Articles, Blog

3D printing review: The Replicape (and BeagleBone Black)!

November 21, 2019


Hi everyone, I’m Tom, and this is my review
of the Replicape. And i know some of you are getting tired of control board reviews, but
with the Replicape, i think i’ve covered all the main ones. When you’re sorting them
by processing grunt, there’s all the 8-bit Atmega-based boards at rock bottom, they’re
just barely fast enough to run a basic printer and often struggle with Delta configurations.
Typical examples of those are the RAMPS, the RAM-BO, the Sangunululonionio and everything
that sits on top of a physical Arduino Mega. Then there’s the Smoothie-class of boards
that use a faster, 32-bit Cortex M3 or M4 microcontroller, with, of course, the Smoothie
# board itself, but also boards like the Azteeg X5 mini that uses the same architecture and
software. And those boards are fast enough to run any printer at basically any speed.
Sure, they’re not like overkill fast, but they’re more than enough for anything.
And then there’s the all-in “more is better” class that builds on something like the Beaglebone
black, which is much closer to the amount of processing power your phone or tablet has
than to something like an Arduino. The Beaglebone Black runs Linux on a one Gigahertz A8 core,
so instead of having to use a separate Raspberry Pi to get something like Octoprint running,
that entire functionality plus the controller itself is now integrated into the Beaglebone
with the Replicape. And the question that usually comes up at this point is gonna be
“why can’t you just use a Raspberry Pi instead?” Any i’ll be covering that later
in this video when i talk about the software side of things, but for now, i want to start
out with the Replicape # hardware. And as some of you might know, when I’m not doing
3D printing… things, i work as a hardware engineer for a large automotive supplier,
and i have to admit: The Replicape is actually really, really nicely built and engineered,
and it’s pretty obvious that cost wasn’t much of a concern when this was designed.
This is some industrial-level stuff right here. So, as a board that plugs into a Beagle
Bone Black, it doesn’t have any kind of processing power itself, and only provides
the high-power part of the entire controller / concept. And that includes: Five beefy Texas
%Instruments DRV8825 drivers that provide enough current even for light-duty CNC mills.
And the output current can be precisely adjusted in software so that you don’t accidentally
melt your motor mounts, which is totally possible with these drivers if you aren’t careful.
It also carries three high-power MOSFETs and proper # drivers with a # freewheeling diode
for each of them. Both of these extra features mean that the MOSFET will run more efficiently
and reliably than when you’re just leaving them out, and they’re typically not things
that other boards use, mostly because, well, you can do without them if you really have
to. The Replicape has two of the outputs labeled for hotends and the center one for a heated
bed, which all run off of the same input voltage, which, by the way, can be anywhere between
12 and 24V. Each of these outputs can easily provide 15A of current or more – limited by
the rating of the connector – while the heated bed output should even keep up with somewhere
around 30A, so these power outputs should be more than enough for anything that you
might want to use them with. Most other boards already have trouble running the heated bed
output at slightly over ten amps, often because the connectors are going to melt down or because
the MOSFET is not properly controlled. There are also three # smaller MOSFETs on
the Replicape, intended for running smaller stuff like hotend fans or LEDs, and they are
run off of a buck-mode switching power supply that efficiently converts whatever input voltage
you supply the board with into a perfect 12V rail, as long as you’re providing it with
more than 12V. So even if you want to drive your heated bed and stepper drivers from 24V
because that’s just more efficient overall, you don’t have to worry about getting 24V
LEDs and fans as well. You can just use regular, cheap 12V ones. As far as inputs go, it’s
pretty much the standard fare. One thermistor input for each heater output, six endstop
inputs and one for a digital Dallas temperature sensor. Which isn’t really something that’s
commonly used, but ahem, yeah. It’s there. Two more things about the Replicape hardware:
One, it uses a mini automotive fuse for protecting everything, which is awesome, and additionally
to the one buck converter that makes 12V from the input voltage, it has another one that’s
supplying the Beaglebone Black. Which means that you won’t have to worry about adding
yet another 5V power supply, like you have to with a lot of the Arduino-based platforms,
even when you’re running off of 24V. So that was the hardware side of things and
to sum everything up, again, while it isn’t packed with 24 motor channels and a bazillion
unnecessary features, it is an extremely well-made dual extruder board or triple-extruder if
you leave out the heated bed. No, let’s move on to the software-ish side
of things, and i’ll start out with that Raspberry Pi question i mentioned earlier
to get it out of the way. And to understand that entire topic, you’ll have to know a
bit about how processors work. Simply speaking, there’s two ways you could use a processor
– one is by simply running the code on the processor with just one single task, a single
thread and without any operating system to manage the resources it has. So, kinda like
a Chinese factory worker that only does a single task or a very fixed sequence of tasks
all day long, over and over again. Nothing else and nothing out of the ordinary. This
is the typical domain of real-time microcontrollers like the Atmega or the Cortex on the Smoothieboard.
They don’t run an operating system and only do that one specific task of controlling and
monitoring your 3D printer. The other class is something like the ARM
cores on your phone, the Beagle Bone or the Raspberry Pi – or even the x86 CPU in your
full-size computer or laptop. They all run some sort of operating system to dynamically
manage a # bunch of tasks that are supposed to be running all at the same time instead
of in a recurring, fixed sequence. So more like a secretary who might stop working through
emails once the boss – the operating system – comes in and gives a new, high-priority
task. See how I used secretary in gender-neutral way there? Yeah.
So the problem here is that, unless you use a very specialized real-time operating system,
there’s absolutely no guarantee that the set of tasks, for example, moving the stepper
motors one increment at a time, are done regularly. For example when the network tasks come along
and want the processor to send out the Octoprint interface right now over WiFi, the task that’s
in charge of creating physical pulses for the stepper drivers, might end up not getting
enough processing power to that regularly and at the exact times it needs to. And that
would lead to pretty choppy movement. So while these processors are overall fast enough to
directly run a printer, you can’t automatically assume that they’ll be as reliable as a
dedicated microcontroller. So the Beagle Bone Black # does run a full-blown
Linux operating system, and it’s # not of the realtime variety. So how does it manage
to keep the printer’s axis moving smoothly? Well, unlike the Raspberry Pi, the Beagle
Bone include a # pair of PRUs, which are essentially two extra real-time microcontrollers. It’s
pretty much the same thing as having two of the processors from the Smoothieboard integrated
onto the Beagle Bone Black, and those two cores are what makes sure that the the entire
# Replicape keeps working in a synchronous fashion.
So obviously, the borders between the printer firmware and the operating system or printer
host are pretty blurred. And to make things even less similar to what you’d expect with
a Raspberry Pi, the Beagle Bone Black doesn’t run from the Micro SD card that you can plug
into the bottom, but instead has additional flash memory on board and only uses the Micro
SD card if you want to change whatever’s installed # on the Beaglebone’s flash or
if you want some extra storage. By default, the Beaglebone comes with Debian Linux installed,
again, the same basic operating system you’d use on a Raspberry Pi with Raspian. Hence
the name. Rasp-ian. Deb-ian. And there are instructions available that guide you through
each step of setting up Redeem, which is what used to be the printer’s firmware and generally
the software that interfaces with the Replicape. Then it tells you how to set up a host like
Octoprint, maybe adding a slicer, and theoretically, you’d be good to go. So i grabbed a Micro
HDMI to HDMI cable and a USB keyboard and mouse, connected the Beaglebone to my monitor
and started hacking away. But. This turned out to be a ridiculously complex and convoluted
process that had me digging around in a terminal window more than i usually like to, and in
the end, things started falling apart and were just generally not working. I don’t
know about you, but not only does it feel like the entire setup could be easily automated
with a script, but it’s just overall not something i really want to deal with when
trying to get a new printer running, especially since not only are there already enough things
you need to worry about, but there is also no way of just testing the printer unless
the entire software chain is properly set up on the Beaglebone.
So even though building on top of the preinstalled Debian distribution seemed like a good idea
at first, it clearly wasn’t the “best practice” option. The alternative being
a pre-built Thing image, which is based on Angstrom, an embedded Linux distribution that
is still somewhat similar to Debian, but this images comes with everything ready to rock.
Flashing a new image to the Beaglebone Black is, again, quite similar to flashing a custom
ROM to your phone. You basically download an image file, burn that to an SD card, which
then boots up and flashes the internal flash memory of the Beaglebone with the new image.
And lo and behold, everything was there. Well, almost. The Beaglebone now offers a web-based
interface that gives you options to configure the firmware settings and adapt it to your
needs. However, there really isn’t all that much that you can configure # feature-wise.
Of course, it supports both cartesian, so the typical box-type printers, as well as
Delta machines, and it does accelerated moves for both of them. And that’s pretty much
it. There’s no automated bed tilt compensation, which i’ve grown to love, a lot, there’s
no automated PID tuning, no fancy controls for triggering LEDs or fans when certain events
happen, no support to turn on or off ATX supplies. So really, feature-wise, it’s very-much
what we had five years ago when the original RepRap Sells Mendel was still cool. Yeah,
that was my first printer. It was a mess. There’s also generally very, very little
documentation about the Redeem software daemon and the Replicape in general. Sure, it’s
all open source, but that doesn’t mean that everything is super-obvious to do. Marlin
has a huge community behind it that has documented every nook and cranny of it, Smoothie, of
the Smoothieboard, has an enormously well-written Wiki behind it, that was mostly created by
the folks who make Smoothie, because they knew that, as an underdog, you kinda need
to do a lot yourself to get things going. And Redeem and the Replicape kinda have neither
of those. It’s an even more niche product, and the documentation is even more sparse,
so in the end, either things work out perfectly and you’re happy with what you get out of
the box, or you’re pretty much on your own. And because this is such a niche board, there
isn’t really anything out there that you could use instead of the Redeem package.
So once things are set up, well, they do work. As intended. However, for a 3D printer, you
won’t, or at least, shouldn’t try to get every last bit of speed out of the Replicape
that it promises to give you, or you will very likely end up with prints that look horrible
when your entire printer starts resonating and shaking around. Basic functionality, it
is, and i won’t go into the details of how insanely fast your 3D printer # could theoretically
move with the Replicape, because it doesn’t matter.
So how much should the Replicape cost? It’s very decent hardware, but it only gives you
a very limited set of firmware features # with that very specific hardware. Yes, you can
run Octoprint and even a slicer in the same package, but that’s all done in the Beaglebone,
which you still need to purchase separately for about 55 money units, so dollars plus
tax or Euros including tax. The Replicape itself is 179 USD and ships from Norway, so
it’s tax-free if you’re anywhere in the European Economic Area, but if you’re not
(hint: the US isn’t part of the European Economic Area), then you’ll still have add
everything that customs wants as far as taxes and fees go. You can also buy a BeagleBone
Black and Replicape bundle for – you did the math – 234 USD. And to be frank, that’s
just way / way / too / much. Yeah, the hardware is all nice and stuff, but what do you gain
from all that? Well, not that much, and you’re pretty feature-limited, too. The only real
gain over something like a Smoothieboard X5C plus a Raspberry Pi 2 are the stronger motor
drivers and MOSFETs, but then you end up with a much more flexible and standardized system
overall # and with 50 USD more in your pocket. Where i do see the Replicape making sense
is in CNC-mill-type machines, where the motors are heavily geared down with for example a
ball screw or regular lead screw, so they need to rotate quite fast, but still need
to output some amount of torque to actually push the mill bit through the workpiece. But
in that application, you don’t need five axis and the heater outputs, but at least
the firmware won’t be a limiting factor. It doesn’t seem like that was really a use
case that the Replicape was designed for, though.
So for 3D printing, i don’t know, i’m just not feeling it. Maybe though, one day
when the software and documentation has improved by / a lot, but not today. Let me know in
the comments if there’s something obvious that i missed why the Replicape plus BeagleBone
Black should be the ultimate 3D printing board and also, what are you looking for in a controller
solution? Like this video if you liked it, dislike it
if you don’t care about anything i’m saying; Subscribe if you want to see more reviews,
guides, and also if you’re interested in the things that i’ll be covering from the
3Dprintshow Berlin at the end of this month. Also, if you want to support my channel, feel
free to replace your ebay bookmarks with the ones in the video description, so, every time
you go shopping through that affiliate link, i get a small cash kickback from the things
you buy there. As always, thank you for watching, take care
everyone, and i’ll see you in the next one.

75 Comments

  • Reply difflocktwo March 17, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Outro track info?

  • Reply Torsten Tiedtke March 17, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Thanks Thomas – your hardware reviews are always top notch!

  • Reply TheArtIsFart March 17, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    never gettin tired of control-board reviews! Thank you !!!!

  • Reply Robert Gress March 17, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    I want more board reviews. From my newb perspective I think its the future. Software just has to catch up.

  • Reply Axel Sixtysix March 17, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    Hi tom thx for your videos. You said your reviews about boards are complete. But what about the radds ? It looks a cheaper alternative to the smoothie with similar clock rates. What do you think ?

  • Reply Kevin Bragg March 18, 2015 at 12:49 am

    Your videos are great.  I went the DIY route and had a BeagleBone Black at home already when I started.  Because of this, I sorta went "all-in" without knowing anything, and committed to the BBB path.  There's another board which is pretty popular, the BeBoPr (the one I bought was the BeBoPr++).  The software that I use to drive my 3D printer is LinuxCNC on the "MachineKit" image.  So there is a ~decently supported group:  BeagleBone Black & BeBoPr++ & LinuxCNC (on Machinekit).  If you're interested in seeing the results (it looks like all other results), I have a couple videos on my profile.  Well… thanks again for what you do, I love watching.

  • Reply DoRu42 March 18, 2015 at 1:57 am

    thanks for the review Thomas but I'm going the BBB and CRAMPS(http://pico-systems.com/osc2.5/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=35) route along with Machinekit(formerly LinuxCNC).  Since I'm doing a Mini Kossel Delta printer it's been a bit hit and miss as I'm learning Machinekit. I'm up to starting the calibration process once my missing JHead part comes in so I can remount the JHead.

    I just downloaded an image and copied it to a microSD card and booted before starting on the testing and configuration process. My CRAMPS board was no purchased from Pico Systems so it was untested and even had shorts on the board and an IC installed backwards. MachineKit is going through lots of updates right now so I would say take a look in 3 months or so if you don't want to spend too much time in a console window. But again, I'm doing a delta and even though others have had delta's running over a year ago on Machinekit, lots of updates have moved things so old instructions are 100% applicable.

  • Reply Derek Pyner March 18, 2015 at 1:59 am

    Can you take a look at machinekit? It's a fork of linuxcnc that supports 3D printing. I would be interested in your thoughts.

  • Reply Vladmir Putin March 18, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Hi Thomas. I am using a Rambo and I would like to add more motor controllers to it. I would need around 7 or 8 motor controllers. I know that right now it has 6 controllers on board, and there are pins for extra controllers. Can I add 2 extra controllers to the Rambo, or is that not possible? Thanks. 

  • Reply Gotta live that skyline life March 18, 2015 at 7:39 am

    awesome you have a ebay link for Australia 😀

  • Reply tombarber69 March 18, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Not tired of controller reviews. Thanks for saving us money and frustration.

  • Reply Paul Compton March 18, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    I'm running a Duet Board with DC42 firmware. It has a native ethernet connection, smooth microstepping and a better trajectory planner than Marlin. Worth a look.

  • Reply labidus74 March 19, 2015 at 4:34 am

    Did you see the new carbon 3d printer that can print from 25 to 100 faster? I know it's not related to this video…

  • Reply nophead March 19, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Tom, Norway is not in the EU, so I believe you will need to pay import VAT if you buy it in the EU.

  • Reply Lassi Kinnunen March 20, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    got a video with it hooked up?  information is all nice and all but it's not new, so review that actually needed you to have the board would be better style, since this video could have been done without the thing itself

  • Reply GROGstien March 20, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Hey Tom (or anyone who can answer my question),
       I want to know something about ABS filament and its properties, recently I was in an little debate with my friend who told me that ABS filament if left out will degrade and will be harder to print. Because he saw while using his Replicator 2x in dual extrusion mode his older (older meaning 6 months to a year ) filaments extruded for the beginning of the print but later he checked it and the older filament had stopped extruding. He tried switching the filament between the two extruders and it still didn't work. He even tried switching between other filaments and whatever older filament he never worked. So my final question is: Is it a problem with his printer or id my friend right that ABS tends to degrade with age or is it a problem with his printer?

  • Reply Dejay Rezme March 21, 2015 at 4:55 am

    The conclusion part of the video is a bit ignorant imho. Especially because you didn't even mention machinekit! And the price is all about economics of scale. If more people are interested in BBB capes then the prices will get lower. There is no question that the BBB capes are the future. 

  • Reply Bao Dang phuc March 22, 2015 at 2:58 am

    there is very ease to follow your video because of your sub, thanks. Could you make a review about corexy kinematic? I don't know normal kinematic or corexy is better. Thanks.  

  • Reply Silas Baronda March 24, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Very fair review.  Pretty much exactly what I thought when I reviewed it. I do like the idea of using the PRUs for handling all the real-time aspects, but I feel it could be done cheaper.

  • Reply Mahmoud Shehata March 28, 2015 at 6:07 am

    So you work in BOSCH??

  • Reply TheShorterboy March 31, 2015 at 6:56 am

    You need to keep an eye on this AM335x chipset all in one board, https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1177488680/bbp-making-your-3d-printer-faster/description

  • Reply Marius B April 14, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Hi Tom!
    I love your videos and think about building my own printer. However i am not experienced in software/electronics stuff. I would like to mount the e3d Kraken on the printer so that there are just a few boards that fit my needs. I found the azteeg x3 pro, what do you think about this as a board for a beginner? I am however experienced in mechanics and 3d printing so basically only electronics and programming are my problems. I want to have the capabilities for many high power stepper motors (exceeding the 3 axis + 2 extruder motors). Also some other connections for a display, controlling buttons and maybe a sensor for bedleveling should be on the board. I hope you can help me, maybe you could even do a video about either the kraken or boards like the x3 pro.

  • Reply André Balsa April 20, 2015 at 5:55 am

    Unfortunately this video just repeats a ton of misinformation that is spread around the internet on various forums and blogs. AVR-based 3D printer controller boards are used successfully around the world to drive thousands of 3D printers at their maximum adequate-print-quality printing speed, including Cartesian, linear deltas and CoreXY configurations.
    For a more serious analysis of MCU performance and maximum theoretical steps rates, see: http://reprap.org/wiki/Step_rates

  • Reply Ciro Rodriguez April 23, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Hi, I have projects that include multiple extruders be it for multiple color/material extrusion or for support material. Which controller board do you think is best for that or what would you suggest to do in that situation?

  • Reply Ciro Rodriguez April 24, 2015 at 3:15 am

    Hi. I have projects in mind that will need multiple extruders be it for multi material/color printing or for support addition. Which controller board do you think would be suited for that? Or what would you suggest me to do in order to control multiple extruders.

  • Reply Johan May 18, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Tom can you review the Geeetech GT2560, how is the functionality and quality compared to other boards.

  • Reply James Cox July 2, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    @Thomas Sanladerer I have been looking for a good board to base a inexpensive but commercial 3d printer off of. Makerbot and Ultimaker base there boards off the Ramps 1.4. However, I use the Ramps and just feel like its missing the reliability and like playing with someones college design project. I am not beating on the ramps cause it makes up for it in cost. What would you consider to be a step up in controllers but still maintain a good budget?

  • Reply Annabella Williams July 17, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    I wonder how this all will change now that the Raspberry Pi 2 is a thing.

  • Reply Mark Lee October 7, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    Im grateful because I was considering investing in the Kickstarter campaign that started today. Unless it is near to being plug & play, its too complex for me.

  • Reply eshneto December 12, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Too expensive solution. Is there any way of using Arduino Due in my Prusa i3 alongside with Marlin an, perhaps, Octoprint?

    Thanks.

  • Reply Kenneth Scharf December 19, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Well it seems that the price on the replicate has dropped to $99, and is now using the TMC2100 stepper drivers that you recently reviewed. Perhaps having the CRAMPS board available for $79 (but it needs the Polulu stepper boards) is a factor here. Now with BBB in rev C, maybe this needs looking into. Iv'e read some stuff about LinuxCNC which is a powerful and well developed package.

  • Reply dumle29 December 27, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Hi +Thomas Sanladerer do you think that with the Replicape Rev B being 99 USD now validates a new look at it? It seems very interesting 🙂

  • Reply Luke Cole December 31, 2015 at 3:16 am

    Great review, Tom! Had to watch this a few times, but it was very helpful. Also, I found that at half speed you sound like a stoned surf bum.

  • Reply jholotan best January 19, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Can I use raspberry pi ?

  • Reply goeland86 March 16, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    +Thomas Sanladerer have you taken a look at the new Rev B Replicape? And the newer versions of Kamikaze/octoprint/redeem? The community started building up after the kickstarter for Rev B. Also, the steppers are quiet with Replicape – it's not noisy.

  • Reply Anthony Cruz March 16, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Tom You should do one on the BBP

  • Reply Halldór Grétar Svansson June 6, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    can you make a review geetech boards mega and 2560

  • Reply Jonathan Luna June 14, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Hey tom another great video, but with that said it makes,me wonder if you are familiar with the udoo sbc it had a spec sheet of the bbb to shame. It's x86 based quad or October core with also onboard atmega2560 it's by far the best option for a 3D printer I have come across so far

  • Reply Krishnananda. K. Hegde June 19, 2016 at 3:49 am

    Am in search of a Smoothie like board with a feature to print from a USB Flash Drive instead of SD Card.

  • Reply Andrew A June 24, 2016 at 10:04 am

    hi just curious if the issues with the software side have been fixed/updated. Its mentioned that its pretty limited with what you can do and hard to setup and the userbase is small and not very well documented "you're on your own".

    Soo being over a year since this review, and the product has had some revisions, any chance someone could chime in on how it stacks up now, any changed opinions ect? the price is cheaper now too as well

  • Reply Wankel Motor July 3, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    It could use another stepper driver. For example it is not that unusual to use two steppers for the Z-axis, and then you are left with only one driver for an extruder after the X, and Y axis is accounted for.
    Or even worse if you have dual steppers on both Z and X axis you have no drivers for an extruder.
    Or maybe you can paralell two steppers on one driver the the axis with dual motors? Or will that mess with the micro stepping?

  • Reply K Danagger July 9, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    0:08 What about boards that sit on top of an Arduino Due w/32 bit ARM chip (RADDS) or boards based upon the Due (Duet?)
    (RepRap or Repetier firmware). The RADDS in particular is very nice and affordable. Automotive fuses, and a lot of I/O. It even comes with a MOSFET output that can drive a 350 watt 24volt heatbed directly.

  • Reply Lars Remsen July 11, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    I hear that their software has improved a lot since the review (but don't know the specifics), and that really seems to be where the train left the tracks.

    Would you be willing to do a follow up evaluation, to see if they got it sorted out?

  • Reply skaltura July 16, 2016 at 12:37 am

    You got a lot of experience with different boards, so maybe do an overview video of different boards of their PROs and CONs, which board suits best for which kind of setup etc.

  • Reply dthomas6184 August 9, 2016 at 3:54 am

    have you had any experience with the MKS Sbase board?

  • Reply gus bisbal August 13, 2016 at 9:17 am

    has the documentation issues been resolved?
    This seems pretty comprehensive or am I wrong about that.
    http://wiki.thing-printer.com/index.php?title=Main_Page

  • Reply Simon-Gabriel Gervais September 7, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    an update of the new rev B model whould be awsome!your reviews are always the best!

  • Reply Atoool K October 23, 2016 at 8:59 am

    guess Smoothie boards are better

  • Reply Retel Tulio October 26, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    I am not bored of board reviews. Keep them coming, please.

  • Reply Sam Tweed November 5, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    i want this so bad but the software isn't there sooo ill stick with the smoothie board

  • Reply Elias Gonzalez November 23, 2016 at 3:30 am

    Hey Tom. Are there any new boards or updates on these boards? Maybe you should make an update video about controller boards! Cheers!

  • Reply Tim Solinski January 30, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    Jo hab gerade mein Replicate wieder ausgegraben mach doch mal nen refresh von dem video da sich einiges in der community getan hat.
    Wäre vor allem cool im vergleich zu dem teil von Markforge weil es doch auch mit nem Beaglebone läuft.

  • Reply Duane Miles February 1, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    I realize that this is an old review, but this looks like a real nightmare.

  • Reply Jason Partridge February 8, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    Time for a re-visit? new software, lower price, new motor drivers….. sounds like it's prime!

  • Reply Urban Müller March 3, 2017 at 12:01 am

    so Can you still use Marlin?

  • Reply Siana Gearz April 1, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    I'd still like a review of Arduino Due + Ramps FD, nobody is talking about it but it seems like a super crazy cheap 32-bit option, but how good is the software, how well does it work?

  • Reply The Mysterious Toad May 9, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    do you now if this can support three stepper motor and three more bowden extruders for a diamond hot end while still doing a heated build-plate, a fan or two, two temperature sensors, and an LCD screen while also doing WiFi connection auto calibration, and 1/128thmicrostepping

  • Reply sportline105 June 19, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Hi Thomas, i recently saw a video comparison between printing from a sd-card and via USB-Connection to a 8bit-Controller-board and the differences in printing quality. Unfortunately i did not what channel it was. was it yours?

  • Reply Michael O'Toole June 29, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    Personally I don't want the hassle of having to install and/or maintain an OS in the printer hardware… I'd much prefer something like the Smoothie board…

  • Reply jamen1993 July 18, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    Really nice video with good explanation.

    Do you have a video online, where I can learn a bit more about your educational background?

  • Reply Andy T July 31, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    what is with the noises at the end??
    Blew my ear drums

  • Reply Steve Kappes August 16, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Have you thought about having another look at this?

  • Reply agnius Mikutavicius August 19, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Great review. Any chance of wifi duet review?

  • Reply Raiden October 12, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    You wrote this more than 2 years ago, can you please put out a update. I mean, is it any better? Or is it a clear path towards the DuetWifi / DuetEthernet?

  • Reply Preston Bannister December 8, 2017 at 1:37 am

    You might be rather wrong about the "choppy performance" issue with a Raspberry Pi. Keep in mind, I am a software guy, with a past history of writing hardware drivers, so this in more in my domain.

    In software there is the notion of "processor affinity". In software we can assign tasks to run on specific CPUs. Linux supports this well. That means in a Pi 3 (with multiple CPUs) we could specify that the printer-controller task run exclusively on one CPU, and the other CPU-intense tasks are assigned to other CPUs. The end result is one of the CPUs runs the printer-controller task, and nothing else.

    If one CPU is doing nothing else, it should be well capable of controlling a printer. A single CPU on a Pi 3 is much, much faster than the usual printer controller.

    The above is a theory. As far as I can tell, no one has put this to test.

    More … 3D printer design seems to be dominated by hardware folk, who simply did not know this was an option, when I posted in public forum. So it has not been tried.

    There is a distinct (but unproven) chance that a Pi 3 might prove more than adequate for controlling a 3D printer, if simple use is made of standard Linux function.

    Of course, then there is the problem of finding a suitable "hat" of the Pi, to drive steppers and the associated bits. The board is missing as hardware folk are convinced … of the same argument you repeated. (Chicken and egg problem, a bit.)

    Also the smarter drivers (Trimanic) seem to support higher level operations, which much loosens the demands on the controller.

    Could just be that a Pi 3 running Linux is more than capable, with simple use of existing function offered by Linux.

  • Reply dury10 February 28, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    Hello Thomas, we are in 2018 which is the best board for a 3d printer these days?

  • Reply Tiberio Cellini March 29, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Thomas Sanladerer Can you put tmc2100 on it?

  • Reply dave walton May 31, 2018 at 4:08 am

    FYI – I purchased a Replicape + BBB 2 years ago from Thing-Printer. The flashing process just does not work. The group supporting it uses Slack and after a few months of being bounced around between people with real jobs that only do support on the side, I gave up. Their only solution was "try flashing it again". I looked into the code enough to make a guess they are not initializing the BBB correctly – devices are missing when the process ends. I fear it may be an indication of deeper issues.

  • Reply Stephen Zavodny July 11, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    Too bad you can't get one any longer.

  • Reply npgoalkeeper _ August 18, 2018 at 8:05 am

    Only 1 ghz? Wow thats slow compared to a rock64. Also, another reason for the lack of using an rpi specifically would be because it only has 2 i/o pins for chip select in spi, which means only 2 spi devices thar could be used without using possibly unreliable third party hardware, or by using UART on the the trinamic 51xx series. Also, why hasnt anyone used an stm32h7 yet? Also, what about the use of actual motion controllers and drivers, all the motion controllers need is an spi interface and a couple other digital inputs, and that might help with speed as actual motion controllers do processing on them. Edit:just noticed the tmc5130's have integrated processors for motion control, and have stepper feedback (NOT CLOSED LOOP, you need a tmc4361a for that)

  • Reply FunOrange August 29, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Sorry for sounding ignorant, but who are the target audience for these boards? Don't most 3d printers come with a perfectly working controller out of the box?

  • Reply Sam October 18, 2018 at 5:10 am

    Who else is waiting for the Revolve to come out?

  • Reply Tim Solinski February 21, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    Since it is kinda relevant again with the emerge of revolve could you do a full blown review revisit of the Replicape in its current state?
    The community evolved around it quite well.
    It was never a hardware problem to begin with.

  • Reply Alex Klausenstock July 5, 2019 at 5:41 am

    +

  • Reply Prem Prasad July 26, 2019 at 8:06 pm

    AMAZING KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTROLLERS ! PLEASE MAKE A VIDEO COMPARING OPEN SOURCE SMOOTHE WITH AN INDUSTRIAL CONTROLLER LIKE THE SIEMENS 840. ALSO COVER LASER CUTTERS

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