single axis control of metal cutoff saw

I am looking at using an Arduino to control a single axis feeder for cutting off metal from a horizontal bandsaw.

It needs to go to drive a stepper motor turning a ballscrew. Would like an external display that lets me put in the distance to move each cut and then a delay and then another move, etc.

Is there something like this already available and if not how difficult is it and is there somewhere you can point me to see someone that's done something similar?

Is there a way to program things more graphically? I'm thinking something like my kid's Lego Mindstorm kit. But still use an external display so I don't have to have a computer hooked up to my saw.

Thanks folks.

I still have the questions above but how about this to start:

Control board would have a knob, etc. to adjust values that would read out on a display. When a trigger button is clicked the stepper moves exactly that amount. Another switch defines if the movement is positive or negative. Another switch goes to "continuous" mode so when the trigger switch is clicked it moves constantly until clicked again to stop movement. Limit switches at both ends stop movement automatically.

So the board has one digital display, one rotary control to adjust the distance, two switches, and one button. The machine has two limit switches.

The pulses/rev, travel speed, acceleration, etc. will all be controlled in the program, not at the control board. Though it would be nice to do it at the control board at a later date.

What's the easiest way to accomplish this and what exactly do I need? I already have a stepper motor that I would like to use that has 7 wires and is 1.8 deg, 4.2A/PH.

BTW, is this better off being put in the Gigs and Collaborations forum? I kind of wanted to ask here first in case what I'm after already exists.

In principle what you want can be done with an Arduino control system. After all it is just a quarter of a RepRap 3D printer. It also has similarities with CNC drive for a small lathe.

Are you thinking of developing the control system yourself or are you thinking of getting (paying?) someone else to do it?

If you are thinking of doing it yourself you will need to learn how to control a stepper motor and how to interface with an LCD screen and whatever controls you want to have. There should be plenty of information about these scattered over the Arduino website - use Google to find them, and if you can't find them or don't understand things ask specific questions here. Reprap and CNC may also be fertile areas for Googling, though it's easy to be overwhelmed by irrelevant stuff.

You will also need to have a suitable mechanical system that the stepper motor can drive. But that's beyond the scope of this forum.


I was really hoping to find something off the shelf, or close to it, that already exists. I can't imagine that I'm the only one that needs something like this.

But barring that I'm willing to have someone build me something if that makes sense. I would love to jump into it myself but just don't have a lot of time right now.

So I suppose I should probably move this to the gigs forum? Anyplace else to get a quote on this from hobbyists? This isn't a commercial product and I don't want to pay what most businesses charge for the development. But I would be happy to pay a hobbyist a reasonable amount to make this happen.