XY Plotter 3 – Electronic Hardware

Previously, we discussed the development of a 3D model in Google SketchUp, and importing and characterising that model into Flowcode. In this blog post I will discuss all the electronic hardware used in the XY plotter, and the reasons for their choice.

The main elements of the plotter, are of course, the stepper motors. The stepper motors are used to move the x and y-axes in order to create an image from the plotter. In order to provide the necessary current to drive the two motors we used two EB022 Motor Boards. Each board will allow full control over a single stepper motor. The first of these boards is connected to PORTA and the second to PORTD.

The next E-block is the EB014 – Keypad connected to PORTB. This is used to provide manual movement of the x and y axes if required. The EB011 – Power Board is connected to PORTE, and provides the necessary voltage to power the solenoid. The solenoid is used to raise and lower the pen when required. The final E-Block used is the EB002 – Terminal Board used to connect the axis-limit switches. These switches are used to stop the motors spinning if the axes reach the limits, which could damage the machine. They use interrupts to poll the switches to ensure that the hardware can stop in only a very short space of time.

In the next article i’ll continue by discussing the programming of the software.

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