Live demo showing you how to setup and get the most out of the Value Series Linear Actuator/Slides.
In this video we’ll quickly build this apparatus and point out some of the features you may find handy. You can get the instructions for this build by going to the AutomationDirect Webstore, click on Motion, Linear motion and select the linear slides category. Click on the Manuals tab and this link will take you to documents that show how to repair the slides and this document which shows you how to build several common configurations for both the Values series and Compact series slides. We’re doing this configuration in this video. The cool thing about this is everything you need comes with the parts – including all the mounting screws. Here we go. I’m going to use this 24 inch slide for the base. It comes with the screws and spacer plate you need to mount any AutomationDirect NEMA 17 stepper motor. We’re using a 17 60 in this example. On the vertical slide we’ll use a 17 40 stepper motor. I didn’t choose these motors for any particular reason other than I just happen to have them laying around. We’ll use this Mounting plate to attach the two slides together and again, it come with all the screws you need to attach the two slides. And of course, you would normally screw all of this to your table using these mounting holes and then mount whatever you want to move here. We’ll use this AutomationDirect sticker for our demo. Now we just connect that to our favorite stepper drive system and we’re good to go. For the record, I’m using two of these stepper drives for this demo – one for each slide. The reason for using these is they have an analog input. I then took a joy stick out of a toy at home and wired it like this. And we’re using this power supply to drive it all. These stepper drives get configured using the free SureStep software. The serial cable comes with the drive and I used this USB to serial cable from AutomationDirect since my computer doesn’t have a serial port. We cover how to use the SureStep configuration software in detail in a separate video, but the main thing to note for this demo is we put the drive in this velocity mode to get it to respond to the analog input, unselected this check box so it is always running, and put the speed in here. I want the joystick center to be zero velocity so I click on the Advanced button and then click on Auto Offset. It tells me to make sure the joystick is centered, and then it uses that voltage it reads as the zero velocity reference. Looks like it’s just under two and a half volts – perfect. I’m using this motor, this drive, and hit download. I’m not worried about inertia for this demo – again we cover how to do that in the other video on the stepper motor drive. I already programmed the other drive so now I just play with the joy stick and watch the system respond. It’s very responsive to the analog input from the joystick and these Value series slides feel super stable and smooth. When assembling these slides, be sure use the recommended tightening torques shown in the build instructions to get the best possible results. These Value Series Linear Slide actuators are available in 6, 12, 18 and 24 inches and two different screw pitches a point 2 and a point 5. The point 2 pitch moves the carriage .2 inches for each rotation of the lead crew and the point 5 moves it .5 inches per rotation. You can see the difference between the lead screw pitches here. Specifying the load inertia, determining the stepper pulse rate, choosing the right stepper motor, etc. are all covered in the How To Videos where we show you how to use linear slides with a PLC. These Value Series Linear Slides are very capable – they can carry up to 110 pounds in the normal and transverse directions, and can handle 50 inch pounds of roll and 32 in pounds of pitch and yaw. Keep an eye on those numbers as you design your system. One of the cool things about these Value Series Slides is they come with mounts for mounting these prox sensors and an adjustable metal tab so you can adjust when the proximity sensor activates. We won’t have the ability to read those sensors in this quick example, but know that they are available for you to use and are really easy to install. On the webstore if you scroll down to the bottom of the page it tells you which prox sensors are compatible with each slide. And finally, Linear slides have moving parts which are going to wear out over time, so there is a repair kit for replacing all the moving parts in these slides and a video that shows you step by step exactly how to do that retrofit. If you need any help, please contact AutomationDirect’s free award winning tech support during regular business hours. They will be happy to help. And don’t forget the forums. There are lots of folks there that love to share their years of experience. Just don’t post any quests directed at AutomationDirect’s support team there – they don’t monitor the forums on a regular basis.