Initiating motion control


I am enjoying remarkable success controlling the motors that drives laser table.


The motor controller is a custom built box that is a combination of custom printed circuit boards, the Pico Systems universal stepper controller card, gecko motor drives, internal power supply and lots of cabling.


Here’s a view of the custom circuit board that links between my limit switches and motor encoders using five conductor “cat-5” ethernet cords.


The gang of Gecko motor drives are shown here. These receive power from the motor power supply and are driven with signals coming from the Pico Systems motion control card. The motion control card is quite nice, except its not simple to connect using the wire adaptors that come with card. I pulled all of them out and put in plug/pin connectors that lead to all the other components. The control card is shown at the top of this pic, with wiring connectors.


The backend of the motion controller has various connects going to my monster sized servos. For this set up I just flopped the servos with motor mounts on the table. I didnt like my current set up for the motor mounts so I have ordered new parts to get cut by waterjet.

Development of the first generation motion controller is described here. Management of connections are much more intelligently handled than my first generation system. There was a significantly larger amount of spagetti between all the OEM boards.


The servo motors are run by another custom built power supply. Construction of the power supply is discussed at my old site.

Construction of the controller box represents some of my best electronics work and I am quite proud of that thing. What was also really gratifying was how quickly I got the thing running. As usual the software was more complicated than anything else but once I got the computer mapped to the addresses of the controller board everything else was just plug and play. Emphasis on play.

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