Trying to build a shutter system for a laser table using stepper motors

I work in a university physics lab, and I’m completely new to electronics systems and have been tasked with building an electric motor system to shutter lasers on a table at certain points. I’ve done some reading about it and have concluded I need a small (Nema 14 or lower) motor with minimal torque. I’d only be moving a lightweight metal blade up and down a few degrees over the course of about 0.2-0.1 seconds. The load wouldn’t be more than 20 grams. I’d need to program the system in LabView, to be controlled from a regular PC.

Can anyone recommend any guides or materials I could use to select parts for this system, or direct product recommendations from Pololu? We’re probably looking to purchase around a dozen or two of these motors for the table, and whatever control apparatus they need. Thanks so much for your help!!


Hello, Michael.

You can find our full selection of stepper motors here; we have a few that might work well in your application.

Once you have selected a stepper motor, you could use one of our Stepper Motor Drivers or one of Tic Stepper Motor Controllers to control your motor. Our drivers are generally breakout boards with simple interfaces intended for use with a microcontroller, while our Tic controllers are more versatile, general-purpose modules that support a variety of control interfaces. They are easily configured over USB using our free software. However, we do not have any recommendations for using either our drivers or Tic controllers using LabVIEW.

The main criteria you will need to check when you are selecting a driver or controller are that it can deliver at least the rated current of your motor and that it can handle your power supply’s voltage. The “Related products” on the page for the stepper motor you choose might be a good place to start.

- Patrick

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