Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Stepper Motors and Bluetooth

About a week ago I needed to order a few things from SparkFun for another project, so I decided to save on shipping and also order the stepper motors from them. They just came! SparkFun is a great company, I am always excited when I order stuff from them. In addition to the stepper motors, I also ordered two of their Bluetooth modules for another project. These modules are great! Once I have my electronics working for my Prusa, I will probably use this to make it wireless.

The Bluetooth module from SparkFun soldered onto a custom board I designed.
So, about the stepper motors. They are way heavier than I expected, but I think that's a good thing. The ends of the wires have no connectors and are simply stripped and tinned. I will have to solder on standard .1" headers to them in order to hook them up to the board I will be making in the future.

I hooked up one of the stepper motors to what I have already assembled. Despite not having a flattened side on the shaft, the gear's fit is quite snug.
For those of you who have yet to buy your motors, I sadly do not recommend buying them from SparkFun. The problem lays with the shaft: the size is correct, but shaft is completely circular. This will make it difficult to stay connected to the plastic gear, the solution is to either flatten one of the sides of the shaft yourself or buy a different stepper motor (the third solution, which is the one I am using, is to hope for the best with the shaft as is). After I already received the motors, I was speaking with the person who I purchased my printed parts from, and he recommended that I buy the motors from Ultimachine because "they are the beefiest motors [he has] found and [they] also come with a flattened shaft on the motors."

I hope this post helps some of you to choose your motors more carefully than I did.

Later this today or this week I will try to post more pictures of the build.


  1. I'm looking into building a Prusa Mendel myself and stumbled across your blog via google, there is so much documentation around regarding them which is great, the downfall is finding anything useful can be a struggle. I've just read through all your blog posts in sequence and it's good to follow your process although I am in the UK so would go for a metric version.

    My current struggle is what electronics are needed and what are optional. There seem to be so many types and different parts about but no definitive guide that I can find. I think RAMPS look like the easiest to get hold of but what other electrical parts are needed? Perhaps you could help

  2. I went gaga for how the top and sink are one sheet of twisted glass. I fabricated whatever remains of the shower around my vanity. I utilized a couple of unordinary things like slate for the dividers and Schluters to edge the glass metro tiles.

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  4. I bought a stepper motor last year that I am afraid to use. Maybe this post of yours will convince me to give it a try.

  5. Stepper Motor have greatly improved the accuracy of my printer, and i am very happy with them, thanks.