• Date JoinedAug 26, 2008
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bnottingham3 years ago
Hi CarlS!

I am a student at the University of Central Florida that has just finished a senior design project. I just wanted to send you a message and give you major thanks for putting your design for a Low Cost XY-Stage up on instructables. We were struggling to find a budget friendly method of purchasing a stage already built, so finding this instructables page was awesome!

Our project was a voice-activated chess board that would interpret voice commands, run the command through a chess engine, and then have the pieces physically moved using a combination of your stage, an electromagnet and permanent magnets within the pieces. We have a small website up with a short video of the operation right here: http://eecs.ucf.edu/seniordesign/fa2012sp2013/g03/ .

I really just wanted to say thanks for putting this up. Our project would have been orders of magnitude more difficult without it!

Thanks again :)
Brittany Nottingham
CarlS (author)  bnottingham3 years ago
That's a very cool project! Congratulations! I'll add some links to it on the TeleToyland web site and Facebook pages. I'd love to know which stepper motors and controllers you used - the movement looked very smooth.
Thanks! We certainly enjoyed the final finished product.  It's a lot of fun to play with.

The steppers we used were a pair of mercury motor steppers purchased from SparkFun here. The only adjustment we had to make on those stepper motors were to make the shafts a little larger in diameter to fit into the 1/4" couplers used to connect the motor shaft to the shaft through the pulleys.

The stepper motor controllers were two separate TI DRV8818 ICs - one for each axis. The DRV8818 has control lines for the step input, the direction, an enable low, and two pins to configure the step type - whether it be full, half, quarter or eighth (micro-step). I hardwired ours in micro-step mode, which is what (I believe) made it operate as smoothly as it did. We tested it in full step mode, but it was really rough, so I just decided to go with microstep for the smoothness of operation and the accuracy benefits. 

The other control pins (step, direction and enable low) were controlled by a TI Stellaris M3 LM3S8962 microcontroller that was on a evaluation board made by TI. The step pin was hooked up to a PWM generator on the evaluation board and the steppers were turned on and off using the enable pin. 

I had other group members that took care of the other parts of the project, but those were the details of the parts I did. The support on TI's website for the motor controller IC was also fantastic. They were very well made and documented chips.

I will also put up a link to the TeleToyland web site! I made sure that you were thanked on our "Thanks" page, and a link to the instructable page was added, but I forgot about adding the link to the TeleToyland website. 

Thanks again for sharing :)
CarlS (author)  bnottingham3 years ago
Brittany -

That is a nice implementation! I used a similar powered stepper from Pololu and a driver carrier board, but with a different chip. I'll have to try it again with the microstepping - Pololu also makes a driver board using the chip you used. I am thinking of making a smaller one to take to shows etc.

Thanks again, and best wishes.

- Carl
carlos66ba6 years ago
I really liked your bookshelf instructable.  Very very nice, indeed!

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