Building the Banshee: Part 1

Building the Banshee: Part 1

    When my original CNC controller died, I decided it was time to build a new one. J. Kleinbauer’s “Banshee” seemed to fit my needs perfectly.

      My original Phoenix CNC machine was controlled by a Kleinbauer Piker 4X controller/motor driver. When I was rebuilding the Pheonix (see Phoenix Redux Part 1 and Part 2) I had intended to keep on using the Piker. Unfortunately it only worked for a while before I suddenly lost the ability to control a couple of axis. I managed to keep a couple of the axis working long enough to get started on the 3D scanner project before all but one of the four axis died. I assumed that it was just being in a shop environment with lots of MDF dust and other stuff that had sent the Piker to an early grave.

While disappointing I had planned on getting a more modern and more powerful controller/driver anyway. While shopping around I learned that John Kleinbauer just started selling plans for a chopper driver for stepper motors called the “Banshee.” The name apparently comes from the slight whistling/squealing/hissing noise that the driver and motor makes as the current to the motor is chopped (reduced) several thousand times per second.

Since I had had a great experience with all the previous stuff I bought from Mr. Kleinbauer (plans for the original Phoenix plans and the Piker 4X kit) I decided to purchase the plans.

The plans arrived quickly (considering they were sent through the mail) and are very detailed and clear. As much as I like electronics I don’t really understand them at the component level as well as I’d like so the fact that I was able to successfully build this controller shows that all you really need to know how to do is follow directions.

The plan booklet:

The booklet gives a list of all the parts that are needed as well as the Mouser part numbers. So, I went to Mouser and ordered enough parts to build four Banshee boards (the board the booklet shows how to build only controls one motor so you have to build as many as you need to control your machine).

Parts arrived from Mouser:

With parts in hand, I started following the drawings and, in a couple of days (only working a few hours per day) I had four completed Banshees.

The four Boards:

Having completed construction of the boards I got on eBay and ordered a 48V 8.5 Amp power supply to run them and the motors (the Piker used a old computer power supply to run it and the motors). You can see more pictures of the construction of the boards this Team Hack-a-Day thread (note to self: add link).

The power supply:

Next it was time to hook up the motors and test out the boards, it didn’t go too well, but that’s covered in the next part.