The Art Of Motion Control


Mission: To create an affordable, accessible kit that enables beginners to enter the field of DIY motion control.

Rationale: DIY motion control offers unparalleled motivation for learning basic technical skills, including mathematics, mechanics, electronics and programming. It offers a solid answer to the question often heard in science and math classes: "Why do we have to know this stuff?" -->to get your machine to move the way you want it to!

Ever since making the first Eggbot in 1990, I have wanted to expand upon my personal experience with its wonderfully simple ability to teach the basic principles of motion control-- to make it accessible for others to build and experiment with. The problem: I am a scrounger. All of the 100+ Eggbots that I've built over the years for my classes, have been composed of surplus components. Many emails have come in requesting a parts list and plans, and I could only sympathize, but offer no real solution.

Prompted by preparing a project article for Make Magazine, I am returning to this quest in earnest, and the torch to create a full-fledged Eggbot Kit burns brightly. But I find myself woefully under skilled at such a venture. And so--

I am putting out an open request for help.

Key pieces already done:

1) reliable source of drives -- Brian Schmalz's Easy Driver , SparkFun version

2) alternative to parallel port -- Brian's USB device, the UBW, SparkFun version

3) Windows GUI for programming and camware -- Liberty Basic and Eggdraw

Key pieces remaining:

1) reliable source of affordable high-resolution stepper motors

2) reliable source of affordable DC power supply

3) Eggbot chassis-- Matthew Poster's design, laser cutting design (for Bill Arden), ...

4) pen-holder / elbow joint

5) identify sources for the small "fiddly" bits (shaft coupler, rubber cups, spring, etc.)

6) <suggested by Brian S.> FULL documentation, including :

Step by step directions (a nice big PDF with drawings, pictures, etc.)

Trouble shooting tips

FAQ - for example, how do I know how to hook up my stepper
motor? What's the practical difference between parallel port and UBW?
What version of UBW firmware should I use?

Examples of awesome eggs already colored (especially if they
come with EggDraw files!)

Ideas for things people could do to 'enhance' their egg bots -
like adding pen up/down, multi colors, ideas for better software, etc.

Examples of egg bots you (and others) have already constructed -
gives people an idea of how to solve the 'how do I build it with my own
materials' question.

Document on how to 'teach' using EggBot. (The beginnings of a
written-down version of your SMM class)