Looking at the electronics

posted Nov 25, 2013, 5:16 PM by Helen Newton   [ updated Nov 25, 2013, 8:04 PM by Chris Newton ]

We wanted to see if we could get a stepper motor to work so we ended up doing several things last night!  We ...
  1. Setup a work space
  2. Soldered a connector onto a stepper motor
  3. Soldered header pins onto a stepper driver
  4. Assembled Arduino Mega board and ramps 1.4 
  5. Hooked up power supply
  6. Tested a stepper motor 

Setting Up a Workspace

Before we began working we setup a work space.  We wanted a place where we could lay everything out and not have to move things or cleanup all of the time.  Our house is still under construction so we set up a table and some chairs in an unfinished corner.
Once we had a place to work we filled it; we laid the 3D printerparts out, and added some tools.  We setup the soddering iron and a fan (to blow the fumes away).  The first thing we did was to replace the tip on the soddering iron ... it was pretty gross.

Soldering a Connector onto a Motor

Five stepper motors are used to move the various parts of the 3D printer.
We got our five stepper motors at www.lulzbot.com.  Unfortunately, the motors came with bare wires, so we need to attach female header connectors to each motor.
This is what the motor with bare wire leads looks like ...and this is the connector that we are attaching.
A connector pin has to be soddered to each wire ...
and then the four pins are pushed into a female header connector.

Soldering Header pins onto a Stepper Driver

Each stepper motor needs a stepper driver to control it.
Our stepper drivers also came from lulzbot.com, and the pin headers were not attached to these little stepper boards.  So, we soddered the pin connectors to one
 of these boards.

Assembling the Mega and Ramps boards

The printer is controlled by a single-board computer, and an Input/Output shield to control the moving parts.
We attached the Ramps controller shield onto the Tosduino Mega single board computer (an arduino clone), and then we inserted the stepper motor controller that we just soddered.

Hooking up the Power Supply

We are using a 240 watt (120 volt) power supply for the printer. We attached a 120 volt plug and wired the power supply to the RAMPS controller board.

Testing a Stepper Motor

Finally, we loaded a simple test program onto the Tosduino, turned everything on and it worked ... the motor turned!