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  1. #1
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    The Best Control Solution Ignores Dollar Amount

    I have been giving a lot of thought to the Duet boards. I have been spending time on their site looking at their products and feature list. I have found installs on facebook and youtube and prints made with this board which on their own go a long way to prove that the frame and its components and their setup have A LOT to do with print quality. And I have come to the conclusion that the best control solution on the market today, and ESPECIALLY if we want to consider bang for buck, but even apart from the dollar amount, MODULAR is the way to go. MODULAR is what the people like. WHY? Well, because when a stepper driver or a mosfet fail(and they do), it is nice to just change those parts on their own instead of gutting and replacing the ENTIRE CONTROL SOLUTION. I mean, can you imagine throwing away your entire 3d printer because 1 stepper motor or idler pulley failed? And yet that is exactly what we are doing by buying an all in one solution where the stepper drivers are integrated, the bed heater is integrated, and the wifi is also integrated. This integration that would seem to be our friend at the time of purchase is really the devil in a red dress as these boards can not be upgraded as the new drivers come out and a simple ~$10 stepper driver burned means you must now spend a few hundred dollars again. OUCH!!

  2. #2
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    So My solution for a cheap control solution that trumps the duet boards and on MANY levels is this. The SKR 1.4 TURBO can be had WITH the tft35v3.0 touchscreen(very special display) AND 5 TMC5160 drivers together from BIQU for $108 right here: https://www.biqu.equipment/collectio...31220354580578 . The Raspberry pi 4 model B 1gb can be had for $35 right here: https://www.adafruit.com/product/429...hoCFpUQAvD_BwE . And the external mosfet can be had on ebay for less than it is even from BIQU, for only $8 here: https://www.ebay.com/itm/BIQU-Heatin...5meKYsJVnSVnUw . This solution includes the touchscreen and latest pi all for $150. And for this $150 you get 3 completely separate controllers. The SKR board has it's 32 bit processor, the tft35v3.0 touchscreen has a whole new set of cool features most notably the ability to switch between the touchscreen and the old lcd12864. To facilitate this the touchscreen has it's own 32 bit controller onboard enabling more features than we were ever used to from a tft. And the pi 4 has been hailed as being able to replace your desktop computer and while that is debatable there is no arguing that the pi 4 is leaps and bounds ahead of the pi 3. While the latest offering from Duet is slated to sell for over $200 it comes with the integrated drivers. No display or pi for this amount. Sure it does have a 'direct link' for a pi to connect or at least it advertises it, but I have never really heard of anybody having a hard time using a pi to run any printer so maybe that is just verbiage designed to sound like it is something better or ahead of the rest when really it is the same. idk. Either way, if we were to add $35 for the pi and the $86 for the touchscreen we quickly get the duet solution deep into the $300 range maybe closer to $400. And at the very first sign of a failure we are either dumping hundreds more or we are hoping to get a burned board repaired and be stuck with that. Cheers guys. I have done our homework for us. The better way is cheaper and we should all rejoice in that. It just requires a bit more thought and effort or at least a little time spent with youtube tutorials on setup.
    Last edited by AutoWiz; 01-01-2020 at 02:19 PM.

  3. #3
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    So to setup my proposed best 3d printing control solution we will watch some very informative and specific youtube videos. The skr 1.4 and 1.4 turbo are slight improvements or revisions on the skr board design and the skr 1.3 setup is the same. pinouts and board layouts are the same. Here is one install and setup video from Teaching Tech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNGN2iSQ5j4 . And here is a video from Chris Riley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duNHOPlh2Pg .

  4. #4
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    Once the board is setup and your printer is printing with the 32 bit mainboard we can turn to these videos for the setup of the pi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnN4HVmjafs . Or here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvZjNSLXAJc . And there are many other videos to be seen with a simple search on youtube for the pi setup and also for the mainboard and even upgrading/updating the tft35v3.0. Good luck guys. Let's make 2020 a good year for our 3d printers. This setup is high quality that is cheap to maintain.

  5. #5
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    And I do understand the difference between cortex m3 and m7 as 1.5 or 2 whole generations apart. I am just a little lost on whether any of those differences are actually relevant to what we are doing here. I welcome actual knowledge and experience on this matter joining the conversation. My thoughts and ideas here only become truth if they stay unchallenged. And I for one love to learn new things.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    I guess that's why the original ramps board was so popular - you just plugged bits in when you wanted extra features.
    Have to admit I really struggle to see why the duet boards are so expensive.

    As far as the pi goes - if I hadn't found mini itx board with ram and cpu for less than a pi b costs, I'd most likely have thought about going that route for the laser cutters server setup. Though as main software is currently windows only - maybe not :-)
    But given that I do 90% of my prints from sd cards.
    Just don't see the need for a seperate server for the printers.

    Guess it depends how many you have and how much use they all have.

    All my printers are still all original electronics, I have no problems running them much faster than most people seem to do. At some point I might do something with the i3 as the firmware (marlin) is truly bloody awful and as it won't just flash, to change it would be a lot more hassle than dropping a new board in.
    But other than that. Why change what works and does what you want it to ?

  7. #7
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    I still primarily print from sd card as well. I only want the pi for the awesome time lapses that octoprint can create. I do not believe in printing remotely. But I do believe in regular electronics upgrades. Just because of how that whole industry is obsolete every 2 weeks. A perfect example of this is I bought a SKR 1.3 board, installed it, 2 days later I burned the board and when I went to order a replacement, there is now the skr 1.4 and the skr 1.4 turbo. Electronics and that whole industry stays fluid. If your controller is 3 years old, it is out of date. If it is 2 years old there is better on the market, and if you just bought your controller this year, odds are there is already something better out or already in the pipeline. Which to be honest really adds to the whole pain of spending hundreds of dollars on one component that suffers from this short life expectancy. The cheaper parts are empowering in that they allow us to stay up with the current gen stuff without being rich.

  8. #8
    to add my opinion:

    the reason that the duets are so expensive is the fact that they are essentially selling software and hardware together. modular is good, but when something starts off using the best, things tend not to break and upgrades don't make much sense.

    i do like the SKR boards (despite never setting them up), and IMO they are perfect for "normal" printers, but as soon as toolchangers, water, second x/y axis, thermocouples, etc are introduced the amount of modification to them vs the duet make the duet the clear winner.

    in my opinion, the skr and similar boards are the best choice (as everyone else here has said) due to the fact that a fully kitted out controller costs ~$150usd, while the duet costs ~$400+ fully kitted out. the duet is IMO indisputably the best controller one can buy, but for the average printer the extra cost isn't justified.


    proving a lot can be done with very little: https://youtu.be/eeYgj3ZIJjA?list=PL...2iULgMxxr&t=45

  9. #9
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    Autowhiz - you're focusing on the wrong thing.

    If a machine does what it was intended to do - there is no NEED to upgrade it.

    Anyway I've yet to see a working iris box come off Brian - what has all that cost and engineering accomplished, if it struggles with a model my all original 2.5 year old budget delta can knock out without any problems ?

  10. #10
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    That's funny because the way I learned it was we need to verify proper functionality before each upgrade. The pause right now is my first go at SPI stepper drivers. Everything works and great with the tmc2208 or lv8729 but when I put in the 5160's and set them up for spi I can only get the first 2 axes I use to work and then the rest either micro step or don't move at all? And if I shut it down and restart again the first 2 axes I use will work but the others wont? I am lost on this and will likely go back to the 2208 until I can at least find some help with this. Don't you worry about that iris box. It is coming.

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