The Sharpie Dotifier

Current Part:

PIC 18F452 Microcontroller
P-40 Development Board
PicKit PIC Programmer
Serial Cable
Stepper Motor Controller Board
Stepper Motor
HS-5685MH Servo
HS-5485HB Servo
Servo Extension Cables
Motor Mount & Stage
Soldering Iron
Servo Bracket Mount
C-Type Servo Bracket
Servo Gripper

Parts List Details
           Some of the parts listed above may be familiar to you, if not, do not fear! Below I describe the core parts and what their role in the entire system is. Click on the part name to see where you can buy

PIC 18F452
           The PIC is the main part of this project. The firmware on it accepts the serial commands sent from the laptop and tells the stepper motor or the servo motors to move. This allows the entire system to be centrally controlled and to draw cool stuff dot matrix style..

P-40 Development Board
           The P-40 Development Board is made by olimex. Really any standard development board can be used, or you can use your own breadboard for this project because as you will see later the schematic for this project is drop-dead simple with less than a dozen crucial connections to the PIC.

PicKit PIC Programmer
           This is the latest and greatest programmer made by microchip and connects via USB to your computer. It connects using the standard ICSP connection, so no worries about legacy connections to older boards. New, Old this programmer programs them all, connects to them all and allows you to debug them all!

Motor Mount & Stage
           The Stepper Motor Mount & The Stage are extremely crucial to this project working correctly. They were designed and built by hand, by me. The hardware section of this project write-up will show you what parts were needed and how the stage was built. I even have the dimensions drawn out for the stage and mount just for you guys!

Stepper Motor Controller Board
           The Stepper Motor Controller Board is something I designed myself and have tested. It works very well and connects up to any digital device with 3 command lines and 1 ground. It's meant to control a 2-coil stepper motor. See: The Stepper Motor Controller Board tutorial write-up for more information on how to build this board, and how it is used.

Stepper Motor

           Stepper Motors are a bit mystical in their operation. I suggest looking through the Stepper Motor Control tutorial to get a better understanding of how they work and how we control them. This project breezes through stepper motor theory and gets to the meat of using the motor to move the stage back and forth.

Servo Motor
           Servo motors are pre-packaged dc motors with in house feedback that allow them to be used for positioning. This is useful because the dc-motors provide more torque than their stepper motor cousins which means the arm can move fast and pick up heavy objects.

Servo Brackets
           These are the brackets that encase the servos and create the servo arm by linking the cases together. I used 3 types of brackets for this project. The servo mount bracket which provides a casing around the servo to latch onto, the c-type bracket which connects the arm together and finally the servo gripper bracket which closes to hold onto an object. These brackets are made of steel so they don't woble or break as long as you make sure all the bolts and nuts are really tight.