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Roland the CnC Demonstrator

Roland is a late-80s Roland 2200 pen plotter, previously used by Telecom Australia, donated to the space in 2014. At that stage, it had been communicated to via serial by the previous owners, however the pen effector was not operable.

The aim is to make it into a demonstrator CnC machine, showing the basic principles of X/Y motion, homing/endstops, G-code sending and different possible end effectors (Pen, Dremel/CnC +/- 3d printer).

Lauren Shearer 2016/01/15 13:54

Project Details

Project Champion: Lauren Shearer (

Alternate Contact: John Stewart

Project Status: Not yet complete / Build in progress

Risk Assessment

During build; interim assessment

Risk Assessment: Roland the CnC Demonstration Machine
Personal Injury Low Possibility of crush injury from exposed moving parts
Injury to Others Negligible One operator at a time
Risk of Fire Negligible Testing electronics excluded
Damage to Equipment Low Unit in testing
Damage to Space Negligible
Notes/Special Equipment Unit in build; damage may occure due to unexpected movement or incorrect wiring. Not for general use
One operator at a time. Others to stand clear during operation
Assessment by Lauren Shearer 2016/01/15 13:24

Initial Breakdown and review of components

Breakdown of the unit was completed on 13/1/2015. The unit was stripped of previous electronics, coverings were removed and the mechanics were reviewed.

Electronics: Original logic board Original Motor Driver board (Note the 5 h-bridges and very large heatsink). 240vac - 24vac transformer x-gantry electronic board end-effector electronic board pen-loader microswitch board (broken) Information panel with 2 x 4-digit 7-segment LEDs Control panel with many microswitches

Mechanics: X-axis: One linear rail, ~12mm, One rolling bearing guide, with driving cable on both sides. Small microswitch homing to left, microswitch mounted on gantry. M3 x ~25mm screw on motor mount adjusts the endstop. X-axis stepper: Sanyo 5-phase, 10-wire stepper (Essentially NEMA23). Significant reduction gearing Y-axis: One linear rail, ~18mm, additional rolling guide, single driving cable (out-and-back). Small microswitch homing to top, microswitch hounted on end effector mount. No obvious adjustment. Y-axis stepper: Smaller, 5-phase, 10wire stepper (Essentially NEMA17). 1:1 drive of y-axis cable. End effector: Mounted low over current bed. Has an ~18mm circular mount, as well as the y-axis endstop.

Base: The base is made of sheet metal (steel) and has several areas of rust. These will have to be repaired. The lid is mounted on several piano-style hinges and opens towards the bottom of the case. When closed, the lid forms the work surface and is sloped towards the operator

Fairing: The fairing has been removed. There is usually fairing covering all the mechanics; it has been suggested that these should be left off to show the mechanics, although I would prefer replace them with something safe but transparent. The lower panel contained manual control mechanics including x, y-axis position and manual adjustment. It would be nice to be able to reuse some of this space although the actual controls are not useful



  • Parts broken down and inspected. Electronic boards removed as not useful for this build; retained for posterity / preservation
  • Fairings removed
  • X-axis Stepper motor removed as unusable (10-wire 5-phase)

Lauren Shearer 2016/01/15 14:03


  • Nema17 6-wire donor stepper wired for bipolar drive
  • Nema 14 4-wire bipolar with gearing salvaged for use as z-axis
  • Two extra stepper drivers donated (currently soldered on old project board via headers)
  • Top assembly detached from bottom
  • RAMPs, 2x 4988 drivers and Mega donated (Thanks John)
  • New Project box for project
  • Y-axis stepper removed
  • Slot mostly cut for new y-axis stepper to fit
  • Baseplate mostly cut to lower bed

Next Goal

As of 13/1/15:

  • Replace steppers with NEMA17
    • Mount for NEMA17-23 conversion for X-axis required; planned to use This one on Thingiverse
    • y-axis mount may need modification, but will require removing gantry from x-axis and take-down of y-axis cable as directly driven
      • Y-axis stepper motor able to be taken down, 5mm dia. gear saved, slot cut for new, longer stepper
  • Lower bed height
  • Design z-axis assembly/mount using donated motor with gears
  • Consider electronics


project/cchs/roland_cnc_demonstrator.txt · Last modified: 2016/01/25 13:24 by assidiousblue