CNC Control Setup - Sanity Check

I’m building a dual endstop RAMBo MPCNC and definitely want something other than the LCD to control it.

My Preferred setup:
Hook up a SBC like a Raspberry Pi to control the CNC using V1Pi. Use my main computer for CAD and Cam, and uploading GCODE. Use a Steam Link to access the computer from the garage with a cheap monitor and KB/M. This seems ideal because I have access to my computer from both areas, I don’t have to worry about dust or temperature’s in the garage because the Steam Link is so cheap and requires no ventilation.

SBCs are expensive now! A RPI4 is $100 and that’s if you can find one in stock. I have a couple Pi Zero W’s laying around but I’ve read that they cant handle Octoprint/CNCjs. Would I have any issues running it on a Pi Zero W 2? Even they are 4x the normal cost but at least they are available. Are there any other compatible SBC’s that are in stock for regular prices.

Alternative setup
I have a spare AIO computer that I could hook up to the MPCNC t run CNCjs (estlcam, UGS, pronterface… there’s too many options) I wouldn’t have to buy a Pi or monitor with this solution. I would still plan CAD/CAM on my workstation computer and just throw the files on my NAS.

Now I have to leave a computer in the garage which gets very hot and cold depending on the season. I have to worry about dust and debris getting inside. I have to leave my computer on the whole time the cut runs and hope Windows doesn’t pull any tomfoolery. I have to maintain another computer with software/updates/preferences/etc

Raspberry Pi’s got expensive! Should I:

  1. Suck it up and buy one (preferably a Zero 2 W) to run V1Pi. do CAD/CAM from my workstation, access the V1Pi interface and my computer using a Steam Link and cheap second hand monitor.
  2. Use my spare All in One desktop computer hooked up directly to the MPCNC. Just deal with the dust/debris/temperature and hope it doesn’t kill the PC. Not have to worry about buying a monitor and Pi
  3. Something I likely haven’t though about or at least haven’t mentioned.

Thanks ya’ll

I havent looked into it yet, but my 3d printer connects directly to my pc in the garage with octoprint. I wanted a pi as you, but just not available. I turned off updates and installed octoprint directly on that pc. I want to try this with (cncjs, I think) on that same pc. Otherwise I may just try a new octoprint for the cnc.

Id say suck it up and buy one. V1pi / is way easier than dealing with usb cables. You don’t need a pi4 I’m running a 3b and it works and those are normally available at $35

those are normally available at $35

If I could find one at that price I’d jump on it. Even used 3B+s are going for $100 on ebay. Best I can see now is $50 for a RPI Zero 2, but if that will reliably run V1Pi then its worth the convenience. Is anyone using it for that purpose that can chime in?

I think the w2 is pretty much a 3b+ with less memory… @jeffeb3 can probably speak to its compatibility but I would imagine it should be fine.


The zero 2W is the same processor as the 3B+. It would work fine.

The zero w also sort of works. It is just a bit slower. You might want to be more careful to disable the service you aren’t using.

Honestly, I still prefer octoprint to cncjs. I know it isn’t as CNC friendly, but it is very rock solid.


Thanks for the input. I didn’t realize it was the same processor. That’s fairly impressive and my 3B+ has been rock solid running my printer. I’ve put in an order via ebay. Octoprint is excellent and being able to use Polymer with custom commands would make a nice pendant with my phone. Either way I’m eager to try out both it and CNCjs for the MPCNC (thanks for putting together the pi image, btw)

I wont lie though, I’ve also had my eye on GSender but their docs only mention it supporting GRBL. It just looks to have the nicest interface and includes things like calculate the trig for offsets when squaring or easily surfacing the wasteboard.

Is there anything special to using octoprint for mpcnc? I was going to try it when I move mine back to the garage.