Print board? Main board?

Print board? Main board?

Postby dlw » 2016-Oct-Mon-08-Oct

Is the print board offered by Printrbot for the Simple Metal the only one available?
If so, any recommendations appreciated.

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Print board? Main board?

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Re: Print board? Main board?

Postby RetireeJay » 2016-Oct-Mon-08-Oct

The design of the Printrboard is Open Source, so there are clone Printrboards, but exercise caution. Not all Printrboards are built with the same quality of copper plating on the board, or the same quality components. Many of the clones will be Rev D, but there really are significant improvements in the Rev F5 boards, making them more resistant to damage and somewhat easier to use. See viewtopic.php?f=21&t=10715&p=69152

You can also abandon the Printrboard universe completely and use a RAMPS setup. Thawkins, in particular, has posted about the advantages of doing this. A lot depends on how comfortable you are - and your desire to - "roll your own" version of the firmware and install it in your printer. Apparently the RAMPS setup makes doing this a little easier than the Printrboard. But if you don't want to get involved in configuring and compiling your own version of Marlin, then the Printrboard may be the better choice.
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Re: Print board? Main board?

Postby Mooselake » 2016-Oct-Mon-09-Oct

Well, that's becoming a complicated answer...

The Simple Metal has an AVR AT90USB1280 MCU (MicroControllerUnit) as a processor, the same device that's been in Printrboards since the first one. Every Printrboard has used this processor, with changes in the onboard connectors, and some extra goodies (like the programmable current setting resistors in the Rev F).

They've been dropping clues about a different processor in their Printrboard V2 (or whatever they're going to call it) that will use a substantially different ARM processor (the same family as most smartphone processors) and total different firmware based on TinyG2, the ARM version of TinyG. TinyG2 has been talked about for a long time, Synthos announced (and afaik) never shipped a board for it although there is a Due port, amazing goodies and wonderfullness for all. TinyG(2) has a better form of motion control than Marlin/et al, where not only does it add acceleration (the early reprap firmwares didn't accelerate, they started off at whatever speed was configured) it adds accelerating acceleration where the rate of acceleration will change as the device moves, which leads to (supposedly) smoother motion and faster speeds. I've read about it for quite a while; higher order motion control isn't limited to TinyG(2).

However, TinyG(2) is designed for CNC machines, and not RepRap 3D printers, with the extra heater devices, the strange handling of the added "E" axis, and the reinterpretation of portions of the RS-274X G code specification. Pure speculation, but the difference between Marlin (Repetier, etc) and TinyG(2) might be why the new Printrboard has never made an appearance in Printrbot's shop. Their software staff could have a touch of Dunning-Kruger, as in the slang phrase "Bitten off more than they can chew". SInce they now have the equipment to stuff boards in-house the new board should have appeared by now if it was working.

Side comment, the Monoprice Mini $200 Play equivalent, does have a closed source ARM controller that reportedly works well, and must be pretty cheap to work in a $200 device.

This may be more answer than you wanted; Printrbot sells the Printrboard pre-configured with different firmware and configuration settings for some of it's past and current models including the simple metal. If you need a new board that's your best choice. Depends on whether you just want to print, or if you want to wander off into the vast geeky wasteland of tinkering with controllers and firmware.

And I see that RJ types faster than I do...

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Re: Print board? Main board?

Postby dlw » 2016-Nov-Tue-13-Nov

Thanks for replying guys.
I'll order from Printrbot.
I have enough on my plate without unnecessarily taking on more.

Thanks again,
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