I have read of many controllers. Some specialized, and some closed source.
What I have not found is any sort of chart that makes easy comparison, as if every one already knew all there was to know. -Save for those of us jumping in the deep end having no idea what is going on… I have done a lot of digging, found some good information, but need to tie it all together now. If you would help me?
I see on the Laser side, Ruida and M2. What else is there? I would like to expand this.
-I have read a post conversation by the Admin where M2 was described as little more than a direct slave. Ruida was described as closed source all in one stand alone complete with image processing and gcode extrapolation. Does this sound about right?
I see on the CNC side there is GRBL, GRBL-LCP, GRBL-DSP, GRBL1.1, and Mach3. What else is there?
-I have read that GRBL, for the most part is like M2 on the laser side, being a slave. Similarly The so called Mach3 controllers are slaves. But what confuses me is how they differ. I understand that Mach3 based are configured for optimal control by Mach3 as a software controller, and in some cases are able to use pendants with Mach3. Yet, Mach3 supports many controller types, including GRBL. Also I have read that Mach3 controllers can be controlled by more than just Mach3… So without having both types in front of me to tinker with I am more than a little confused.
-GRBL seems to come in many versions. I have not found a specific source, a developer home page. I would like to understand better about this firmware before discounting it. Also what exactly is its most advanced form? Some day it doesn’t work on 32bit, and other places I have read it does?
Laser VS CNC:
Would I be mistaken in thinking that Laser based controllers are specialized for use in laser systems only? But that a CNC controller can be reconfigured for used with a laser also, just as it can be reconfigured for use with just about any tool head, spindle or router?
The bigger picture:
Developers like Duet and Marlin seem interested in becoming a jack of all, master of none. Allowing users to operate just about any kind of configuration, be it Laser, Pen, Knife, Spindle, Router, or even multi head 3D tooling:
-I know for sure that the current version of Marlin supports several CNC commands, but how standard is this and would it require much alteration to work with common CNC or laser software?
Obviously a 32bit controller if set up right can be faster, have massive buffers, and other advanced built in tools. But one that I have not seen much conversation over, the drivers. I guess the old school drivers are enough for most, or maybe the market moves slower in CNC? Meanwhile in 3D printers we have TMC5160, a nice 60V 20A driver that puts most others to shame in term of capability like Silent Step and micro step extrapolation to 128. The catch is that it needs a 32bit controller. I think there are some intrepid users who have done some advanced things with these chips at the hardware level. But most of us aren’t that good.
-So far I only know a handful of controllers that can out support these drivers, and mostly plug and play.
Do you know of any?