uStepper is a product improving performance of a motor type called “stepper motors”.
Stepper motors are used in a wide range of applications where you have to move something a certain distance precisely! For example, they are used in your inkjet printer for moving the ink cartridge back and forth over the paper. Stepper motors are precise and really cheap compared to the alternative, Servo motors.
There is one drawback of the steppers though – you actually can’t tell if they actually move for example the ink-jet head to the position you tell it. If you try to block the path while you printer is printing, it will not recover from this. The printer is rather dependent on that the stepper operates with high precision so that you get something readable on your paper!
The same happens to for example 3D printers, where those steppers uStepper is designed for is primarily used.
What uStepper does, is that it removes this drawback by continuously monitoring where it is, and where it should be. Thus uStepper can compensate if anything goes wrong – this is what we call operating with feedback. uStepper both has the ability to drive the stepper motor, monitor position and has an onboard programmable microcontroller with a wide range of available inputs and outputs. All this is packed into a really small printed circuit board that fits right on the back of those small stepper motors (which are referred to as Nema 17). To make uStepper accessible for both professionals, hobbyists and students, it is compatible with the Arduino IDE. Here you can easily program your uStepper to do exactly what you need it to do!
One of our application examples involves implementation of uStepper on a 3D printer – showing the advantage of uStepper quite well:
Furthermore, we have made a Robotic Arm specifically for the uStepper:
The Robotic Arm is 3D printable, and the design is freely available for personal use at our GitHub repository.
A small example of how one could program the Robotic Arm is shown in this demo video:
You can see more technical details in the uStepper product sheet: