Stepper motors are found in all sorts of everyday machines that require a precise movement. Today we took apart the same stepper motors that run the x, y and z axis movements in our Taz6 printer. Operational theory is one way to learn, but in the Makerspace we prefer to just take something apart and poke around inside and see what can be discovered.
Stepper motors come in all shapes and sizes. The NEMA 17 designation of the motor we took apart refers to the size of the motor faceplate and distance between mounting hole centers. Students came to much deeper understanding of how a stepper motor works by actually holding at the rotor and energizing each coil with a power supply individually. We also learned a lot about how to design a rigid case that can hold a shaft to true center under heavy torque loads.