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CAN-Bus stepper motor controller

Stepper motors are widely spread pieces of engineering, applied in particular where accurate control over the positioning can be achieved in an open-loop (such as 3D printers or CNC, where ). Due to mechanical disturbances, the motor can miss some steps and since no feedback is provided by the motor, the system would irreversibly diverge from the desired behavior. 

We have developed a closed-loop stepper motor to make sure, thanks to an economic magnetic encoder, that no steps are missed. This can enable more reliable 3d printing and CNC machining or if the desired position cannot be recovered, the system stops and no further filament is wasted nor the CNC machine risks mechanical damages due to the unawareness of the mispositioning.  

Moreover, we want to produce easy-to-use motors, targeting students with very little knowledge in electronics, but with interest in robotics and programming. We believe programming will be a skill that every student will know in a few years and we want to make robotics accessible to everyone, giving them all the hardware needed for prototyping. The only limit must be creativity, not Arduino bugs or wiring issues!

 

Thus, we are developing  a really simple python interface to drive the motors through CAN bus. Now we are developing an even easier web app to control the motor with a GUI.  We like to friendly call ourselves Tinder Robotics, because we want to ignite automation!

This project started with the robotic arm (see here!) but it is now an independent project, and William, a great firmware developer from Brazil, just joined my friend Daniel and I to help us making our ideas come true!

In principle there was Arduino controlling the stepper drivers...
... then an Arduino started controlling other Arduinos over CAN bus, and each board started to take shape!
We produced the first real standalone stepper motor controller board in 2020 and we manage to drive our robotic arm!
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And 2021 was the year for the final version (up to now), which looks dope, mounts the magnetic encoder for the feedback loop and fits behind a motor. Yes, all that clunky electronics now fits behind a NEMA 17!
New updates will come soon, since we aim at commercializing this product as soon as the global shortage will cease!
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