Make It Last Build Series #3: Finishing the Stepper Motor Drivers for the Drawbot

Today, the latest newsletter went out for the Make It Last Build Series, sponsored by Microchip and Energizer. The goal for this week was to finish getting the stepper motor controller for our Drawbot working. By the time you’re finished, you should have at least one stepper motor turning in both directions on command. Check out the Build Series landing page for full info on the build, prize details, and the rundown on the first two builds in the Make It Last Build Series. If you’re not signed up for the project newsletter list yet, hit that link and sign up!

breadboards and stepper motors
OK, so maybe this wasn’t the easiest circuit to build on a breadboard! If you’ve succeeded in building the stepper motor driver, your breadboard should look something like the above photo. To hook it up to the controller we made in the second newsletter, grab that breadboarded control circuit and follow these steps:

  • Take the 4 LEDs off the controller circuit board
  • Connect lines C1 to RA0 and C2 to RA
  • Connect the GND of the driver circuit to the GND of the controller circuit

Then connect the motor to the driver circuit on the following pins:

  • Black to H-Bridge Out 1
  • Green to H-Bridge Out 2
  • Red to H-Bridge Out 3
  • Blue to H-Bridge Out 4

Note that the pinout of your stepper motor may be different if you are using a salvaged or different brand.

Now, download the modified Hello World Stepper code, compile, and upload to the controller. The motor should turn one revolution in one direction, then reverse itself. Once you’ve gotten one to work, build a second driver for the other motor, following the instructions in the last newsletter.

Next week, we’ll actually hang our Drawbot on a wall and rig it up to start drawing. And don’t forget to submit your progress images to the MAKE Flickr pool, tagged “makeitlast.”

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!
Shawn Wallace

Shawn Wallace is a MAKE contributor, artist, programmer, and editor living in Providence, R.I. He designs open hardware kits at Modern Device and organized the Fab Academy at the Providence Fab Lab. He makes iPhone synthesizers with the Fluxama collective and is a member of the SMT Computing Society.

View more articles by Shawn Wallace


Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).