Arduino Compatible Stepper Shields available

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Contact: Arduino Compatible Stepper Shields available

Post by ejs » Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:53 pm

There are kits and boards for sale. The Full Kit, plus the Pololu 3 pack will cost you about $12 $17 less than the Synthetos shield when you account for heat sinks. This Buildlog shield provides the 4th axis option, of course, but it also will drive motors to 16x microstepping. That's *twice* the maximum motor movement resolution.

*UPDATE* 1/31/2013
Pololu has dropped the prices on their stepper drivers, meaning you can now get a shield and three driver chips, with sinks, for under $60, plus the advantages listed above.

Additions to the shop include the premium, four layer Pololu Black Edition Stepper drivers that not only look fantastic with the black shield, but also cool to 20% better.

Also added to the shop are power supplies for both three and four motor set ups. Power supplies include 2.1 mm jacks and leads so you don't have cut or mod the barrel plug on your power adapter. These jacks are easily mounted to an enclosure and provide a means of quick disconnect.

I've also built up a clean, grided storefront @


*UPDATE* 8/10/2012
The International Shop is now up, featuring a dozen countries. Orders now generally ship inside two business days a week:

US Shop

International Shop


Playlist for assembly instructions

*UPDATE* 6/01/2012

Hi all: I will be setting up a simple PayPal storefront and cart on my site in the next week--as well as playing with the aesthetics so it doesn't look like my first Geocities page circa 1996. Orders placed on that site will be shipped on or around July 7. If you'd like to be notified when the store is up, send a message to rev3.0 (at)

*UPDATE* 5/28/2012
One thing I forgot to mention about the build: the boards are being produced with 2 ounce copper rather than one ounce, in order to help keep the resistance down and the driver chips cooler.

Final day for the listings and they will start shipping on or about June 16. Once everything is kitted and sent, I'll be taking some time to work on *my* ShapeOko and likely won't be kitting anything up again until early to mid July, though raw boards will continue to be available.

Once again, thank you all for your support of this project.

*UPDATE* 5/16/2012
First, per the tremendous response and demand from the maker community in Europe, I've opened up shipping for the PCB to that continent.

Also, I've filmed the complete build for this board. The introduction video is done, posted and can be found in the link. Everything else is slated to be edited and posted by the conclusion of this weekend:
This will find itself in the wiki once complete.

*UPDATE* 5/7/2012

So, a lot of time has been spent in the last few days trying to source board level components at better prices. I did find replacements of equal or better quality for two items, and the savings is significant, so I'm happily lowering the price which gets the kit below the $30 level. I'm pleased with the current kit, but I do hope to have a new board layout prototyped in the second half of the year. For the time being I need to get back on track with the ol' other job, so I very much hope this pricing model resonates with the community, as I will not have much chance to hunt parts for the rest of this month.

Also, a great find by RedOko--I had had my combined shipping rules incorrectly parsed. They have been corrected so that all additional items should show up as "second items" with the reduced rate at checkout no matter how you mix and match in your cart.

Best and thanks,

*UPDATE* 5/3/2012
For those not wishing to read through the length of this thread: I do now have treaties with all the proper parties for listing these boards, and have community support (and Edward's allowance) to do what I'm doing, which is making sure everyone has the electronics to get their own ShapeOko up and running. Please be aware I use top shelf parts in my kits, which contributes to the final price.

Also now available:

Pololu A4988 Three Pack: as of July 2102, see the storefront link:

Single Pololu A4988 Driver Board

So, for a complete working 3 Axis driver solution, you would need the Pololu three pack with sinks along with the Full Board Kit. To add a second Y-Axis, as seen here, you would want to add one of the Single Pololu Driver listing to your order as well, for a total of 4 boards.
Last edited by ejs on Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:24 pm, edited 15 times in total.
Build it better than it was built for you. And give permission for the next guy to do the same. That's how Open Source works.
ShapeOko # 497: producing the Buildlog CNC Stepper Shield

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Re: Arduino Compatible Stepper Shields availabl

Post by edwardrford » Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:51 pm


I'm mixed about this posting. I thought I'd share my feelings with the community and get everyone's feedback before making a rash decision of either removing the post *or* condoning it.

Here are a couple of initial thoughts/questions I have regarding this shield:

* On the one hand, I recognize there is a shortage / pent up demand for this shield. And any keen 'business' person would take advantage of that type of situation. I certainly wouldn't blame anyone for that.

* Who is going to support this board? From the pictures, it looks like you just took the design files and had a batch run made, without adding anything of your own to the design. When someone has a problem / question about the board, do you have a forum for them to get support? Or are you expecting them to goto the forum or this forum? If you're not planning to support it, then it seems like you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

* Also, without adding your own unique feature / design change, there's really no way to differentiate your board from one made / produced by That makes support even more difficult if something were to happen during your run. Again, relating to support issues.

* What's the status on a 'blessing' from

* I understand the shield is an open hardware project, and the design files are freely available for anyone to use, but there are some (unspoken) rules of open hardware that should, for no other reason than courtesy, be followed.

* The stepper shield isn't my project, and I have no control over the situation, one way or another. People are free to do whatever they wish. However, given that this shield was more or less made for project Shapeoko, I would like to be able to, with good conscious, say 'hey, go ahead and buy this stuff!'. But, without knowing this board (and associated ebay sales) was created with good faith and with the spirit of open hardware at the core, I can't exactly do that.

* Give us a little history on how this production run came to be, what future plans you have for it, and why it's 50% more than what it was being sold for through

Shapeoko 1 #0 - a couple of upgrades.
Shapeoko 2 #0 - a couple of upgrades.
Shapeoko 3 #2 - Stock

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Re: Arduino Compatible Stepper Shields availabl

Post by lasershark1 » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:03 pm

After ejs's response, changed my vote to go for it. I'd buy one of your boards myself, but I've already gotten hooked up elsewhere. Thanks!
Last edited by lasershark1 on Thu May 03, 2012 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Arduino Compatible Stepper Shields availabl

Post by Enraged » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:45 pm

unless it has Barts blessing, I would say no. It's nice to have other sources, but at least take the time to make your own version of the board. I taught myself Eagle and had some proto boards made, it's really not that hard.

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Re: Arduino Compatible Stepper Shields availabl

Post by PLHS54 » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:47 pm

I also vote no, I don't know the history of this item, but it seems like a rip off of the one.

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Re: Arduino Compatible Stepper Shields availabl

Post by alpha » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:20 am

It was just a matter of time until someone would fill the void... I was a little bit unhappy how the inventable kits turned out. I would have been more happy with the approch how BD did it with his laser kits... have everything in little kits and let people just order what they need. I don't think this would be more work, but I think it would have been more profit and something like this ebay would had no impact at all. I ordered the $200 basic kit, but I think if there would have been a normal prized electronic kit I would had added that as well. I would have paid the same the kit plus 10-15% markup for kitting. I think you missed out on $30 from me for sure. But it is not to late, I still need some endmills...

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Re: Arduino Compatible Stepper Shields availabl

Post by ejs » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:59 am

To address everyone’s concerns: these are the answers to your questions. I hope they are satisfactory.

First, my boards will be done in black with a yellow screen (I’m a born-and-raised Pittsburgher). I do want my boards differentiated in case there is an issue; a user should have a lead on where to turn.

Secondly, I am currently reworking Bart’s documentation, which does not fully support the version three board. So I intend to take ownership where I see there is a shortfall in knowledge. In fact, the picture in the existing document is the revision 2 board, and the fourth axis control jumpers have not been identified or mentioned. I’m currently figuring out the jumper settings for myself after not hearing back from Bart about it. Also, my site and a corresponding QR code is going to be added to these boards. In the instances where my documentation is more complete, I will take on the responsibility. Where the information is already complete, I would defer there. I wish for more knowledge and more polish, and to take responsibility where the responsibility is mine.

So, again, I specifically do not want these confused with Bart’s boards.

Also, I’m playing with the PCB files, since I would like to make some changes for an easier build with less parts and, in my opinion, a better layout. For the time being, yes, there is shortage in the marketplace. I sensed a frustration and decided to fill it and hope to make some kind of modest profit in an ongoing attempt to quit my soulless job. I was frustrated, too, that the parts were not readily available. I want to get back to being a maker, in a world where that has become a viable job option, and I know it means cutting my current pay by a factor that will likely be more than half. And I’m fine with that. I want it. As for Bart’s blessing, I don’t have it. I didn’t ask for it. After not receiving a response on two or three posts, well, that’s kind of what prompted me to do all the sourcing and research for what I’m doing in the first place. Edward, I know you guys are partners, and I’m not sure what impact my comments may have, but I frankly felt jilted and thought everyone should have easy access to what they need. I’ve put a *lot* of hours and resources into those listings.

But here’s the thing: for the full BOM, including the spacer sockets (in place of the EMSL shield) would cost an individual $31.82 from digikey. That is with the mil-spec 0.1 mF caps and the gold flashed pins I’ve chosen to use. I only want to buy top quality products, and that is what I only wish to sell. Here’s the thing, that price of $31.82 I quoted does not include shipping on an individual digikey order OR the cost of the board itself. My price of $37 is, I thought, more than reasonable for what I am offering. The proto boards cost me $100 for three of them.

My seller rating is perfect, and my shipping cost is reasonable. The 50% uptick is a function of a few things, I imagine: the first being component build quality (overbuilt), the second is not buying in the same quantity as you may have, the third being ignorance at not knowing where I may have done better at pricing on some things, and the fourth is profit motive. Honestly, at $25 for the kit, I couldn’t do anything with three worksheet pages but loose a couple points.

Please also note, the spacers are needed but, really, still a value-added item that is being included. With the Pololu three pack I just listed ($33.00), the total for the driver boards plus the Shield kit is $69.98 which is intentionally a cent less than you would spend on the other shield solution that is out there. That other solution charges $6.99 for their heat sink package on top of their $69.99 price. I am including it at no cost, plus builders retain the option of a fourth axis control. The other option doesn’t offer that expansion possibility.

If it is of any consequence, I have sourced all the parts for an enclosure-and-cable-management system that will be sold in a separate listing in a week or so. It will include a power supply I sourced. This will all be documented and have the appropriate tutorials constructed behind them. I am using these current listings as a launching point for that and plan to put everything in to a complete bundle in short order for a more-whole solution.

Edward, I have been a Make Magazine subscriber for about eight years or so. I had read a large amount of Phil’s stuff en masse recently, but had not seen that post before. I will happily pay Bart a portion if it would satiate the community.

I hope this response is satisfactory on all fronts. I wish to and will add value. I wish to make the product better. Please understand, If I didn’t start somewhere, I wouldn’t have started at all. Paying attention to component quality with this and adding supporting documentation is my small way of improving the product in the very short term. I have already sketched out making it better in the long term. But right now, this is what the community needs. It’s what I need. I think it’s very symbiotic.

For what it’s worth, doing all the research for this has led me to find a freeware option for Gerber manipulation. There’s nothing out there, only trial versions. Through using a few freeware utilities, I’ve pieced together a tutorial that I plan to post once complete. I wanted to find something of use, and I wanted to give it to everyone who was as frustrated as I was. That’s really the theme of this whole thing I’ve done.

Please continue to post and ask questions.

Edward, I deeply appreciate your patience and your time in building your response. You could have simply pulled it down, and you didn’t. I did not mean to incite anything negative—serious kudos for allowing a response. I have three complete kits--I’ll send you one if you’d like for the sake of your satisfaction. You’ll find it is robust and not wanting for anything.


EJ/as ”DF Hannigan”

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Post by CptanPanic » Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:29 am

I vote yes. He is not saying it is an official board. And I feel the purpose of open hardware is twofold. One people have the design files so they can improve the design, but two they others can try to improve production. So maybe this guy can make it better by just keeping it in stock, or including better components in the kit. But if it just cost more, or sucks then the market will speak by not buying them.

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Re: Arduino Compatible Stepper Shields availabl

Post by MLange » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:05 am

I was on the fence before, but given all the stuff ejs posted in response, I'd vote Yes/Keep as long as it's been modified as such.
Shapeoko #280 (Inventables Batch #1)

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Re: Arduino Compatible Stepper Shields availabl

Post by edwardrford » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:53 am

I'm blown away right now.

@EJS - To be perfectly honest, I didn't expect much of a reply from you. In fact, I expected no reply at all.

Instead, you crafted a well though, structured, intelligent reply. Void of anger or spite. What else can I say? If you are planning to differentiate your design, improve on the original design, provide accurate documentation, and support the 'product' you're providing, that's exactly what Open Hardware is about.

Regarding a couple of things:
Edward, I know you guys are partners
We're not partners. It's more of a 'Producer' (makerslide) - consumer (shapeoko) relationship, than a partnership. I see Bart quite a bit at activities such as DIY CNC Night @pumpingstationone, and I was lucky enough to be invited to ORDcamp, where he was also attending. But other than that, and are completely unrelated.
I will happily pay Bart a portion if it would satiate the community.
I would suggest you continue to contact, and come up with a solution between the two of you. If something does come of that, I'd be interested (and I'm sure the community would) in knowing how that ends.
I have three complete kits--I’ll send you one if you’d like for the sake of your satisfaction.
Thanks for the offer, but I'll pass. When you get your electronics enclosure done, let me know. I'm anxious to see how it turns out. Sounds interesting.

With all that, I'll wrap this up: Right now I'm so proud to be part of this great community. And I'm so proud that the (unspoken) Rules of Open Hardware, and honor systems work when people are kind and rational and thoughtful.
Shapeoko 1 #0 - a couple of upgrades.
Shapeoko 2 #0 - a couple of upgrades.
Shapeoko 3 #2 - Stock

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