SB2 Mini design:
Hot end expansion boards (stepper driver + hot end power + thermistor + filament sensor), running on the CAN bus, which can be daisy-chained:
- There is an updated SmootheBoard 1.1 with 1/32 Allegro drivers coming out in a few weeks
- v2 will run on an LPC4337 @ 204MHz with 264K RAM (v1 had 64K) and 8MB ROM (up from 512K, I think), hardware FPU, SDIO, and an M0 co-processor
- Smoothieboard v2 has been delayed by mbed's incomplete HAL, but they are making good headway now. They already have a prototype driving the FirePick "overhead delta" pick-and-place/3D printer. They are working on hiring full-time developers to finish the port, and to work on an RTOS port in the future
- SB v2 will come in regular, Pro, and Mini trims
- v2 Mini will be as cheap as possible and have 4 of either either Allegro or Hero drivers, and you'll have to solder the connectors yourself; also only one hot end FET and one SSR/Servo connector, 3 endstop+1 probe connectors, no multi-extruder CAN, extra USB port (thumb drive), and no Ethernet
- v2 (regular) will have 4 Trinamic stepper drivers, 1 bed FET, 2 hot end FETs, 2 SSR/Servo connectors, 6 endstop+1 probe connectors, multi-extruder CAN (see below), extra USB port, and Ethernet
- v2 Pro will have 5 Trinamic stepper drivers, an FPGA, 2 bed FETs (why?), 2 hot end FETs, 4 SSR/Servo connectors, 6 endstop+1 probe connectors, one DAC, multi-extruder CAN, extra USB port, and Ethernet
- The problematic Molex power connectors (just replaced a melted one two days ago) are being replaced with XC30/XC60 connectors, like you see on RC applications like drones - big cheers from me on this decision
- Edison port dropped (good choice, in my opinion)
- Gadgeteer-compatible expansion ports added - you can use these to connect an Edison, Raspberry Pi, extra stepper driver boards (planned), cameras, sensors, LCDs, or whatever - this is like having a GPIO header, except much more flexible, as each connected device gets its own port (you don't have to figure out how to split them up or use a custom PCB to break out the wires). The v2 Mini has six of these ports, and the regular and Pro boards should have "as many as possible"
- Stepper expansion boards will run on a CAN bus (like in your car) with an extra STEP signal, can by daisy-chained to have "infinite" drivers, and use the same XC-type power connector (each has In and Out connectors). Each board has a stepper driver, "hot end" (presumably power FET + thermistor input), and a filament sensor, which is legit as hell. The boards are being developed by Kliment (author of Pronterface) and appear to have their own onboard CPUs, which makes sense, because they have to talk to the CAN bus and send/receive/forward serial data
- JTAG port (unsoldered) for debugging
- They want to hire Thomas Sanlander, famous hardware reviewer for YouTube, to do tutorial videos
This really does seem to be shaping up to be the Cadillac of 3D printing controllers, and I am DEFINITELY getting one as soon as I can! This is doubly great for me because I was thinking about developing my own CAN-based, daisy-chainable solution for running extra hot ends. Now I don't have to!