-brew version powered by a
Learned about full stepping and half stepping.
I learned about the Arduino board and "off-the-shelf" stepper motor driver boards.
Learned about current limiting and microstepping.
I wrote firmware for the Arduino board that could run eight motors simultaneously, with independent speeds and velocity ramping.
Click here for more info.
I wrote a C#/WinForms app to send serial commands to the Arduino firmware. This was my second "Motion Control" app.
I built a 3-motor control box using the Arduino MEGA 2560 board and switching power supply. The reason for this box was for a
friend to work on the wrist and gripper while I worked on the base, shoulder and elbow.
For my full motor control box I found a large metal house alarm cabinet on Ebay and made a wall-mount box using the Arduino board.
I could send serial commands to the Arduino by wireless bluetooth. This is the box that will drive all six motors of a full arm
plus a gripper. *** The box is not complete in these photos ***
So after mastering stepper motors and having a decent motor control box, I was ready to get back to arm building.
And the "big picture" so far is this: