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Replacing the 3D printer Controller

sleepless

New Member
I want to replace the 8 bit controller of a 3d printer to 32 bit controller .I need suggestions which is the best controller for 3d printer(32bit) and how to configure a new one .
I also heard that 32 bit controller increases the printing speed ?Is that true.AS i am not myself used any 3d printer.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
I want to replace the 8 bit controller of a 3d printer to 32 bit controller .I need suggestions which is the best controller for 3d printer(32bit) and how to configure a new one .
I also heard that 32 bit controller increases the printing speed ?Is that true.AS i am not myself used any 3d printer.
I wouldn't have thought it increases printing speed?, as it's limited by the physics of the printing process, not the speed of the processor. I would have thought the biggest increase would be in the display updating speed - but that really makes very little difference.

As for which 32 bit processor is best?, one that has suitable software and hardware already available for it.
 

rjenkinsgb

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
As Nigel says, a 32 bit controller will not in itself improve the printer function in any way.

The actual processing requirements for 3D printing are minimal.
eg. A CNC machine tool controller we designed in the early 1980s that ran on a 4MHz CPU worked to orders of magnitude higher precision and speed than a current 3D printer needs. It's internal precision was better than a tenth of a micron.

More CPU power may be needed for such as a built-in graphics touchscreen and other gimmicks which are really better off in a separate device - the printers job is to print!


Your priorities should be:

Compatibility with whatever physical requirement the printer mechanics - eg. linear slides, delta mechanics or whatever, and the total number of motor drivers needed and supported - if you may want to go to such as colour-blending extruders you need lots of motor outputs, that not many boards have!

Then, the controller out of those that has the best firmware and software support. Some types have rather buggy or closed firmware while others are really excellent.
Repetier, Marlin and Reprap are all reputedly good.


Of the 32 but setups available, the Duet 2 looks to be one of the best options. That supports Reprap firmware, and many motor drivers.

Also the Smoothieboard, but only five motor drivers.


This not a 32 bit one, but with lots of outputs and interconnectivity, plus multi-firmware compatibility:
 

sleepless

New Member
As Nigel says, a 32 bit controller will not in itself improve the printer function in any way.

The actual processing requirements for 3D printing are minimal.
eg. A CNC machine tool controller we designed in the early 1980s that ran on a 4MHz CPU worked to orders of magnitude higher precision and speed than a current 3D printer needs. It's internal precision was better than a tenth of a micron.

More CPU power may be needed for such as a built-in graphics touchscreen and other gimmicks which are really better off in a separate device - the printers job is to print!


Your priorities should be:

Compatibility with whatever physical requirement the printer mechanics - eg. linear slides, delta mechanics or whatever, and the total number of motor drivers needed and supported - if you may want to go to such as colour-blending extruders you need lots of motor outputs, that not many boards have!

Then, the controller out of those that has the best firmware and software support. Some types have rather buggy or closed firmware while others are really excellent.
Repetier, Marlin and Reprap are all reputedly good.


Of the 32 but setups available, the Duet 2 looks to be one of the best options. That supports Reprap firmware, and many motor drivers.

Also the Smoothieboard, but only five motor drivers.


This not a 32 bit one, but with lots of outputs and interconnectivity, plus multi-firmware compatibility:
Thanks for such informative reply .Now i am getting the idea thanks.So at the end you means that we would get no advantage if we replace the old aurdino(Mega) and Ramps setup with the new 32 bit controller.And there would be no effect on printing in terms of quality and speed.I was just wondering how to get speed but maintaing the quality of printing.
 

Pommie

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Almost any processor will be faster than the hardware. Stick with what you have unless there is a very good reason to change.

Mike.
 

sleepless

New Member
OK Thanks for replies so there is no method to decrease the long hours of printing.How could i decrease the printing hours for example 6 hours to 3 or 4 hours?
 

rjenkinsgb

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
OK Thanks for replies so there is no method to decrease the long hours of printing.How could i decrease the printing hours for example 6 hours to 3 or 4 hours?
A higher powered, faster extruder and faster, more precise mechanics.
A different, better designed printer, in other words.

Or a different technology such as powder fused by laser.

Or two of the cheaper printers running in tandem>
 

gophert

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Thanks for such informative reply .Now i am getting the idea thanks.So at the end you means that we would get no advantage if we replace the old aurdino(Mega) and Ramps setup with the new 32 bit controller.And there would be no effect on printing in terms of quality and speed.I was just wondering how to get speed but maintaing the quality of printing.
You may (possibly) induce some errors by trying to compile an 8-bit code to 32-bit code, depending on how some code was written. Sometimes 32-bit code is compiled to use one 32-bit register for 4 8-bit bytes. Checking if a byte = 0 tells you no because one of the 8-bit bytes is non-zero. You are best off just continuing with an 8-bit device and life will be good.
 

Mickster

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
From what I have been reading recently, 8-bit is pushing the limits for computing positioning and gaining high speed on a delta.
 

Pommie

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I have an old delta and the limit appears to be mechanical. Personally if I needed more speed I'd get a second printer.

As for compiling 8 bit code for a 32 bit computer, there should be no problems.

Mike.
 

rjenkinsgb

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
From what I have been reading recently, 8-bit is pushing the limits for computing positioning and gaining high speed on a delta.
There must be some incredibly bad programmers about then! What are they using - interpreted BASIC ??

See my post #3
 

picbits

Well-Known Member
I've upgraded my Ender to running the Klipper firmware - the printer controller gets raw data from an external Raspberry Pi, chucks it down the USB port and off you go. Early days but quite fun to play with and easily reversible. The rPi takes care of everything computational and the printer just acts as a bit of a dumb terminal.
 

Pommie

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I thought the slicer did all the heavy lifting and the printers most complex calculation was doing an arc. Can the slicer be setup so that the most complex calculation was a straight line in 2D?

Mike.
 

rjenkinsgb

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I thought the slicer did all the heavy lifting and the printers most complex calculation was doing an arc. Can the slicer be setup so that the most complex calculation was a straight line in 2D?
Exactly! The printer just has to take a string of XYZ coordinates in G code format and move to those points at whatever speed is set.

Our system did virtually everything other than reading G code and the operator display in fixed-point 32 bit maths.
No trig needed for a linear axis system, including multi axis interpolation, tool offsets and 2D arcs.
The first ones used a 4MHz Motorola 6809, later ones an 8MHz version!

(And I'd think a delta printer only really needs occasional trig calculation updates, with interpolation between points. With a CPU vastly faster, it _should_ still be a trivial CPU load.)

A linear axis printer does not even need 3D interpolation, 2D is OK - but a delta type must calculate all axis positions for any move & needs 3D interpolation, but that is still mathematically a low CPU load task.
 

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