Need help with Project. New to Arduino.

Hey Everyone.

I am a newbie to the Arduino world and I am looking for some assistance on a small project I would like to try out. I would imagine it would involve Proximity sensors, some servo motors, and a stepper motor. Maybe a small GUI for the customer to put in some basic info.

If someone would like to give me a shout out anytime and we can go over what I hope to be able to do. Also if you would like to teach and instruct me on the way that would be great!!!

Thanks Everyone,


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I think you have a lot to do. Buy a few sensors and motors and try to use them one by one. You will learn a lot by doing that.

I'm happy to help here, publicly :slight_smile:

I don't give e-mail support...

What is it you want to do?

My bad. Sorry Everyone.

I will do my best and explain what I want to do....

I work at a wood shop where we make Balsa and Bass sheet and stick wood. Also we Laser cut model plane kits and stuff for distributors. We are a small company in Ontario Canada.

We have a large bandsaw that we put our glued blocks on and it slices them to thickness for us to make sheet goods. IE. 1/4", 1/32", 1/6" etc. We rough cut it about .040" over size before we take it over to the sander.

This machine has a old PLC setup on it where it uses proximity sensors on a rail system and it moves the larger block in increments and passes it through the bandsaw on a belt drive gear driven motor.

I was told we can't get parts for it anymore so I was hoping to build something smaller and still keep the motors and stepper.

What I figured was still use the proximity sensors and when the carrige passes over it pulls the block back returns to the start of the block moves in the certain size selected and cuts again... it does this repeatedly until it gets to the end of the block and then senses again to return home and either stop or continue the cycle.

I was hoping I could input say cut .290" thickness and it would tell the stepper how many pulses would = this dimension...

Did I make sense? Hope so :slight_smile: I could take a short video if you needed to to see it in action..

Let me know what you all think.

Thanks again for all the future help!!!


First off, yeah, you do make sense, but I cant visualize it yet. It sounds like a worthwhile Arduino project though.

I don't really know what a PLC is. Some kind of control unit? How do you talk to it? What kind of electrical interfaces do you have?

What kind of sensor is the unit using now? Unless there is lots of direct light in you workshop, these sensors are fairly easy to work with:

For controlling motors I suggest starting with this shield:

(I think it is designed for smaller motors than you are using, but once you are comfortable with the Adafruit shield, you are probably ready to build your own.)

For the GUI I would suggest you use a laptop and control it with a serial interface. If you are a novice at programming, you might want to check out Processing. Its quite easy to throw things together, even with minimal programming experience:

The more detailed your questions get, the more detailed people can answer :slight_smile:

Good luck

Can you dust off those proximity sensors and tell us the brand and type ?
How did the PLC control the motors ? What kind of motors are they ?
To control an old heavy electric motors will be the hardest part.

Programming the PLC or programming the Arduino will be about the same.
To have the Arduino do everything the PLC did, will be harder. Perhaps a mini computer will be better. But to interface the sensors with the computer an Arduino will be a good choice anyway (to go in between the sensors and the computer). So start with an Arduino and see how far you get.

Ok.. So here is a link to the Video I made quickly of the saw in motion. You can see the proximity sensors. They close when metal is within .020" of it. They run on 10-30vdc, 200mA Part number is NBN4-12GM50-E2.

I just saved it as a Windows Media File.

Let me know what you guys think....



downloading your vid. will check it out later (internet is being stupid slow.)
you might consider changing the title of your thread to something more useful (everyone here needs help with a project. most people are new to arduino :-D)

(you can do that by clicking on the modify button underneath your initial post.)

I checked out your video and the sensor. I've never seen this type of sensors before so it was good read. I am a bit unsure how the sensor connects to the PLC although I now understand what it does.

The switch is normally open and closes when it gets to the right spot to reverse the carriage. When it closes, it powers a load, although I don't know what load it is though, could be something that couples to a digital pin on the PLC, FYI, PLC is programmable logic control. You can start a war if you talk about PLC on a microcontroller forum, us excluded.

A proximity sensor is a sensor able to detect the presence of nearby objects without any physical contact.

A proximity sensor often emits an electromagnetic field or a beam of electromagnetic radiation (infrared, for instance), and looks for changes in the field or return signal. The object being sensed is often referred to as the proximity sensor's target. Different proximity sensor targets demand different sensors. For example, a capacitive photoelectric sensor might be suitable for a plastic target; an inductive proximity sensor always requires a metal target.

I was hoping to use a stepper driver/ controller board like the ones used in a CNC desktop mill to control the one stepper for the thickness of cuts and maybe a driver or relay type of config for the drive motor. That way I am using pin in and outs on the arduino at low voltages and current. Yes? No?

Yes, you can use arduino for the low voltage and current yet you should still use arduino to drive a transistor that engages the relays. What I don't know about the sensor is what load it is driving. It is not a typical digital sensor that outputs a digital high, or low.