Controller board advice - A plethora of options


I’m currently in the middle or about to start several CNC related projects:

ZenXY: Jeff’s table top version

Rebuild my Primo: Smaller and more rigid. I’m hoping to cut some aluminum.

Cenzo $79, “little” laser: replacing the controller board and laser module (LaserTree 5W) It’s small and very portable so I don’t want to get rid of it.

Assembling a “BIG” laser for the Ortur enclosure: The laser will be a NEJE A40640; parts are printed and starting to decide on controller and wiring. I want this one to be the work horse Laser.

I have the following 5 controller boards: a Jackpot, a SKR Pro 1.2, a RAMBo 1.4, a Ramps on an Arduino Mega, and a Dring Pen/Laser with FluidNC.

I was planning on putting the SKR on the Primo (it had the RAMBo before).

The rest are “uncommitted”. So the question is:

Which board for which project?

I’m willing to pull the SKR off the Primo project and throw it back in the mix if that might be better on another machine.

Really, I just don’t know which might be better in which project.

Mike B.

The BDring pen/laser board is a natural fit for the ZenXY, IMO. Its small size is easy to adapt to the aesthetic of the Zen table and the TMC drivers keep everything quiet.

Of course it also is excellent as a laser controller and I use one for my laser.

For a laser with no Z axis, it might win out. I still have mine on GRBL ESP32 but I want to move it to FluidNC. If so, the RAMPS board is next up for the ZenXY.

The Jackpot similarly would be good for a laser, for the faster raster capability.

The SKR is a great choice for the Primo. Tried and true, with good math for G02/G03 arc processing. It will out-perform the RAMBo.


  • BDring board for small laser. Small form factor for portability.
  • Jackpot for big workhorse laser. Faster raster processing gets jobs done faster with the more powerful module.
  • SKR Pro for the Primo. Speed, power, reliability and versatility. Also works with 12864 controller or TFT35.
  • RAMPS for the ZenXY. Smaller than the RAMBo for aesthetics, but plenty enough to do the job, and only needs the 2 polulo drivers populated, leaving the RAMBo as a spare for multiple possible machines.

I’d probably go that way


Thanks for stepping through the logic. I wasn’t event thinking about using the RAMPS for the Zen, but I see that it is a goof fit as the machine is the slowest anyway.

I does look like I’ll climb a steep learning curve in FluidNC as two of the machines would be using it.

When I was looking around for firmware I don’t recall if I saw on for the RAMPS and ZEN, but I’ll check again.

Great set of ideas, thanks,


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I run my first ZenXY on a RAMPS. I think this assumes DRV8825 drivers.

Thanks for the link. I’ll use that one.


Yes, 8825’s it is what is currently running my mpcnc.

Hi there, I’m excited to be building a zenxy (thanks so much for the design!), but a bit overwhelmed by the many controller options available, and the level of hacking that may be required on a different board, to achieve a working example. The OG Bart Dring plotter seems sold out (and I’m located in the UK so shipping would have been a bit painful). Can anyone recommend a fairly plug-n-play option? Given that the optical endstops are also sold out, has anyone had a good experience with a board capable of sensorless homing? Other wish-list asks would be somewhat quiet operation (TMCs I guess?) and potential wifi capability (for when I eventually get some spare time to hack on the thing). Many thanks again for all the work to contribute this awesome project to the community!

This seems to be the best option and the one most people go for.

@ram52 ,

If you look up the thread you’ll see that there was a suggestion that I use an Arduino/CNC hat to run the ZenXY. You should be able to get that combination almost anywhere in the world.