stm32f4-discovery art

It’s long been since I gave up any pretense of usefulness for my projects / hacks… now all my projects are “art installations”… (except when it’s something for my 5 year old son, which is always a good pretext to play around with some electronics… πŸ™‚ )

This post is no exception. I was looking for something to do with a few salvaged stepper motors and needles from a Skoda dashboard, then I decided to use my stm32f4-discovery board laying around unused simply because it had plentiful of pins (at least 12 needed just for the 3 motors), then I realised that board could do some nice music generation, then finally it felt like a shame not to use the on-board accelerometre and so I ended up with the current project…

Here are the 3 bits of functionality exposed, without the “artistic” part :


It started with this post where I hacked a couple of car dashboards to be controlled by a micro-controller.Β  Once done, the 2 VDO units were taking up too much space so decided to throw one of them away, but not before salvaging the 4 stepper motors.

One of them gave its life during the removal / discovery process:

Stepper Internals

Stepper Internals


Then once measured I started designing / printing a mounting frame for the 3 left:

Skoda VDO Stepper Motors Dimensions

Skoda VDO Stepper Motors Dimensions


Steppers Mount

Steppers Mount


Then I had to solder a small board holding the 3 L293D ICs used to provide enough current to the motors (which obviously can’t be connected directly to the micro-controller):

Board with 3 L293D

VDO Steppers connected to their L293D

stm32f4 plugged into the L293D carrier board and connected to the stepper motors


And finally gluing everything to the back of an IKEA painting:

Everything glued at the back of the frame

Everything glued at the back of the frame, with the stm32f4 board on


I usually post here the code too, but this time there are simply too many files, so you can find everything on its own Github project page, including the actual project, libraries and 3D designs of the motor mount.


And finally the whole installed in my cramped Victorian conversion flat…


6 Responses to stm32f4-discovery art

  1. TerenceD says:

    Cool project. I’m curious how you’re powering the board?

    • trandi says:

      4 1.5V batteries connected to the 5V on the stm32 board and also directly to the motors drivers…and an 100uF electrolitic capacitor or similar…

  2. I feel it would have worked better (and suited the music better) if the dials were behind the canvas pressing against it.

    • trandi says:

      Hmmm…interesting… However the dials are quite delicate and the canvas pretty strong, so not sure if that woukd have worked mechanically…
      But I agree it would have produced a nicer effect….

  3. Pingback: Art With Steppers And STM32 | Hackaday

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