Every automated tool, including CNC mills, 3D printers, and laser cutters, needs some sort of control board. That board translates the G-code command instructions into motor movements. The processing power and features integrated into that board ultimately have a dramatic effect on the quality your machine is capable of outputting. Smoothieboard has long been a popular control board, and now the Smoothieboard v2 has arrived.
The Smoothieboard v2 just recently launched on Kickstarter, but it has already exceeded its funding goal and has more than 100 backers. Three new control boards are being offered through the campaign: the Smoothieboard v2-mini, Smoothieboard v2-prime, and Smoothieboard v2-pro. Like the original Smoothieboard, the new versions are capable of controlling CNC machines and 3D printers. But all three version introduce a number of features and upgraded components that have hit the market since the original Smoothieboard was developed.
The most obvious difference is the processor, which has been changed to a Cortex-M4 with FPU and a Cortex-M0 coprocessor. That has 204MHz, as opposed to the 120MHz of the original Smoothieboard’s Cortex-M3. It also has more than four times the RAM, and 16 times the flash memory. Importantly, the stepper motor drivers have also been upgraded — at least on the v2-prime and v2-pro versions. Those new stepper drivers allow the motors to run far more quietly and smoothly than before. Additional features, such as a Raspberry Pi port, are ideal for modern use cases.
If you’re just looking for the direct upgrade from the original version, the Smoothieboard v2-prime is what you want. If you need something smaller and more affordable, the Smoothieboard v2-mini is for you. Finally, if you want all of the bells and whistles, as well as plenty of room for experimentation, the Smoothieboard v2-pro fits the bill. All three version will use the same firmware and software, so you don’t have to worry about getting left behind after further development.
The Smoothieboard v2 Kickstarter campaign will be running until September 29th. The Smoothieboard v2-mini costs $100, the Smoothieboard v2-prime costs $155, and the Smoothieboard v2-pro costs $277. There are also a variety of options available to customize those to fit your needs. Rewards are expected to be delivered in April of 2020.
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Author: Cameron Coward