Looking for a new controller...

(Gabriel Coleman) #1

Looking for a new controller…

Does anyone have a recommendation on a 32 bit controller that uses external drivers? It’ll need to support 2+ extruders.

This is for a larger custom printer. 1 y axis motor, 2 x axis, and 3 z axis. 4 heated beds.

I’ve got everything running off an Arduino with a ramps 1.4, and it works… But from my understanding, a 32bit controller can increase print quality.

(George Novtekov) #2

I can recommend Duet Wifi/Eth based on my expirience. Keep on mind that with Duex 5 you can achieve 10 drives in total but pcbs will be bulky. Otherwise Duet got more than you want.

(Gabriel Coleman) #3

Would that be 5 on board drivers, and 5 connections for external? That’d be perfect for my build if thats the the case.

(James Rivera) #4


(Cristian Nicola) #5

i have not used it myself but i have friends that swear klipper is the best by far.

(Gabriel Coleman) #6

It looks like klipper is a firmware. Do they have dedicated hardware for it¿. Klipper is news to me. Currently im running Marlin

(George Novtekov) #7

5 on Duet Wifi and 5 on Duex x5 doughtier board. Also you have end stops for every stepper. You have support for I believe 6 extrudes and you can add more stepper drives but on data pins which is more complex.

I tested a lot of combination but if you do a complex machine I strongly suggest to do Duet as it is really flexible and modular firmware design. All of the configurations for extruders, tool change, motors, hotends is in config files that can be modified easily from web server. You can define multiople axis and extruders. You can define up to 6 independent motion axis X,Y,Z U,V,W plus 6 extruders on top and all this without any firmware upload.

(Taylor Landry) #8

If you want external drivers, Azteeg X5 GT.

Personally, I think smoothie is far superior to duet/rrf.

(Ryan Carlyle) #9

@Taylor_Landry1 curious why you feel that way? Duet 2 beats Smoothieboard v1 on most objective metrics (processor power, IO available, etc)

(Taylor Landry) #10

I just can’t stand sending gcode for my firmware. Having 6-7 different .g files just seems so freaking clunky. The documentation for smoothie is 1000x better than RRF, IMO, and the faster chip doesn’t really add much in terms of printing performance.

I’ve only setup one duet WiFi machine, and I was an original KS backer of smoothie (well over a dozen smoothie machines now), so I’m definitely biased.

Don’t get me wrong, lots of nice features with the Duet, I’m just not a big fan.

(Gabriel Coleman) #11

Duet looks like a good choice as far as features. The main thing is running 8 stepper motors. My current set up has 3 running off a big external driver, then another 2 off another driver. If the duet can do all that without the external drivers, then I’d be ok. That $275+ price tag is hard to look at though.

The Smoothie board looks like all the drivers are integrated and limited to a total of 5. I do see a spot for what looks like soldering on the smoothie. I imagine that this would work for me.

I haven’t looked up the azteeg x5 yet.

(Taylor Landry) #12

@Gabriel_Coleman right, the X5 GT does what you’re asking.

(Ryan Carlyle) #13

@Gabriel_Coleman do you need to run all 8 steppers at the same time (like XYZ and a five-color mixing hot end) or do you swap between them (like IDEX)? Are they cloned drivers (eg two Y drivers running Y motors in sync) or independently controlled? Different firmwares have different support for concurrent, sequential, etc motor usage.

(Ryan Carlyle) #14

@Taylor_Landry1 can Smoothie run 8 separate motors at the same time these days? Last time I checked, it could only do 5 axes concurrently, but I haven’t looked in a long time.

(Gabriel Coleman) #15

It’s your standard xyz and 2 extruders. The z has 3 motors on 1 driver and the y has 2 motors on 1 driver.

The set up works, but it’s on an arduino clone.

I wouldn’t mind having more than 2 extruders if possible, but 2 is enough. If i could control all 3 z axis motors at the same time, then I could go for a true auto leveling set up. This isn’t a requirement.

(Ryan Carlyle) #16

@Taylor_Landry1 these days I think the Smoothie and RRF documentation quality is about the same. Gcode vs boot config is a fair personal preference — I personally like that RRF is configured at runtime so you can change ANYTHING live, but reasonable people can differ on that.

(Ryan Carlyle) #17

@Gabriel_Coleman if you are running the Ys and Zs in sync (no bed tilt autolevel) then you can use pretty much any board/controller where you can break out the Z EN/STEP/DIR pin. Nothing fancy required. Or depending on your motors & PSU just run them off one driver.

(Gabriel Coleman) #18

@Ryan_Carlyle Currently, the motors are in sync. I’ve more or less got what you suggested, but with a ramps 1.4.

(Ryan Carlyle) #19

@Gabriel_Coleman Well, if you want a plug-and-play solution with a lot of expansion options, a Duet+Duex5 is a great way to go. Overkill for what you’re doing though.

Depending on the PSU voltage motors you’re using, you could also just run a regular Duet and wire the Z motors in series (only if you’re using 24v and don’t need them to run super fast) or in parallel (output 2.4A from the Duet 2660 and split it three ways for 0.8A per motor).

The Azteeg x5 is also a good option if you decide you want Smoothie over RRF. Stay away from the 8825s, too many people get print ripples with them.

(Gabriel Coleman) #20

I’d have to check and see what voltage my motors support. Going in series will drop the voltage, but the current will be linear, 0.8A per motor would suffice. My main concern is my z Axis. I’m using 19:1 gear reduction motors. All the others can be replaced if need be. Those gear reduction are somewhat pricy.

I’ve got 8825s currently. I see ripples.