I've seen a number of tutorials about how to build the platform for a 3-axis CNC milling machine. I have not seen anyone tackle the tricky subject of the electronics.
Here now is my attempt to do so.
Step 1: Parts
- an arduino. I chose duemilanova. (depends on the board you get)
- 3 stepper motors. I chose NEMA 17s . ($15/ea)
- 3 EasyDrivers from Sparkfun . ($15/ea)
- some Cat5 ($2?)
- a 12V power supply for the steppers ($5?)
- a soldering iron
- some electrical tape
- an optional female plug is not a bad idea (<$1)
TIP: Don't get a 6ft or 10ft Cat5 cable. Buy your cat5 by the foot from any computer or electronics store. That stuff has one wire inside instead of lots of little fibers. Little fibers are a huge pain to work with.
Step 2: Wire the stepper motor to the EasyDriver
Remove some of the interior wire from the Cat5 and strip the ends. For each servo you will need two normal pairs of white/colored and one oddball of a white and two colored. In all, you'll have to strip 14 ends.
PCB soldering is easy, once you get used to it. There are many other tutorials that cover the subjct. Follow the image as indicated. Your color combinations for the servo may be different. I had to google for a long time to find this page with the color codes for my model.
TIP: "Do NOT connect or disconnect a motor while the driver is energized. This will cause permanent damage." -- Sparkfun
Next we'll wire the power sources and the arduino.