Leilani | How to Make


Machine Building

This is about my personal contributions to machine building week in the EECS section. Be sure to check out the group page for more information on our milling machine.

First attempt

I was assigned to the programming team. Within that team, I worked closely with Nolan to focus on the spindle motor. First, we documented and looked into the components we had:

  • 1 network board
  • 4 motor boards - for controlling the axes
  • 1 bread board - for doing anything
    • In particular for spinning the end mill

We started by soldering the Ethernet plugs to the network board, and then look into the hello world firmware. We also mad a set of todos below:

  • sober the rest of the ethernet boards
  • Found some information on - automatakit
  • Connecting power to the powers

We discovered some critical information in the first few days. Firstly, what to do with power. Power on Over current .3 is low for motors, but let’s do it for now (.7 in meantime) then press over current again

Output channels turn on output 1. At 4 volts dial up to 12 volts (want it 24 eventually) then turn off output. But we encountered a problem - We don’t know what to connect to what.


We tried to try the “viable commands.” This included:

  • Find C firmware
  • Look for whatever turns on the serial programming here
  • First, got the code and making a make file.
  • ICE is the white thing
  • How does the breadboard work
  • how is it is driven for a spindle motor?
  • In Mods, we right clicked for the ATKStepper, we got portStatus Permission denied. We found out that we needed to run as sudo: sudo node main

    On the second day of programming, we started by looking at the parts we have - 4 steppers and spindle. Our goals:

    • look at the breadboard and the spindle
    • This is the spindle - driver

    We also found out that ESC meant : speed control board for the breadboard. We were left to worry if there was a centralized inventory amongst other questions:

    • Where is speed control done?
    • (brushless very different from spindles)
    • Design a board to do the speeds ? (I guess that’s ok)

    Looks like we have firmware from the same place - https://gitlab.cba.mit.edu/jakeread/automatakit

    I was able to verify that messages were being sent and received on the breadboard!

    Our todo list how does everything work together


    When we started constructing some of the motors together, we found out that we would have to 3D print! Luckily, most of the 3D printing - files were available on the gitlab website. I took control of the printing process, and we rotated it in a way so that limited supports. I was also wondering if we have to join edges? I guess I forgot, but it turned out ok.

    print design print design print design


    print design print design print design

    Most of my role during the construction was taking notes. I took charge of the final write up, collecting images and videos, and documenting everything on the website.