Random thoughts on Klipper

Because Klipper is predominantly a 3DP firmware/system I’m posting here in 3D Printing but this could be in the CNC space or even Community Random.

From an above the clouds eye view I see Klipper firmware and its PC/Raspberry Pi software as a neophyte motion control project for 3D printers. Not a buffered motion control system like GRBL, Smoothie, etc but more like MesaFPGA or Remora with LinuxCNC(on a PC or rPi). Klipper also being designed for 3D printers first while LinuxCNC/EMC2 was designed for CNC first.

I would have thought there would have been more of a jump to LinuxCNC as hardware to support it became more inexpensive but for the longest time the only firmware side hardware was by Mesa Electronics and a set of functional boards was upwards of $200-$500 so not going to see that on a $250 diode laser, $1500 CO2 laser or even a $500-$1000 3DP. Along comes Klipper which runs on ~$100 hardware(less now) and it’s becoming the darling of the consumer 3DP market.

It’s interesting watching this play out but I’ve seen LinuxCNC/EMC2 developers deny new ideas like a less ideal realtime kernel for a very usable and also very portable rt kernel. This in particular forced a fork(splitting developers) of LinuxCNC to Machinekit. And still, a LinuxCNC pre-configured simple UI is illusive if you don’t count Tormach’s PathPilot but not really “consumer” oriented.

Klipper is growing up very fast.

Klipper - https://www.klipper3d.org/
GRBL - GitHub - grbl/grbl: An open source, embedded, high performance g-code-parser and CNC milling controller written in optimized C that will run on a straight Arduino
Smoothieware - https://smoothieware.org/
LinuxCNC - http://linuxcnc.org/
Machinekit - https://www.machinekit.io/
Mesa Electronics - http://www.mesanet.com/
Remora - http://www.mesanet.com/
Tormach PathPilot - Path Pilot CNC Controller


I’m not as experienced as you, so as it may be IMO, hobbist manufacturing has grown a lot in the recent years due to great programming for 3D printers and’cheap’ lasers and covid-19. That along with on-line shopping services, everyone has inexpensive access to these ‘machines’. I think it is a sad failure for GRBL, LinuxCNC and Smoothieware to drop the ball like they have, at least GRBL has been branched to the creation of GRBL-Hal for the Arduino and uCNC for expanses of MCU’s. Yet, I don’t think Tormach belongs to this list because they are proprietary in their programming and machine design, as well as that they are geared towards industrial manufacturing machines. Still IMO Klipper was fed by a fault of Octo-print not able to create an easy use factor for speed printing along with Mainsail and Fluid having some great Admin-helpers on their discord community . Most 3D printer users are just ‘riding the wave’ in the migration from Marlin to Klipper, and most of them don’t care to research any further.
Keeping in mind that I have only been into 3D printing for a few years, the idea of ‘easy design and make’ is what has drawn so many to the 3D printing community, along with the pandemic isolation and loss of brick and mortar hobby shops, It appears that most of the driving forces in the 'cNC community are going in good direction, I just wish that all of the ‘players’ would get up to the current times with their programming and diversity of MCU,CPU capabilities, AND in that wishlist, I would like them to also to be more platform friendly… Jus sayin!

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