The Science Behind Can Stack Stepper Motor Torque and Speed


The Science Behind Can Stack Stepper Motor Torque and Speed


Can stack stepper motors are widely used in various industries and applications due to their versatility and high performance. These motors are known for their precise positioning capabilities and ability to handle high torque loads. In this article, we will delve into the science behind can stack stepper motor torque and speed, exploring the key factors that influence their performance. Understanding these principles will provide valuable insights for engineers and enthusiasts working with these motors.

1. What are Can Stack Stepper Motors?

Can stack stepper motors, also known as tin can stepper motors, are a type of stepper motor characterized by their can-shaped housing. They are primarily constructed with a cylindrical rotor and stator, which encloses the motor's magnetic field. The rotor contains multiple teeth, while the stator is equipped with multiple poles. The interaction between these teeth and poles generates motion, allowing the motor to step or rotate in precise increments.

2. The Basics of Stepper Motor Torque

Torque is a measure of the rotational force or twisting power produced by a motor. In the case of can stack stepper motors, torque directly affects their ability to move loads and maintain position. The torque output of a stepper motor depends on various factors, including coil current, step angle, and motor design. Higher coil currents generally result in higher torque outputs, while smaller step angles provide finer positioning capabilities.

3. Factors Affecting Stepper Motor Torque

3.1 Coil Current

Coil current plays a crucial role in determining the torque output of can stack stepper motors. The greater the current flowing through the motor's coil, the stronger the magnetic field generated. This, in turn, leads to higher torque production. However, it is important to note that increasing the coil current beyond a certain limit can cause the motor to overheat. Therefore, proper consideration and balancing of coil current is essential.

3.2 Motor Design

The design and construction of the can stack stepper motor play a significant role in its torque characteristics. The number of rotor teeth and stator poles directly influence the torque production. A higher number of teeth and poles generally result in increased torque capabilities. Additionally, the quality of materials used and the overall mechanical design also impact the motor's torque performance.

3.3 Step Angle

The step angle refers to the angular displacement produced by each step of the motor. Stepper motors with smaller step angles provide finer resolution and greater torque output. This is because smaller step angles allow for more precise positioning, especially in applications that require high accuracy. However, it is important to consider the trade-off between step angle and speed, as smaller step angles can reduce maximum motor speed.

4. Understanding Stepper Motor Speed

In addition to torque, the speed at which a can stack stepper motor operates is of utmost importance. Motor speed is commonly measured in rotations per minute (RPM) and determines the motor's ability to handle dynamic loads and complete tasks within specific time frames. The speed of a stepper motor is influenced by several key factors, as discussed below.

5. Factors Influencing Stepper Motor Speed

5.1 Supply Voltage

The supply voltage applied to a stepper motor greatly impacts its speed capabilities. Increasing the supply voltage can enhance the motor's ability to overcome coil inductance, resulting in improved speed performance. However, it is essential to ensure that the voltage remains within the motor's specified limits to prevent overheating or damage.

5.2 Rotor Inertia

The inertia of a motor rotor can significantly affect its speed characteristics. Rotor inertia refers to the resistance of the rotor to changes in rotational speed. A higher rotor inertia requires more torque to accelerate or decelerate, which can limit the motor's maximum speed. Choosing a stepper motor with a lower rotor inertia can help achieve higher speeds and faster response times.

5.3 Load Inertia

Load inertia relates to the inertial mass of the mechanical load connected to the motor. Higher load inertia can decrease the overall speed performance of a stepper motor. It is crucial to consider the load specifications and select a motor with sufficient torque to overcome the load's inertia and maintain desired speeds.

5.4 Driver Circuitry

The driver circuitry used to control the can stack stepper motor plays a vital role in its speed performance. Advanced driver circuits can provide improved control over the motor's operation, allowing for higher speeds and smoother motion. It is crucial to select a driver circuit that is compatible with the motor's specifications to optimize its speed capabilities.

5.5 Microstepping

Microstepping is a technique used to divide each full step of a motor into smaller, more precise steps. This technique helps reduce vibration, increase smoothness, and improve positioning accuracy. Microstepping can have a considerable impact on the motor's speed performance, allowing for smoother operation at lower speeds and improved positional accuracy.


In conclusion, the science behind can stack stepper motor torque and speed is governed by various factors, including coil current, motor design, step angle, supply voltage, rotor inertia, load inertia, driver circuitry, and microstepping. Understanding these factors and their influence on motor performance is essential for engineers and enthusiasts working with these versatile motors. By carefully considering these principles, optimal torque and speed characteristics can be achieved, leading to improved performance in various industrial and automation applications.


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