Interface and application programming

This week I finally got the stepper motors going (after having trouble with it last week).
I switched to two bigger and stronger steppers and they worked much better.
The difficult part was how to wire it. After reading about steppers
(there is a very good resources in (digikey website) and understanding how they work and what each wire do, I got it to work (yeh!).

For this week I made a plotter printer which is a good preparation for the final project I intend on doing (the additive lathe). The printer was made out of one piece of 6mm blue transparent acryl, cut on the laser cutter.

The board is similar to the board I made for last week. I added the FTDI header and a new 2X2 header for connecting external power to the motors. I also added a header as a jumper that will provide the motors 5V from the computer (with the FTDI cable). In addition I added two LEDs just to know it the board is powered, and what is the source of the voltage for the motors.

I wrote software with Processing.
There are 4 buttons for each direction. The buttons creates a drawing on the screen and the idea is that the plotter will make the same drawing on paper. When pressing a button, its image changes so it will look like it is pressed, the drawing on the screen changed and a number is sent in the serial port.
For programming the microcontroller I used Arduino.
The programs takes the serial data sent from processing and move the motors 5 steps in the selected direction. Operating the motors was easy but I was very difficult and frustrating to get the serial connection going (I didn’t success in doing it until now), and that is the only part still need to get done.