Motor controller

Hey Guys,

Thinking of working on a project and I'm wondering if its feasible and if the arduino would be the correct tool for the job.

I would like to control a motor that moves a plate along a distance of X meters. What i would like it 2 options.

Manual Control > Swivel Knob adjusting speed, forward/reverse. Soft stopping instead of jolting and smashing the end plate.

Automatic control > Making sure the plate is in the start position. Set a time you want for the plate to move the entire length of the rail. Hit start and away it goes. Eg Plate move across the 1m plane, in 60mins. It would then move 1.6cm, every Minute, until the end was reached.


Thanks in advance!

What you describe would be easily done with a stepper motor and any Arduino. Moving a plate like that is how many 3D printer Y axis (bed plate) operates. The AccelStepper library will take care of the stepper control with “soft start and stop”. The Arduino to pick would depend on what else that the machine needs to do.

That sounds like it might be a job for a stepper motor as they make it easy to move a precise distance. You could also use a simple DC motor with some form of encoder to count the revolutions but it would probably not be as precise.

Do you have a design for the mechanical arrangements for your moving plate? if so please post a diagram.

If not, then I think that is the part you need to figure out first. You need to know the forces involved to enable you to choose a suitable motor.

...R Stepper Motor Basics Simple Stepper Code

Sounds like a camera slider kind of setup, commonly a stepper and belt-drive are used (belt drive is quiet and smooth).

Any details? How heavy? horizontal movement only? Top speed desired? Top acceleration? Minimum step distance? Accuracy?

Yup thanks for all the information guys! Thought the Stepper motor would be the go. Doesn’t need to be hugely accurate, in saying that the more accurate the better.

Weight worst case scenario would be 3kg im guessing, needed to be moved along a level smooth plane. However, if its easy enough, more weight allowance would be awesome.

Also looking at perhaps setting up another stepper motor to spin the plate Xdegrees at the same time.

What Arduino, motor would you suggest for the above setups, both horizontal movement and turning around?


Please give values. If you don't know how long the slider is going to be, then say "between 0.5 and 2 metres" to give us some idea. X metres could be 100m, which would require a totally different solution.

The same for X degrees. A thing that can rotate more than 360 degrees will look very different to one that rotates less than 360 degrees.

This looks like a camera slider. What commercial products do you like, what do you not like about them which is pushing you towards this homebuilt solution? If you actually want a slider, instead of the experience in building a slider, then just buy one.

Hey! Thanks for your reply. Yes it is indeed a camera a Slider.

I really like the idea of the Rhino Ultimate slider bundle.

But at $2800AUD, can't afford to spend that much money. I also have access to CNC machines, plastic injection moulding machines and 3D printers. I have always been a built not bought type of person as well. That coupled with the fact that I have custom built everything else for my timelapse projects, including programming a Raspberry Pi to automate everything I'm keen to try it myself.

Slider would aim to be 750mm initially for the first model and have the ability to spin 180 degrees.

Well, flip one of the 3D printers over and look at how it works on the bottom. Order those same motors and toothed belts from an industrial supply house. Find a stepper controller that works (Pololu make some great ones) and go to town with the AccelStepper.h library.

The only downside to steppers is they chew a lot of power. A few hours timelapse will easily flatten a car battery. So long as you use whole steps and there isn't a lot of weight on the camera, you can shut down the stepper controller via it's EN line, to turn off power between steps.

This is what I bought to control my CNC mini router. You get a clone Uno, GRBL shield, 4 ea. A4988 motor drivers and accessories. Install GRBL firmware on the Uno and you can use G code to run the slider (requires a G code sender) or put your own program on the Uno.

The DRV8825 drivers can directly replace the A4988 for more current capability and 1/16 microstep.