User:Pranav Rathi/Notebook/OT/2011/07/07/X Y-motor stage control with Joystick for Optical Tweezers

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This page is dedicated to the documentation of the XY-motor stage control with Joystick system, for optical tweezers. This system can be utilized as a part to any system which needs a full motor control over X and Y stage. I used Zaber- miniature linear actuators and Logitech attack 3 gaming joystick with lab view 9 programming. The full detail of the buildup is given in this page. This whole system costs like $2000 out of which $1900 is for the motors, still much cheaper from what is available out there, for an example Zaber joystick costs $ 760 extra. One can easily follow the build and download the code to make this system under $2000 in few hours.



Many applications use 2-dimensinal stage. A 2-D stage can be arranged by stacking two linear 1- dimensional stages on the top of each other. Naturally a stage is manually operated, but it can be motorized also. I used two linear 1-D stages to build a 2-D stage powered by two Zaber linear actuators. The linear actuators can be controlled through a Joystick with a lab view program. I used Logitech attack-3 joystick with lab view 9 to make this complete joystick controlled linear actuator powered 2-D stage system.

This system has a 1 micron step resolution in either direction with variable speed. The direction and the speed are controlled by the movement of the joystick.


  1. High-Performance Low-Profile Ball Bearing Linear Stage, 1.0 inch Travel- two.
  2. T-LA28A: Miniature Linear Actuator, 28 mm travel, RS-232 plus manual control-two.
  3. Logitech Attackā„¢ 3 Joystick-one.
  4. Lab View-9.


Construction is easy. First mount the linear motors to the sages than stack them up. Before connecting the linear motors to the computer make sure that zaber-console is installed ( Each motor comes with 2 s-video cables, connect one of the motors to the computer and each other. Now start the consol and check if it reads the motors. I am putting the lab view code to download, so there is a no problem with that if lab view 9 is being used. If any other version is used than you might have to change the code a bit. Once you have the code you can plug the joystick in and it will be able to recognize it. The code has three major parts joystick, x-motor and y-motor. I also included a section to troubleshoot problems. The first time you have to choose the right setting for the motor. To do that start the console and click over the device, once it reads it than click over the read all button. Now you can chose the settings once by one. For me i have given a list of the right setting in the troubleshoot-xymotor vi. To get that, run the xy horse motor control-joystck.VI click on troubleshoot button than click on troubleshoot xy-motor.VI, it will open a complete list of parameters in picture form copy that as it. These settings are specifically designed for optical tweezers where we need a micron resolution with micron/sec speed and 1 inch translation in either direction. The speed multiplication factor can be chosen in real time by speed multiplication factor on front panel. The system is designed so that the motors do not move if one accidently hits the joystick. You have to press and hold the trigger button while moving the joystick to make it work. To add an extra speed you have to press and hold the button2 on joystick.

DownloadLab view code:[1]

In future i am planning to connect z-piezo and all the laser shutters and filters to the joystick to make this system fully automated.


Andy Maloney 17:44, 8 July 2011 (EDT): Now that's awesome. You have to post the build and code for this!

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