resurrected : hive13 stepper motor boards

I took a look at the hive13 stepper motor boards that were on the
wiki. It's 2011 and all the parts are available. What interest is
there in getting some made up?

We might want to make some changes to the connectors, from what I recall they were the most expensive part of the project.

I would be willing to contribute though.

Yes, revisiting the stepper boards is a great idea.

  • The connectors made the board a drop in replacement for the makerbot, does that matter any more?

  • Are we going to try to actually sell some, or is this just for our own use / open source design?

  • Anybody interested in building a CNC mill / machine using the boards?

  • Is the design good as is, or does it need any changes?

I don't know enough about bipolar stepper motor drivers to be able to
critique the design much. In terms of board layout, it looks very
good - excellent.

I took a look at the datasheet for the driver IC used. It can do 50V
@ 1.5A. From looking at the schematic, it looks like the motors will
be powered off 12V not 50V. I'd probably recommend changing to a unit
with higher current and lower voltage handling if this continues to be
the design plan. The A3977 does 35V @ 2.5A.


I'm wanting to build a CNC drill for PCB fab purposes.


IIRC the boards were designed to be drop in replacements for the
makerbot, but also more precise (weren't they capable of some small
fraction of a step?) plus there was a shortage of mendel reprap
electronics, which was another feature.

the idea was to subsidize the project by selling some of the boards.

I'll join in on this thread and reaffirm what the others have already
said. I'm all in favor of resurrecting the prior stepper and CNC
work. ChrisD and I discussed it last Tuesday.

I've got the plywood test rig with three stepper drivers and three
stepper motors. We've got an ATX power supply targeted to it and
Paul has also made his power supply available for it again. I've got
the working Z-axis stage and the design for most of the full-up frame,
enclosure and X and Y axes. Ed donated a Harbor Freight Dremel clone
for the spindle. I'll bring all that back in on Tuesday. My home CNC
had been down since Christmas and I've been sidetracked by the Galileo
LED thing for quite a bit and will have more time to make the X&Y axis
CNC parts after finishing that.

Former member James Stoneburner gets credit for doing the board
design. He even did a surface mount soldering class from that time.
Yes it was intended to be RepRap compatible. We ran into driver chip
availability issues and never quite got the horsepower and capital put
together to fund a large build for profit, but there was talk about
doing that.

For the CNC, we still need a working P4 level Windows XP PC that we
can target to load and run the MACH3 s/w on. It needs a 25-pin
parallel port and cable for the I/O with the driver boards and axis
limit switches.

See y'all Tuesday.


Ha! James Stoneburner? We worked at the same place briefly. In my
former life, I took over as IT manager after he left. This city is
too small...

I donated several P4 class PCs with parallel ports.


OK! Let’s target and setup one of the P4s with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse on Tuesday night. We will want to download a demo version of MACH3 onto the PC and set that up Mach3 R3.043.022. Also start thinking about the parallel port DB-25 cable and breakout to the stepper STEP and DIRECTION signals. I’ll bring a copy of the pin-out I use on my home machine. The CNC (when we finish it) will take about 24" x 24" of tabletop space somewhere. Somebody has to decide where that will be. I’m even thinking we can use lasercut 0.220" thick acrylic for the frame. How about that?


A quick status update on the CNC / stepper boards -

Following parts came together Voltron style:

  • Stepper controller test rig, which has 3 stepper motors and 3 Hive13 driver boards mounted on it. [Jim, James]
  • Opto-isolated parallel port breakout board [Paul]
  • Various power supplies [Paul, me]
  • Desktop PC [Dave B]
  • Irresponsible lack of sleep [Dave M, me]
    So, we now have a setup with a desktop machine driving 3 stepper motors successfully. Currently it is running EMC2 using the LinuxCNC distribution, but no worries Jim, the machine has an XP license already, so as soon as we have Windows install media handy it will dual boot to Windows and run Mach3.

This is about 90% of the electronics for a CNC. Missing is an ESTOP button, home / limit switches, and random wiring.

I'm getting a couple (3? 4?) of the Hive13 design stepper motor PCBs
made, hopefully this week. I'll try to get a digikey / other parts
order in to coincide with the PCBs arriving. Sorry I haven't been
around much but I'm in super-crunch time. :frowning:

Someone: try to pick through the inkjet printer power supplies. Many
modern inkjets seem to be using 35v 2A power supplies, which would be
big enough to drive a pretty kick ass stepper motor. Or perhaps some
scavenged from said printers?

Just thinking out loud. ie babbling.