3D printing is awesome, and in my years of 3D printing I have upgraded many aspects of the 3D printers that I have gotten in. From the hotend, to the extruder, to the bed and beyond I have experimented with many different parts of a 3D printer. However, there is one thing that I have not had much experience with, and that is the main controller board. Most of what I have used in my builds has been a Ramps Arduino setup, or some other controller that is based on the Arduino architecture.
I have looked at many of the 32 bit boards, from the Duet Wifi, Smoothieboard, to the Panucat Azteeg X5 and beyond but have not had hands on experience with any of them. I discovered another board when looking at a few 3D printing websites that I had not heard of called the Lerdge X and I was intrigued. The main thing that caught my eye was the price, at $82 you get the mainboard, a touch screen LCD, and 4 TMC2100 drivers for extremely quiet micro-stepping. The expansion for a heated bed will run you another $10 but for the price, it was much lower than anything I had really seen out there. There is not a ton of info on the board so I wanted to dive right in and go about installing this into my Alfawise U20 3D printer.
For those of you that do not know why you would want to have a 32 Bit board there are a few reasons. With your standard 8 Bit board that comes with many 3D printers, it is just enough horsepower to allow the printer to read the G-code being fed to the machine and execute your print. This works, and works well for the most part but it really caps out your controller’s processing power. With a 32 Bit board, you have much more processing power, and the printer is able to see much further ahead into the G-code. Due to this, it is able to make wiser choices when it comes to acceleration and slowing down which will allow you to print the same G-code quicker. You can get up to a 30% speed increase by switching to a 32-Bit board.
One other thing is micro stepping, many 8 Bit boards are able to microstep but typically it is either ⅛ or 1/16 subdivisions. With a 32 Bit board and drivers like the TMC2100s that are included with this bundle, you can get 1/256 subdivision. This means much smoother rotations and in tern a much quieter printer. The difference in sound by having these drivers is pretty massive.
Over the next few weeks, I will be installing this board into my Alfawise U20 and sharing both my experience in setup along with overall performance. I am extremely excited to dive into this and see how it all goes. This board does use a closed source firmware that I am not familiar with, but to me as long as I can configure it and it has the features that I want, I am fine with this. Everything came packaged really well from Banggood with the exception of the LCD screen that was pretty damaged. Banggood has assured me that they will be sending me a replacement so I will also update on that when it is received.
If you want to find out more about this board or purchase one for yourself I will place the links below: