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Thread: Stepper motor scanner

  1. #1

    Cool Stepper motor scanner

    Hi, im going to build my very first scanner out of stepper motors i can control over usb

    here's the controller board:

    http://www.pc-control.co.uk/stepperbee_info.htm

    and the stepper motors are 200 1.8 steps 12v DC

    I know i can do some nice laser shows but i probably wont be able to draw anything..

    I went for stepper motors because i really didnt have the money to buy good galvos right now, maybe in a next version.

    What do you think ill be able to do with stepper motors? and do you think they could be fast enough ?

    i just ordered everything, im waiting for everything to come
    Ill be posting pictures and videos when i get it running and tell you what i can do with it!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Orlando, FL - USA
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    Hi Meekaah,

    If you haven't already spent your money on these things, I would recommend that you not go the approach you are going. Laser shows, regardless of the kind, require faster motion than you would be able to attain using classic approaches and stepper motor controllers like this.

    If you want to play with steppers, I recommend you find the smallest stepper you can. There are some that have the diameter of a US Dime. While looking at data sheets, you want to look at the "steps per second" rating. I have seen some small steppers that go up to 6000 steps per second. And lastly, you want the largest "per step" angle that you can get. 1.8 degrees per step is WAY too small.

    Afer you have found a suitable, small, stepper, the next thing you should do is build your own amp. The easiest way to do it is to put a constant voltage into one of the coils, and a varying (AC) voltage into the other coil. The constant voltage will serve as what's called a "holding coil" or also known as an electronic spring. The other coil will give you motion.

    I have used this approach myself in the past, and have seen it on many laser display systems built in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This will give you the best performance that could be had for stepper motors.

    On the other hand, you might want to give serious thought to finding some cheep optical scanners -- like real galvos. I have seen them as cheep as $200 on Ebay, including the power supply, scanner mirrors, X-Y mount, the scanners, etc. Basically, add a beam and software and you would be ready to go. These kind of scanners can only go around 8K, but they would be more accurate and faster than steppers.

    Best regards,

    William Benner

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Pflugerville, TX, USA
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    I recommend looking into LaserPic. www.laserpic.com They have great deals on scanners.

  4. #4

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    Thanks for your replies, its too late about the stepper motors and the controller, but ill see what i can mix up with it. All of the stuff i bought didnt cost me anything so if this thing doesnt work out at all, ill try with the real stuff, some good galvos. I just hope the stepper motors i have are fast enough, i have no specs sheet as to how many steps per seconds. Anyways ill keep this post open with some pics and tell you how its performing when i get it running.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    hey meekah-

    if ALL you are looking into doing is simple beam stuff, than i think what you got in the steppers may suffice for now.

    they are, like bill said, VERY slow and small angled but if youre just looking to mess around in your house shooting simple beams to the left and right and not too much more, than these might be a good start for you to learn.

    i think you should be able to get some good simple fans, beam matrices, and VERY simple and rudimentary shapes. i wouldnt expect to do any sort of graphics or text though.

    -Marc

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Hmmm. Never heard of LaserPic. We will have to check them out. They are in the neighborhood of our new China office actually...

    I looked at the scanners on their site. They look like LaTu scanners to me... If this is the case, then the LP12 are really 8K scanners as they come from LaTu (but we have a mod that makes them go 18K).

    Best regards,

    William Benner

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    I'm interested in hearing about your mod actually

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by FourDee View Post
    I'm interested in hearing about your mod actually
    Everything was shipped on friday so ill probably get everything on monday or tuesday. Ill post some pics and info when i get it

  9. #9

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    oh and by the way i just received specs on those stepper motors i got, they can go up to 500steps/second average but can be speeded up to about 1500steps per second with some tweaking
    Last edited by meekaah; 02-10-2008 at 10:39.

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