Automating Project Help

Okay…this is the very first time I have posted on these forums. I would like to thank all those in advance for being kind to a newbie asking for help and also for the help you can and will give me.

Here is my concept…

I am looking into making a machine prototype to see if it will work at all to help people automate production processes. This one in particular is going to be needing a frame structure that I plan on building from this stuff here:

and

So basically it will be sort of like a CNC machine but only using Y axis and three different Z axis.

With that said, I am going to need at least 6 stepper motors minimum maybe 7.

I am wanting to make an LCD screen with options to choose from for set up of the start and stop points of each motor for at least 4 of them. So my coding is going to need to be able to use the push buttons to store the set distances and repeat on the full cycle over and over again until a stop button is pressed. Once that stop button is pressed it all returns back to each of their start points.

I am going to use a rotary encoder for the ones attached to the sprocket design x2 so the user can set the positioning of that set up and then it stays the whole time in that set position.

All the others need to work in sync of one another in their due times…eg; MOTOR 1 moves DOWN…then stays in down position for it’s whole cycle…as MOTOR_1 is in the DOWN position MOTOR_2 moves to it’s set end point for the rest of the cycle…MOTOR_3 moves to it’s set end point…then MOTOR_4 moves to set point while MOTOR_2 moves back to original set point…then MOTOR_1 and MOTOR_3 move back to their set points…then it all starts back over again after MOTOR_4 moves to set point.

My question to the auto stuff is this…Can I use rotary encoders for the steppers that need to be set up or would I need to use something else for that purpose?

If I had an LCD screen with setup options for the motors and to cycle through the options I use regular push buttons, but when I go to the option of setting the start position and the end positions could I use the encoder and once I push down it will store that distance in the loop?

I hope this makes sense to you all?!? It is easier for me to see it and make it how I see it than explaining it. Would all this need multiple UNO boards talking to each other or would a specific board do for all? I guess I would need the H-bridge chips to hook my motors up separately or would one relay switch type board work for two or more? Would I need the Relays for higher voltage devices to be efficient with it all?

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You have not commented on your experience programming microcontrollers, or any programming of computers, and you want to begin with a huge project that is only designed in the overall picture. Unless you start with a small segment of your project and get it programmed and working, I see zero chance of you ever getting the big project completed.

Please begin with a small project, perhaps some of the Arduino examples.

Be careful of feature-creep once you get more into the real project.

Paul

Well thank you Paul for that not so helpful info. I guess you missed my beginning statement or I may have worded it a little wrong when I said I thank everyone for the help. As to the feature creep I have all the features planned out for this concept I have whittled down all the stuff that came to mind when I first came up with it. Please do not mistake the word newbie to mean a complete imbecile on a given matter. That friend can make for insults where they are not needed. Just saying. I never gave full detail into what I know, because to me that is a waste of your time and everyone else trying to read a novel to get to the main point. I am cliff noting this so I can get to the things I do not know. This is one of the reasons I get frustrated on forums. Someone asks a question and instead of someone that has a bit more knowledge answering it with a real complete answer they give this beat around the bush sort of mentality almost like they are trying to prove they have way more knowledge than they really have. Any forum that I am on that I know about in depth I actually sit and type out a very in depth answer to the other person's question. How about trying that for once then maybe...just maybe people can go on with what they are trying to actually accomplish in life. Not to mention Arduino is an open source or have you and others failed to remember that sort of thing?

But thank you Paul for your little bit of time I must have wasted for you.

You just lost whatever help you might have gotten from me with that reply to Paul's very necessary question.

We get a lot of people here with big ideas and zero to near-zero programmingf skills to match their zero to near-zero willingness to learn those skills.

What you NEED to write for this is non-blocking event-driven code, something pitched here regularly (there's a sticky thread.. Demonstration code for several things at the same time) with excellent tutorials on web sites (see the Nick Gammon links in my sig space and no, I am not Nick) if you don't already know how to approach cooperative multyitasking on Arduinos.

You will need to know how to write your own state machines. Are you up to it or even trying to learn how?

I never gave full detail into what I know, because to me that is a waste of your time and everyone else trying to read a novel to get to the main point.

Bull. The waste of time happens when the thread gets pages into it and you quit. You can or you can't and if you can there is still if you will or won't put forth the effort. Your "feels" won't make anything work and have already cost you previously willing help.

Karma to you Paul. Sorry you had to waste your little bit of time on this one. BTW, this post is mainly for Other People than the OP.

Did I ever once ask for the code? If you read I never said I need to know code. I asked about components…I am doing the research of what this forum topic asks for feasibility of my project. I am sorry if you feel I am rude, but when someone asks me a question I take the time to type out the answer to their question. Not answer their question with my own question. By doing that you not only waste your time, but also the time of the person asking the question. If you want people to learn then don’t make someone frustrated just asking for an answer to a question. It is a simple thing. I told you that I was wanting to use x, y, and z to control a, b, and c…could I perform those tasks if I did have the code a good non time wasting answer to anyone asking such things would be a yes you can (only if you can) and yes you need to use this type of component that you asked about or no this one would work best. Or no because no mater what code you use that component will not react to that kind of process. See how simple that is. Why do people feel they have to be more complicated than needs be? And when told and reminded that you are making things more complicated for that individual than needs be you take offense at it? Are we really in a coloring book safe place society anymore? I actually thought that was a real big joke to start with.

Question: CAN you?

Answer: YES provided that you can write the frikking code and NO if you can't get that far. Please note that I provide no guarantees on that single basis. There is one big unknown part that throws the whole project into question... you.

And once again you throw a tantrum instead of answering a critical question that can get you steered correctly.

"Are we really in a coloring book safe place society anymore?"

This is a tech forum not a nursery or a university "safe space" for special snowFLAKES. Get over yourself and you might become someone who can get tech help.

BluelimeGraFX: So basically it will be sort of like a CNC machine but only using Y axis and three different Z axis.

With that said, I am going to need at least 6 stepper motors minimum maybe 7.

Maybe start with an actual sketch of what the machine may "look like". 3 Z-axes makes no sense at all I am afraid. We live in a 3D universe with only 1 z-axis.

Do you mean 3 separate motors at three different points on a z-plane?

I.e. A picture paints a thousand words.

BluelimeGraFX: I am wanting to make an LCD screen with options to choose from for set up of the start and stop points of each motor for at least 4 of them. So my coding is going to need to be able to use the push buttons to store the set distances and repeat on the full cycle over and over again until a stop button is pressed. Once that stop button is pressed it all returns back to each of their start points.

Easily done.

BluelimeGraFX: I am going to use a rotary encoder for the ones attached to the sprocket design x2 so the user can set the positioning of that set up and then it stays the whole time in that set position.

All the others need to work in sync of one another in their due times.....eg; MOTOR 1 moves DOWN.....then stays in down position for it's whole cycle......as MOTOR_1 is in the DOWN position MOTOR_2 moves to it's set end point for the rest of the cycle.........MOTOR_3 moves to it's set end point....then MOTOR_4 moves to set point while MOTOR_2 moves back to original set point....then MOTOR_1 and MOTOR_3 move back to their set points.....then it all starts back over again after MOTOR_4 moves to set point.

Make a flow diagram. Makes everything easier to visualise when it comes to the coding part...especially when it starts to get a lot of "if this then that while...".

BluelimeGraFX: My question to the auto stuff is this....Can I use rotary encoders for the steppers that need to be set up or would I need to use something else for that purpose?

Yes. Rotary encoders would be fine for your purposes.

BluelimeGraFX: If I had an LCD screen with setup options for the motors and to cycle through the options I use regular push buttons, but when I go to the option of setting the start position and the end positions could I use the encoder and once I push down it will store that distance in the loop?

You may need to start learning how to code C. You can set and store variables in C just like in many other languages.

BluelimeGraFX: I guess I would need the H-bridge chips to hook my motors up separately or would one relay switch type board work for two or more? Would I need the Relays for higher voltage devices to be efficient with it all?

Stepper motor drivers, like the A4988 may make life a little easier over H-bridges.

PS: Assuming your name is Kirk, you do not hold any form of computing/mechanics degree from your bio. It is only fair to assume that a coding/STEM project of this scale may not be ideal for someone who has had little to no experience in STEM.

The question about your experience is quite essential.

People can respond to your posts/questions with relevant and accessible information. For someone with little to no computing knowledge...

"XOR the MSB and LSB on Timer1 Overflow, AND with the parity bit for a CHK. If CHK == 1, Output to triangular wave driver bits 4-6 inclusive of the inverse byte as a function of frequency" may be a little difficult for them to understand.