Make Awesome, Win Smoothieboard

If you haven’t looked around the RepRap project in a while, you probably haven’t heard about the Smoothieboard. It’s an extremely unique electronics board for 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC machines that is trying to get away from Atmel and AVR microcontrollers and towards more powerful ARM micros. On the Smoothieboard, you’ll find enough five motor drivers, six big ‘ol MOSFETs for hot ends, fans, and beds, enough thermistor inputs for just about anything, and an Ethernet jack, because all 3D printers should be able to run headless.

The team behind the Smoothieboard has decided there’s not enough awesome included in the Smoothieboard already. To fix this, they’re opening up a contest where coders, documentarians, graphic artists, and creatives of all types can contribute to the Smoothieboard project. What’s the prize? A Smoothieboard, duh.

The Smoothieboard team is looking for a few good coders, builders, or anyone else to contribute to the Smoothieboard project. If you have an idea that would work with the Smoothieboard – a web interface like Octoprint running on the Smoothieboard, better documentation, graphics, or just want to build a five-axis CNC mill, this is where you sign up. The prize is a Smoothieboard 5XC, the top of the line board with five motor drivers.

Of course you’re always welcome to not contribute to open source projects, and for those consummate consumers, we have the Smoothieboard 5XC available in the Hackaday Store.

You have until February 15th to come up with a great project idea for a Smoothieboard. The best 30 project ideas will be chosen, and those projects will get a Smoothieboard. Actually building a project in a month isn’t a condition of the contest; the best idea wins.

21 thoughts on “Make Awesome, Win Smoothieboard

    1. Well, I’m not sure you can just blanket say “it’s better” like that. If you say that it’s probably better for you, but that doesn’t mean it is for everybody. The BeagleBone sure has more computing power. But users say Smoothie is much easier to configure for example, and it brings together multiple communities, and things like that.
      They are two different projects, no reason to be mean.

      Also about price, Smoothieboard is actually slightly less expensive for 4 axes if you factor in shipping prices, and a tad more expensive for 5 axes.

    2. I took a really hard look at both options several months ago and chose the smoothie.
      It had better documentation, support, and the code is beautiful. I also needed a lot of additional pins which was easier to pull out of the smoothie (although still kind of ugly).

    3. I also had to decide between MachineKit and Smoothie, I went with Smoothie. In retrospect I’m not 100% sure it was the correct choice. Seems like the software has problems and some of the core devs are quite hostile towards contributors. Some useful CNC features like “pause gcode, jog the head to e.g. replace endmill, resume gcode” will probably never be seen on Smoothie, while MachineKit/LinuxCNC apparently has them already.

      1. Hey jpa !

        Jim is not really hostile, he’s more like a guardian. Contributions are very welcome, we just have to make sure we let them in in a way that keeps the code base sane.
        “pause gcode, jog the head to e.g. replace endmill, resume gcode” is currently being implemented, and there is pretty much no major feature we wouldn’t accept into the firmware.
        It’s just that -some- features have to be implemented correctly before -some- others can be accepted.

        Your contribution of the Spindle module was -very- welcome ! Thank you for that.
        Jim can be strict about the quality of things that come in, and ask people to modify their code before it’s merged, but I think in the long run it’s a good thing.

        And the contest itself, I think, is proof that we want more contributions.

  1. I read recently that ARM microcontrollers are not significantly more expensive than AVRs. Why is it that we have not seen some intro level arduino ARM boards that are comparatively cheap(the teensy excluded of course)?

  2. I remember looking at the Smoothieboard back when I was converting a DC-K40 laser. I went with a quicker and more familiar solution but good to see it’s still going. The contest sounds like a great idea. A bit of momentum could take it from a good to a great project.

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