Another ZenXY Control Board question

I got a 3d printer back in November with the hopes of building a Lowrider. I have done several upgrades including running it remotely with octoprint on a raspberry pi. After 30+kg of filament and around 500 prints I have the 3d printing down. Now time for the build. I am going to start with the ZenXY first. I have all of the mechanical parts figured out and I am in the process of printing the parts now. There are great instructions here for it all except the control part. The recommended control board from Bart Dring has been discontinued. Would this be a replacement for it? fluidnc-penlaser-cnc-controller-tmc2209/
Or would a kit like this work?
amazon kit Aokin-Printer-Controller-Arduino-Heatsink/dp/B07Q5R6YSK/ref=sr_1_4?crid=2Q98IFWODV5SW&keywords=RAMPS+1.4+Controller&qid=1655086304&s=industrial&sprefix=ramps+1.4+controller%2Cindustrial%2C93&sr=1-4
I have spent hours reading and there are so many different recommendations I don’t fully under stand. When I google or search amazon for some of the recommendations I get a dozen different items with the same numbers. I would like wifi controllability and I have some experience with Marlin as that is what my printer runs. If some could DM a list with a link to the parts I need to control this I will purchase then. They don’t have to be the best just simple would be great.


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The trouble is, the Zenxy is a lot less mature than the MPCNC or the Low Rider. The ZenXY is more of a project.

That fluidnc board looks like it would work. It will take some learning to configure, but nothing extreme.

A ramps will also work. It will be bigger, and not have wifi, and be louder (the tmc drivers make the motors almost silent).

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Thanks for the response. This is my first from scratch build. On YouTube “Old Guy Coding” is the only step by step build I found and he skipped over the controller parts. This might be a good project for me to file for my channel. When I do builds I try to make them easy for people. This looks like it could be a project.

  1. There is easy access to STL files.
  2. There are great assembly instructions.
  3. All parts are listed and available except controller.

I was able to order from here all the part except the controller for $115.

So if I am correct I need a controller board. Do some board hare wifi built in? If not I need another board for wifi access. Then I need a 3rd board to connect drivers to. 2209 drivers seam to be the recommended ones. Then some boards need a display?

I have been writing this reply for 2 hours going back and forth reading about shields and hats and arduino. This one part of the build seems to be a black hole. I even tried going to Micro Center yesterday to see if some there could help with no luck.

It seems I am not the only one confused as there are several threads here asking the same thing but they are older and the most recommended part is not available.

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Any TMC drivers should work. They need to be configured for their silent mode. If you don’t have the silent mode, they will whine and ruin your zen :smile:.

You only need two drivers.

You need to be able to configure it for corexy. That is fundamentally different than stock grbl.

Those are the requirements. At a basic level. Almost any controller will work. You can add octoprint to anything running Marlin or grbl. No sweat there. I have only used the builtin wifi from Bart’s Boards.

The real trouble you are having is that there are a million choices and nearly zero configuration for the zenxy. That is the unfortunate reality of it. I can only share what works for me. I have a Bart Dring board. But it is older and still running grbl_esp32. So I don’t even have a fluidnc config file to share.

Bart has a very friendly support discord. They may be willing to help you. I know I am willing to help you. But I won’t do the work for you. If you want to do this project, you have to get deep into it.

I am not certain. I am guessing here. I think the bart board you linked is probably your best bet. It will have a little trouble getting it configured. But it is using the config file, not compiling code. It will be great hardware once you have it running and it has a lot of friendly people willing to help. Just be ready to spend a day reading the docs and configuring and testing it. I will review a config file you share and help you “read the tea leaves” on your tests.

Thanks. This has been the only thing I have done today, trying to figure out what to order. That older Barts board seem like what I needed. The one I listed was the closest board from him I could find. The Fluidnc seem to be a different type and didn’t know if it would work. I found Barts youtube channel and I am watch his videos on the Fluidnc firmware. I am also on his discord and am getting more confused.When I think I have it figured out and got to order the parts and get unsure again. I think I will take a break and try to clear my head and start fresh.


Bart used to make grbl_esp32. After a lot of expansion of features, and some good reasons, they decided to start from scratch and make fluidnc. It has a lot of the same goals, but is easier to configure and has more support for boards. But not every feature has been rewritten for the new firmware.

I totally get that it is unclear. It is really tricky to catch up with all that history.

Here’s a link to guys who got a simple Arduino Uno + CNC Shield setup working. I agree you might want to get the TMC chips to keep the table more Zen and less NYC.

Thanks, that is kind of what I am thinking about trying.

I have all the 3d parts printed. I have received by package from V1 with everything else but the controler. I hope to get it all put together this week. Once I get the mechanical parts put together i will order the controller parts.

I do not want to have to connect a computer after it is all built to load g-files. The price of Raspberry Pi is crazy right now. I am concidering the Arduino 2560, 1.4 ramp, 2209 drivers, and a lcd with sd slot. That way once it is setup i think i will be able to get g code from Sandify and put it on a sd card to transfer to the table.

I want to have everything ready when i get the cards so i can test them out. It may be easier to understand while doing it. The only thing I am still not sure on is I know being corexy the homing has to be changed.

There are a lot of predatory sellers selling them at crazy prices. But they frequently become in stock at reputable vendors. They are still making as many as ever. Don’t feed the sharks!

But I know that can be a pain.

Adafruit. They are out of stock right now but limit bot buys and resellers so us makers can get them sometimes.

Have you looked at Bart Drings boards? His fluidnc boards have built in wifi and tmc2209s. It’s a bit of a learning curve to switch to grbl after coming from Marlin but not too bad and not having to dedicate a pi to the task is a big plus.

Take a look at this setup. should work with zen? I built one of them and works ok. I used a pi zero 2 W to run octopi and arduino with cnc shield to drive servos.

I think that is just running grbl on an arduino uno cnc shield and octoprint on the pi. I can’t remember how to get standard grbl to do corexy.

I have looked at his several times. The one that was recommended has been retired. I belive i found the right upgraded one he sells. I was not sure how it connected. Can you run octopi on it. If not how do you load your gcode to it.Having little experience I know I am going to need tutorials. The fluidCnc, being new has less information. If it works it looks like the best option being only one component to buy.

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This is the one you want. I bought the older one that takes 2130’s but this one is the improved version with onboard drivers. You will need to get a preloaded esp32 from him as well if you don’t have one laying around.

It’s got a web controller built in that is similar to it can act as a hotspot or connect to your wifi out of the box. No pi is needed but you could use a third party sender if you wanted.

You just need to wire it up and upload your machine specific config file. I built a custom sand table not a zen so if I’m not sure if there is a config specifically for the zen but it’s just a yaml file with about 10 fields per axis.

@Ryan I don’t know if there is demand but stocking pre configed esp32s for fluidnc might be a nice addition to the store.


I just ordered one. I got the one with the Pcb antenna. I hope that was the right one. I will find out when it comes in.

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I will double check I think that have added a Zen config already.

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I went to order the one Michael suggested on Bart Drings’ site, but those are sold out now too!
I DO have this one that I ordered from Amazon. Does anyone have experience with making one of these work?
I plan on using a RaspPi with SandyPi with it. (if it’s stable/functional now?)

That looks like a good deal! I have not used one though and I have little grbl experience.

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Hello All,
I hope you are all keeping well. I’m currently using playing around with the pen plotter from Bart Dring and have SandyPi installed in a raspberry Pi 4. I make a quick video of my progress which might help some of you that are trying to do the same thing.

My question is - i have the FluidNC working well on its own and same with the sandypi on the PI4. Does anyone have any idea on how to get the two working together? From the SandyPi - the G-Code communication is via serial /dev/ttyprintk and /dev/ttyAMA0 whatever the hell that means. Both the PI and ESP32 are 3.3V logic to at least that is in our favor.
Thanks for any advice.