Micro-Indexer Overview


Milling machine indexing and gear cutting has traditionally been done with a index head, which turned via a worm gear, and index plates which made dividing a circle into discrete steps a bit easier.  Still – turning the crank so many times, around and around gave plenty of opportunities for error. My Micro-Indexer is an answer to this.

Today, with the stepper motors and micro-controller chips available, rotating a work-piece to cut gear teeth or some number of flat sides has become much easier and possibly more accurate… but for sure it is a LOT easier!   These same steppers and controller chips are also fueling the CNC and 3D-printing revolution.

Below is a link to my YouTube video giving an overview of the Micro Indexer
It is about 10 mins long – will give you an idea of what is is and how the interface works.

The project began as my first major Arduino project;after playing with the timers and blinking LED’s I wanted a bit more.  I got a 7-segment display from Adafruit and quickly decided it would be cool to try and increment the display with a mechanical rotary encoder. Once this began working I could see this might make a great interface for controlling stepper motors.

The project took a number of months to complete, and covers a very wide range of software and hardware design.  If you find this interesting, there will be info here on the hardware and Arduino Libraries used.  After some further tuning, the main Arduino sketch I created will be available. This will include some custom libraries I wrote for the 7-segment display, the Big Easy Driver and an LED driver.

I’ll be adding block diagrams and parts-lists for the project – so take a look and let me know your thoughts!