Tag Archives: Stepper motor

3D printing an Arduino-controlled stepper motor

As a way to help teach others how stepper motors work, this Maker designed one of his own. 

Normal DC motors are fairly easy to use. Connect the propper voltage across the positive and negative leads, and one of these motors should spin. Stepper motors, however, are somewhat more complicated, both in how they are controlled and how they are constructed.


Maker “Proto G” decided to not just learn how to control one of these mechanisms, but actually built one from scratch. To achieve this, he 3D printed a stator (body of the motor) as well as a rotor that he could attach six permanent magnets to. These magnets were then sequnetially pulled by eight electromagnets on the outside, each made out of a nail wrapped with 25 feet of wire. You can see his hand drill wrapping process at around the 1:30 market in the video below.


Control is handled by an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), along with some other electronic components, nicely enclosed in a project box. The motor is turned by energizing the electromagnets in a counterclockwise direction to spin the rotor clockwise, and clockwise to spin in the opposite direction. It is capable of 15-degree full steps, as well as 7.5-degree half steps, accomplished by energizing two pairs of coils at the same time.

As linked toward the end of that video, Proto G has made a version 1.1 version of his motor with a NeoPixel LED ring to show which coils are activated. The results are visually quite interesting, though the video also notes that he’s working on a second version!

Interested? You can check out the entire project on its Instructables page here.

Laser cutting and engraving with Mr. Beam

Mr. Beam – which recently made its Kickstarter debut – is an open source DIY laser cutter and engraver kit for paper, wood and plastic.


“Mr. Beam is able to process materials of variable thickness. Height adjustable legs allow an easy setup for thin paper as well as for a large piece of wood,” a Mr. Beam rep explained.

“[The platform] cuts lighter materials like paper and foil in one pass and thicker materials [such as] leather and cardboard in multiple passes. As with all laser cutters, the ability to cut materials properly is determined by their thickness. Most of the mentioned materials can be engraved in a single pass, others like wood might require several passes.”

Key hardware components include an Atmel-based Arduino Uno (ATmega328 MCU), custom shield and a Raspberry Pi.

So, how does Mr. Beam work? 

Well, the Raspberry Pi (running Raspbian) operates the web interface responsible for generating g-code from the user-supplied input files (the motif). Meanwhile, the Uno runs the grbl software tasked with taking g-code and converting it into stepper motor actions (effectively controlling laser diode intensity). Last, but certainly not least, the custom Beam shield is equipped with various electronic modules and components that handle the input from Arduino/grbl – powering the steppers as well as the laser and regulating the hardware buttons.

On the software side, Mr. Beam’s user interface can be used to select motifs and kick off the cutting process. Future additions are slated to include the ability to easily position, rotate and scale various patterns.

Interested in learning more? You can check out Mr. Beam’s official Kickstarter page here.

Video: This painting machine senses your touch

Kris Temmerman, a freelance creative developer based in Belgium, recently published a blog post detailing the design of a slick painting machine running on an Arduino Due and Android tablet.

“I was always interested [in] removing the perfection from computer graphics. So [I] thought it would be fun to try to make the most obvious thing first – a machine that uses a paint brush to print a drawing,” he explained.

“I had a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 laying around from a previous project, so I used that one. The nice thing about that tablet? It comes with a pen with pressure sensitive input, so I could translate the pen pressure to the brush height/size on my machine for more interesting brush strokes.”

Temmerman said he only used “basic tools” to build the painting machine, including
a drill, jigsaw, grinder machine and a couple of wrenches. In terms of equipment, the creative developer obtained a number of stepper motor drivers, stepper motors and a servo motor.

Additional information about the Arduino Painting Machine can be found here on Neuro Productions.