A stepper motor is a type of electric motor that can rotate in discrete steps, or angles, by receiving a series of electric pulses.
The advantage of a stepper motor is that it can move and hold its position precisely without any feedback sensor, as long as it is correctly sized and controlled for the application.
Stepper motors are widely used in robotics, CNC machines, 3D printers, cameras, and other devices that require accurate and precise movements.
¹²Some common applications of stepper motors are:- Robotics: Stepper motors can provide precise and repeatable movements for robotic arms, grippers, wheels, and other parts.
They can also be programmed to perform complex tasks and sequences. For example, stepper motors are used in the Mars rovers to drive the wheels and operate the cameras and instruments.
³- CNC machines: CNC stands for computer numerical control, and it refers to machines that can cut, drill, mill, or engrave materials using computer instructions.
Stepper motors are used to control the position and speed of the cutting tools and the workpiece. For example, stepper motors are used in CNC routers, lathes, mills, plasma cutters, and laser engravers.
⁴- 3D printers: 3D printers are devices that can create physical objects from digital models by depositing layers of material.
Stepper motors are used to move the print head and the build platform in precise increments, allowing the printer to create complex shapes and details. For example, stepper motors are used in FDM (fused deposition modeling), SLA (stereolithography), and DLP (digital light processing) printers.
⁵- Cameras: Stepper motors can be used to control the focus, zoom, aperture, shutter, and pan/tilt functions of cameras.
They can also be used to create smooth and stable motion for video recording or time-lapse photography. For example, stepper motors are used in DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras, webcams, security cameras, and camera sliders.