Making a X-Y plotter

Hi everyone,I am a mechanical engineering student and I need to make a XY plotter using old DVD drive stepper motors. The objective is to build a 3D MIG printer (like this) in my final year, so I still have 1.5 years to go. The XY plotter will be just a trial project, so that I can show my project guide. Now, I am not very good at electronics or programming, so I need a lot of help. I broke apart an old dot matrix printer, but that motor burnt the L293d IC :slightly_frowning_face: , also the L298n runs very hot with that. So, I decided to use dvd-drive motors with L293d IC. But now I have seen that GRBL cannot run a H-bridge driver! So, now I will be needing two 'sparkfun easydriver'.

My questions are: 1. Can I run two stepper motors with two L293d ICs with an Uno? (My Uno isn't an original Uno) 2. How do I install GRBL in arduino? I have tried compiling, it gives up a compiling error. I have also flashed a grbl_0.9 hex file, still it does not work.

Someone please help! :'(

P.S: RAMPS is out of my budget!

Do DVD players still have steppers?

Life will be a great deal easier if you use bipolar stepper motors and proper stepper motor driver boards that are suitable for the motors rather than using L293 drivers. The Thread stepper motor basics may be helpful.

I think you should be able to upload GRBL with the Arduino IDE. I haven't used it but I compiled it for an Uno in response to another Thread.

...R

AWOL: Do DVD players still have steppers?

DVD drives used in desktop computers have stepper motors for moving the laser assembly. I have seen some very old CD drives using only one DC motor to do everything! I don't know about very modern blue-ray drives though!

Robin2: Life will be a great deal easier if you use bipolar stepper motors and proper stepper motor driver boards that are suitable for the motors rather than using L293 drivers. The Thread stepper motor basics may be helpful.

I think you should be able to upload GRBL with the Arduino IDE. I haven't used it but I compiled it for an Uno in response to another Thread.

...R

Yes, I will use an easydriver board in future. But now, my main problem is running GRBL from arduino IDE. I have tried everything in the GRBL-wiki pages, it does not seem to work. Can you point me to a step-by-step instructions about installing GRBL? I hope GRBL will run without connecting the stepper drivers also?

I followed the official GRBL advice ... as follows (but needed to make one modification) ...

Download the zip file from this page

Follow the instructions on this page

EXCEPT ...

Don't bother extracting the contents of the Zip file. Open the Zip file in Archive Manager (or equivalent) and change the name of the top level folder in the zip file from grbl-master to grbl. Close Archive manager. At the import library stage select the modified zip file

AND

Note the advice to make sure the line with #include "system.h" is at the top of the file. In my file it was about 20 lines down so I just moved it to the top. DO NOT copy it - that will cause a problem.

After that the code compiled.

I have not tried uploading it as I have no use for it.

By the way I am using Arduino 1.5.6 and XUbuntu 14.04.

...R

Rajdeep_Banik: DVD drives used in desktop computers have stepper motors for moving the laser assembly. I have seen some very old CD drives using only one DC motor to do everything! I don't know about very modern blue-ray drives though!

Sorry, I just thought most just had voice coils these days.

DVD steppers will be mechanically inadequate for this task, NEMA14 or NEMA17 are probably the way to go.

Given the environment you'll have to think carefully about protecting the electronics from all the electrical interference, which is intense in a welder.

For GRBL make life easy and use the Arduino library version - http://blog.protoneer.co.nz/grbl-arduino-library/

Ok, I could not compile Grbl in arduino IDE, it stays blank even after adding the library, so I uploaded the hex file again. This time I found out why Grbl was not responding. In the arduino serial monitor I have to change the dropdown menu to "Newline", then it responds.

@MarkT: I will not be using DVD steppers for the welder setup. This is just a trial project, to show my professor and if he is happy, he will give me the funding for the main project.

@AWOL: What are voice coils? Never heard of these! These are used in loudspeakers, says wikipedia.

Ok, Grbl is uploaded, now what to do next?

What are voice coils? Never heard of these! These are used in loudspeakers, says wikipedia

The hard disk drive in your PC/laptop (assuming it isn't solid-state) almost certainly has its head assembly driven by a permanent magnet and voice coil. As does the DVD drive in my laptop. As does the focussing mechanism in the read/write head of the DVD drive.

AWOL: The hard disk drive in your PC/laptop (assuming it isn't solid-state) almost certainly has its head assembly driven by a permanent magnet and voice coil.

When you are making millions of something it is worth spending 100k+ on complex software in order to be able to use cheaper hardware.

...R

AWOL: The hard disk drive in your PC/laptop (assuming it isn't solid-state) almost certainly has its head assembly driven by a permanent magnet and voice coil. As does the DVD drive in my laptop. As does the focussing mechanism in the read/write head of the DVD drive.

I broke apart a hard disk few months ago, it looked like an electromagnet pushing/pulling a permanent magnet on the read head. ::) Anyways, I have found that I can send Gcode line-by-line through the arduino serial monitor, but thats not practical. How do I make the thing automatic? I tried using the "Universal Gcode Sender-v1.0.5" but it is not recognizing the arduino, it only shows that something is in my COM3 port.

Gcode sender works! :D Showing few errors about extrusion commands though, but I don't need those commands, so all is well! :grin: Another question, which one is better: A3967 drivers or the A4988 drivers?

The A4988 can supply more current.

…R

Robin2: The A4988 can supply more current.

Just that difference? And everything is same (code, input, output, etc)? I have seen very few tutorial-demos with A4988 drivers, everywhere they use the Easydriver. Also, I have two printer motors with carriage assembly. While running these with L298n makes the L298n very hot. It has 1.8 degree, 3.9 ohm written on it, and these look like Nema 17. These are bipolar motors and they fried a couple of L293d. Can these be run with the A4988? From 12V supply it gives more than 3A? :confused:

Rajdeep_Banik: Just that difference? And everything is same (code, input, output, etc)? I have seen very few tutorial-demos with A4988 drivers, everywhere they use the Easydriver. Also, I have two printer motors with carriage assembly. While running these with L298n makes the L298n very hot. It has 1.8 degree, 3.9 ohm written on it, and these look like Nema 17. These are bipolar motors and they fried a couple of L293d. Can these be run with the A4988? From 12V supply it gives more than 3A?

Slow down a little so I can keep up ...

Did you read my stepper motor basics Thread ? - so I don't have to repeat myself

A BigEasydriver uses the A4988 chip but it has different defaults to the Pololu A4988 driver board so you may need some small program changes. You will also need to check that you use the correct wiring connections. Don't assume different boards are identical.

The A4988's can only supply 1.5 to 2 amps. If you are using a motor that needs 3 amps you need a more powerful (and more expensive) driver.

...R

I broke apart a hard disk few months ago, it looked like an electromagnet pushing/pulling a permanent magnet on the read head.

Break apart a loudspeaker, you'll see pretty much the same thing ;)

Robin2: Did you read my stepper motor basics Thread ? - so I don't have to repeat myself

A BigEasydriver uses the A4988 chip but it has different defaults to the Pololu A4988 driver board so you may need some small program changes. You will also need to check that you use the correct wiring connections. Don't assume different boards are identical.

Yes I have read that post. I only want to know if I can use the Pololu A4988 instead of Easydriver. I am not interested in how it works, or any electronic stuffs inside (I don't understand them either :( ). BTW, I am thinking of buying this, so that in future I can reuse these with a bigger motor for my original project.

Another question, do I need to do any sort of programming or the Grbl flashed in my arduino with do it for me? It already accepts Gcodes, so can I just connect the driver-motor and start??? :confused:

Rajdeep_Banik: I only want to know if I can use the Pololu A4988 instead of Easydriver. I am not interested in how it works, or any electronic stuffs inside

Without knowing and understanding the specifications and how you use it you can't make that sort of decision. That does not require any knowledge of what goes on "inside". My Thread is as non-technical as I thought was reasonable.

BTW, I am thinking of buying this, so that in future I can reuse these with a bigger motor for my original project.

Make sure that you know the pinout connections for whatever boards you are using and that they match whatever you might be plugging them into.

You will still need to ensure that the "bigger" motor won't overload the A4988.

Another question, do I need to do any sort of programming or the Grbl flashed in my arduino with do it for me? It already accepts Gcodes, so can I just connect the driver-motor and start???

I don't know. Grbl accepts GCode but, presumably, there has to be some setup so that GRBL knows what it is controlling.

...R

I will be using the A4988 for the DVD stepper motors only, those bigger steppers, if they need 3Amps, they are useless to me, I will be buying some Nema 17 motors for future use. This whole project will be like in a breadboard-prototype thing, so there is no need for any pins matching criteria! The only difference I found out was that A4988 can do more microstepping than A3967, the pin layout is same(not the physical layout), I think. Are there any differences in the pin layout? Do you know anyone or any forum which have someone specializing in Grbl?

P.S: Sorry for so many questions, the thing is this electronics and programming territory is very much unknown to me, I did some basic C programming in my first year and I learnt to solder out of my own interest. I have already spent on buying the H-bridge drivers and ULN2003 because I saw some youtube videos of controlling stepper motors. Now these are useless to me and I have to buy some drivers again. So, I am making sure that these things work rather than smoke! Thank you for your patients Robin2 :)