4 Channel Stepper Motor Controller
The current 4 channel controller is the Mk6, which has evolved over the last 10 years, and still maintains the same 30cm square profile of many of the original designs despite the fact that the matching MAIB computer is in a much smaller box. The original design was based on a similar 30cm square ITX case which sat nicely on top. The design original used a finished aluminium case which required a little care cutting holes in the end plates, but provided a tidy result. That case is no longer being manufactured, and alternatives have proven hard to find, so the Mk6 is now manufactured from separate panels ... and we will worry about finish later. All the previous designs added a 6mm aluminium plate to the bottom of the box to act as a heatsink for the drivers, and this was tapped into to provide fixings for the various components. The new design simply switches to an 8mm plate and then we add 3mm front and back panels mounted simply by tapping into the edge of the 8mm plate. These panels are just small enough to be machined on the Taig CNC Mill, so for the first time the holes can be machined rather than hand nibbling or punching them. The result is a much tidier finish even if the holes are all covered by other components. In addition it is easier to build custom panels simply by adjusting the CNC gcode. More examples of that later.
The original design was based on the smaller 3Amp modules, but when supplies of these dried up, our own design 3amp module based on the Nat Semi LMD18245 driver chip offered a short term replacement. The arrival of a 4.2Amp replacement has provided a nice alternative which can be linked with the newer 3Ncm motors at only a small premium over the original design. The provision of a 500W transformer over the earlier 300W one provides the additional power for these larger motors, but a 300W unit can be fitted if the unit is only to drive the smaller 180Ncm motors.
The images for the construction manual are already available and I just need to start writing the the text.
As with all MEDW projects, the parts will be available at various stages of construction, from partial kits to which you can add your own parts, or simply enclose house existing kit. To a fully assembled controller ready to plug motors into, and connect to your computer - or we can provide a ready configured Mach-in-a-box to sit on top of it.