EasyDriver 4.2 and Stepper

EasyDriver v4.2 hooked up to a stepper-motor.  I have another 2 miniature breadboards to mount the other EasyDriver cards for experimentation, but judging by what I've read they tend to run a bit hot, so when mounting them in a more permanent fashion I need to think about cooling.  Depending on how hot they get I might get away with some cooling fins and a couple of fans,  but I've seen people design elaborate aluminium rails for mounting up to 5 EasyDriver boards and use the rail for dissipating the heat.

I didn't get around to hacking the Arduino this weekend since I had to do a bit of work.  (Besides I spent saturday reading up on, and experimenting with, Grails since that was a more "couch compatible" activity.)

While the goal is still to figure out if i can use the Arduino Mega to implement a gcode interface I suspect that once the CNC rig is built I might get a bit impatient and use one of the parallel port hacks to hook it up to a machine.  I still know too little about the Enhanced Machine Controller (EMC) package so I should probably read up a bit on that and install it on a spare computer I have lying around.

I also need to understand the Atmel microcontroller a bit better.  I have this vague idea of a scheduling-based platform for controlling the steppers, reading serial input and possibly controlling a small status display.  To do that I probably need to experiment quite a bit with timing and see if it is practical to write interrupt handlers.  I could really use some advice from more seasoned Atmel programmers, so if any if you find these things interesting, please do not hesitate to contact me.

There are a lot of people who want a "headless" setup for their CNC machines -- meaning they would like to dump gcode to an SD card and be able to run the gcode without having a computer hooked up.  Possibly with a small filesystem browser on a 2-line LCD so you can select which gcode file to run.  This is not a big priority for me right now, but a cool idea.

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