Turns out, not all Arduinos are created equal. Among the many electronics available in the market, unofficial Arduino-IDE-compatible boards are not a rare sight, but these boards may at times bear a notable distiction.
In my case, this became apparent when first trying to communicate with a fresh-delivered UNO with a WinChipHead CH340 USB-to-serial chip. The standard FTDI drivers included with my computer weren't enough to establish a COM port to the WCH device. A few pages into the subsequent Google search left me better informed about the driver signature requirements for OS X El Capitan, and holding a copy of properly signed drivers for my system.
Why is this relevant? There are workarounds to the newly implemented security features of OS X, which involve a series of system bypasses and overrides. However, having a solution that meets the protocols deemed necessary by commercial operating systems generally makes life easier. In other words: have you ever worked in IT?
Along with our control electronics, we received a stepper motor. These critters will be the at the heart of whichever machines we can cook up this semester, making them move about. This is why our first lab deliverable revolves about those first steps. Can you make a motor spin?
These are the first few steps:
And this is testing the "return home" g-code command:
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