My problem is that I need to control the position of 12 inkjet heads of an industrial printer. Each one needs to be in a precise and steady-fix position during printing. The are mounted on straight rails every one parallel to each other and they only need to be moved when the format of the printing changes. So, speed is not an issue. It's a calibration operation. Right now they are set manually and that is a time consuming task that most of the times needs lots of re-adjustments. My idea is to connect each head to a screw-nut assy like in a CNC machine, and control position of all of them using stepper motors. Also I'm installing a vision OCR system to check robustness of the variable data printed, so it would be great to use the vision data to calibrate real time the paper feeder guide vanes in cases where the paper starts drfiting away, of course using a 13th or 14th motor... Now: -Speed is not an issue, as long as they don't spin that slow, -All moving at the same time, well, that would be fancy, but no, is not an issue, -High torque? not at all, they are pretty light weight, -Precision?, 3mm screw thread would make 0.01mm using 300 pulses per revolution. -Closed loop, encoders? I don't know if stepper motors return info about tracking error, but would be really desirable, -Control, I need to embed the control in a VB code. -Positions, I need to save many different recipes. -Availabiity of hardware is a little issue, I live in Argentina and I might think the stocks are not as big as they are in USA or Europe. But here is an ebay-alike web site, very popular that sells Arduino components, among other electronic stores. Just fyi: http://listado.mercadolibre.com.ar/arduino
OK, I never used Arduino, so I decided to search the web about the basics but it's so vast that I'm kinda lost. I read a couple of threads here and they are all about particular errors that don't help me much, despite they suddenly end with no happy ending..hahaha. I also read about RUMBA that could control 6 motors, and also about STMicro L6740 that can perform memorized instructions as well as read current and stop in case of blockage... So, here is my question: Where to begin? What would be the whole kit to do the job? Can it be done by means of RAMPS? Many thanks in advance!