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Alternative, Beefier Options to GRBLShield (gShield)?

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:38 pm
by Schruminator
I posted this on another forum and I'm looking forward to hearing responses from you guys as well.

Long story short, I have a ShapeOko2 with the standard GRBLShield/gShield. It has 3 stepper drivers for my 4 stepper motors and tops out at 2-2.5A per driver if I recall-- it's worked fairly well with my NEMA 17 steppers once I added in active cooling fans.

I think I have access to some free NEMA 23 steppers and would be looking to upgrade at least my X and Y axis. I'd like to find a stepper driver than has 4 separate drivers (even if one is slaved to another) for my 4 stepper motors so I don't have to wire two motors to one driver, and the more amps it is capable of, the better. I'd like to stick with GRBL based solutions if possible (as I'm familiar with it and it has worked well for me), but I am open to other ideas-- I can adapt if it is worth it. I do not have a serial port available, so functioning via a USB connection is a must at this point.

Do you folks have any suggestions? I have seen the Gradus M1 Pro online (and I believe Will Adam's review on it), though I have yet to see a source for the 4 amp drivers they are promising. What are your thoughts-- what options out there would you recommend?

Re: Alternative, Beefier Options to GRBLShield (gShield)?

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:51 pm
by WillAdams
Actually, that was John Ellenberger who wrote up:

and was kind enough to do the testing I never got around to. It's one of the best currently available options I think. There are some cool new things on Kickstarter, and there's always a Smoothieboard.

Re: Alternative, Beefier Options to GRBLShield (gShield)?

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:54 pm
by Schruminator
The Gradus looks like a good option, though I have emailed them regarding the ability to update the grbl on it down the road-- as well as the availability of the 4A drivers and have not heard anything back.

In the meantime, I'll pencil down a note to look more into the Smoothie board, thank you.

Edit: At quick glance, it looks like the SmoothieBoard may max out at 2A per driver. I'll have to see what the specs are on the NEMA 23 motors once I get my hands on them, but I may be wanting a bit more power, hrrmph. The search continues...

Re: Alternative, Beefier Options to GRBLShield (gShield)?

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:36 pm
by Brian Stone
I highly recommend Inventable's X-Controller, which is an Arduino GRBL based controller that can supply 4 Amps per motor. When I upgraded my 500mm Shapeoko 2 to a 1500x1000mm beast I replaced all the motors with 2.8 Amp NEMA-23's. The the little GShield couldn't handle it, but the X-Controller works great. And it has a built-in instant-pause button, which works beautifully. It's bit on the expensive side, but well worth it.

Re: Alternative, Beefier Options to GRBLShield (gShield)?

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:36 pm
by WillAdams
Or maybe the Buildbotics? ... ontroller/ ... at_the_ox/ ... r/dmo53fa/
It can do up to 36V at 6A per channel with a total limit of 25A. Our drivers are particularly good. Low-jitter stepping makes a big difference. Depending on your existing step generation you may get way more torque with this controller. The Buildbotics controller can drive pretty much any NEMA 17s or 24s and some 34s with some limits on inductance and coil resistance. But, yeah higher voltage is a good way to go. We plan to create a 50v 2.0 version. Let me know if you have any more questions.