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I have a small light metal platform about 30 cm square mounted on horizontal rails. It is well lubricated and slides easily from side to side. I would like to build a device to connect to the underside of the platform that will allow me to programatically move the platform left or right by a defined distance at the touch of a button.

While I've never used an Arduino, I've been aware of its existence for a while and felt this might be a good project to begin experimenting with it. For context, I'm a computer programmer by trade, but have limited exposure to electronics in general.

Where would be a good place to start? Are there books that are considered the "bible" of Arduino development? Are there existing projects that basically do what I'm hoping to achieve? Am I barking up the wrong tree and shouldn't be attempting to find a solution for this with an Arduino? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

  • A stepper motor, with either a timing belt or lead screw would work for this. Arduino would be the most appropriate way to control those in this case. – Gerben Aug 21 '15 at 18:59
  • You may find robotics.stackexchange useful too. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Aug 21 '15 at 20:02
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    A stepper motor moves a precise number of steps per revolution. This is a gross over simplification but with a stepper motor controller and an Arduino Stepper Motor Library (there are several) you can rotate the motor forward and backwards by precise amounts. My YouTube video covers controlling stepper motors with an Arduino. youtu.be/yV30DO6NO2Y – linhartr22 Aug 22 '15 at 1:19
  • Thanks guys, this has all given me some excellent starting points. I now have a starter kit and a couple of books to get me going. Many thanks! – Neobyte Aug 24 '15 at 20:44
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Am I barking up the wrong tree and shouldn't be attempting to find a solution for this with an Arduino?

Not at all. For example see Reprap - a 3D printer using an Atmega1280 as the controller. As it says here:

Arduino is an open source project that has created an easy and powerful microcontroller board based on the Atmel ATmega168. It is the brain of the RepRap electronics.

If you can make a 3D printer with an Arduino, then you can make your sliding platform gadget, which sounds simpler if anything.


Are there existing projects that basically do what I'm hoping to achieve?

Reprap, for one.


Are there books that are considered the "bible" of Arduino development?

This is a broad question, and your original question already has a couple of "flags" that it is too broad. I suggest you narrow it down a bit.

There are a number of books about learning Arduino. My advice is to start doing some simple projects (simpler than the platform initially) to get the hang of compiling, uploading, and generally working with microcontrollers.


Also try Google and YouTube. There are a lot of Arduino projects out there.

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