I have built a juggling machine. Each arm is driven by a 4A 23mm stepper motor. The motors are each driven by a TB6600 set to 800 microsteps. By trial and error, I have found that the motors skip when the drivers are set at 2A (running at 36v) but not when set at 3A.

The motors are directly attached to the panto-graph arm mechanism. Each arm makes 81 start-and-stop revolutions per minute. The each arm is at rest for 25% of the time. I believe this causes the arms to jerk and induces error into the balls trajectory.

The obvious advantage of direct drive is simplicity. The next easiest options are belt drive or a geared stepper motor.

  • Would a geared or belt drive help reduce the vibration in the mechanism?
  • Would I be able to run the drivers at a lower power setting if I used gearing?

gif of juggling machine

This is the Arduino Code.

Video of the machine running.

  1. Vibration is a matter of optimal motion control problem, not the type of motor that is used (as long as you used more than 16 micro steps for your steppers). You already used AccelStepper which is the best thing you can do without the complicated motion control.

  2. If your system still works with slower speed than your current motor speed you are good to use a geared motor and lower your motor current. But if you need the same speed as the motor without gear, you need to rotate the stepper very fast which requires either high current or high voltage. For example, if your gear is 1:5 you need to run your stepper five times faster to achieve the same rotation speed.


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