Just need a controller recommendation

So, I am at the point that I am tired of reading, I am at the point of starting assembly, I cashed in some favors and had friends print my parts and hook me up with 1" stainless. Because of that I have decided to put my money into my controller.

I want to use my MPCNC for all the cool things I’m seeing here, 3d, Milling/routing, Laser, drag knife. and be able to easily change between them, hopefully quick and painless.

I want to buy it right the first time, so I guess I also want the ability to have end stops should I choose to. (honestly, if they can prevent damage to my machine, why not, sure, a little money up front, can save some time, money, and headaches down the road)

From the 32 bit perspective, the Duet is main design intent is 3D printing, whereas Smoothieboard checks all the boxes. (not saying that the duet isn’t capable, just not purpose built for milling etc)

The Mini Rambo can’t do endstops, But I do think it shouldn’t be overlooked at $85, the Einsy Rambo is the new kid on the block, and looks interesting.

I have noticed that both Prusa and lulzbot have both used the Rambo and/or Mini Rambo in their commercially sold machines. (that does say a lot, to myself anyways)

About the only thing I see good about Ramps is the ability to change drivers.

I have ruled out Panucatt, as it appears their support is non-existent.

So I am mainly looking at the fullsize Rambo, and the Smoothieboard but not ruling anything out at this point.


Anyone want to help me steer this ship?




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I do have to add, Both the Duet and Smoothie documentation are incredible, and their support appear to be a real plus.

I think people overlook this when knocking the price of those boards

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This has come up a lot lately. So a quick summary.

I have the option to use any board from UltiMachine, and I still chose the Rambo. If I add a board it will be the Archim 1 (32bit Rambo), No trinamics anytime soon, pretty complicated, still under heavy development, and no features I could see us using that are worth all the tuning. Einsy…no dual endstops and trinamics.

As for smoothie, I have very limited experience. I don’t see anything vastly different other than one more derivative in it’s acceleration calcs. So for me I stick with Marlin because I know I can make it do exactly what I want and the development network is huge and very active. In the early days when I had more time to experiment I could not a get a genuine smoothie board and there was massive drama around using an import (even though it is open source) so I opted out after I gave it a quick try. I haven’t really looked into it since then.

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Rambo full size is pretty much the conclusion I came to, just wanted to hear it from someone else. Maybe once I am up and running, I can get the Sbase to mess around with.

Is there a way to store machine profiles for Milling, printing, lasering etc? Or will I have to re-flash each time I want to change operations? From what I have read, I know Prusa has them based on what material you want to print with eg; pla, abs etc.


I have googled to see what all the controversy is about, and am not able to find much, other than what sounds like proper credit being given. I notice what seems to be some industry/community politics going on between Smoothieboard and Duet, not sure what’s behind that, but I have more important things to worry about.


Usually no changes are needed, your Gcode usually takes care of it…sometimes you need to re-flash to change a laser pin but don;t worry about that until you get there.

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Fwiw, my smoothieboard is working fine as the controller for my MPCNC. I’d not have used it if I didn’t already own it (it WAS expensive). I ran my 1st 3d printer with it and my friend who had the same printer from the same kit, but used ramps could never get prints as good as mine. Of course, this may have had nothing to do with the smoothieboard.


If you buy a 3rd party board (as opposed to an official one) the smoothie forums won’t want to help you. They have a point, the 3rd party boards are derivative works not following their licensing rules properly…


Smoothie forums are really good (of course, not as good as these MPCNC forums). :slight_smile:

Is anyone switching between 3d printing, milling and lasering? I feel that it would be much better to just build multiple machines… I want to build a 2nd MPCNC with a cheap set of Ramps components for drag knife use. The machine I use for milling is REALLY messy and I wouldn’t want all that dust getting all over my 3d printer stuff or laser stuff. I use a shop vac while milling but don’t have proper dust collection and I’m not sure it would ever really cut down on enough dust to think I’d want to switch around the purpose of the machine.

I’d think a good blowjob with an air compressor or canned air could get it clean enough with a lot less effort than building a whole new machine. Unless you have enough projects going on that you would want them going simultaneously.

My vote is for multiple machines… I am still running 3 different machines all with old ramps boards. I am getting ready to build another machine for the new ‘shed’ we have put up a couple months back. I tend to find that my 3d printers sit with nothing to do so I print mpcnc parts for rainy days :slight_smile:


I would think using the same machine for milling and laser wouldn't be an issue. I plan to once I get around to doing the laser bit. Hopefully sometime this year. But I agree you would probably be better off if possible to build a separate machine for 3d printing. I would think you could use the drag knife as well on the milling/laser machine. I just think its best to keep 3d printing to its own machine due to being clean but also difference is z axis length. You could do it all on one machine but all but the 3d printing would benefit most from a short rigid Z axis.

And here’s where the train runs off the tracks, lmao

when I discovered MPCNC I was really looking for a diy CBC router/mill, I think I actually first discovered mocnc in the openbuilds forums, I just love the versatility of the mpcnc, but my train of thought was to build the mpcnc, and use it to mill the plates to to an openbuilds ox or something. As I see it, milling is the weak spot for the mpcnc. Maybe weak isn’t the right word…

anyways I do foresee multiple machines in my future.

Now I just need to make a jig to transform some of my 8020 into v slot!