New Meccano Stepper Motor Driver Board

This is a new project the purpose of which is to produce a Stepper motor driver board capable of controlling Meccano models such as a Robot, a Jib Crane and a Gantry Crane.   Each of the models is driven by stepper motors    The package will contain an electronic interface board as well as the icon driven program which will control the models as well as full documentation and video demonstrations and detailed instructions which will explain the function of stepper motors, how the interface is built and how the program works.  On the board are 4 ports for driving stepper motors,  two relays, two light emitting diode ports and 8 limit switch inputs.  This will provide a powerful controller for Meccano enthusiasts who have longed to control their models with the aid of a computer.    Here at last is the simple solution.   No programming experience is necessary as the whole program is icon driven, and easy to understand and use.

Stepper motor and purpose built mounting plate with attached pinion

 

The stepper motor driver interface board between computer and model

 

 

Stepper motor robot

This little desk top robot is ideal for computer control.   It is driven by mini stepper motors.  It has a quite unique pantograph like linkage between the body and the hand such that no matter the angle of the shoulder or the elbow, the hand is always parallel with the ground.  This avoids the need for two more motors to power the wrist.   The stepper motors require an electronic driver to power the internal motor coils in the correct sequence and speed.  An electromagnet is fixed to the robot arm and is controlled by the program.

 

Gantry crane

This crane travels along rails and is driven by a rack and opinion mechanism.  The trolley runs on rails suspended below the transverse beam and is driven by a chain mechanism.   The hook is suspended from the trolley.

 

Jib Crane

This crane is of simple construction and typical of many cranes found on building sites.  It has a rotating base, luffing jib and a winch and cable to the hook.   All motions are driven by the stepper motors and linked to the computer.

 

The stepper motors are driven from a purpose built electronic board and run on a special icon driven program.  No programming ability is required to run the robot.    This program can control each motor in turn for speed and direction, and then by recording key presses in teach mode, can then follow the sequence of movements.  

Michael Adler and Enrique Nivasch

June 2011