8 Bit 3D Printer Board Comparison

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8 Bit 3D Printer Boards are becoming a thing of the past but there are some new and affordable options to choose from. These 8-bit 3D Printer controllers can still operate basic Cartesian machines with no problems. Here we will name a few but not all as some are discontinued, obsolete, or are legacy models. Here is a brief overview comparison of 3D Printer Controller Boards we have used over the years.

RAMPS 1.4 / 1.5 / 1.6

By the time you read this, there will probably be a RAMPS 3.9.

Edit: I was wrong… there are only RAMPS 1.6 and 1.7, both built by BIQU/BIGTREETECH (not UltiMachine, the original RAPMS developer), and both are in violation of the original RAMPS hardware license.

The RAMPS 1.5 is a variation of the popular RAMPS boards that, like all other RAMPS boards, is plugged into an Arduino Mega for operation. The layout of the RAMPS 1.5 is virtually identical to that of the RAMPS 1.4. The only real difference between the two are the MOSFETs and the fuses.

Both use the same MOSFET but simply have them installed differently: the RAMPS 1.4 has them oriented sideways with a heatsink in a way that allows it to be easily plugged and unplugged; the RAMPS 1.5 has the MOSFETs soldered flush to the surface with flush heatsinks on the bottom of the board.

The RAMPS 1.5 uses small soldered fuses rather than the large yellow fuses prone to breakage on the RAMPS RAMPS 1.4.

RepRap Wiki

MKS Gen 1.4 – 8 Bit 3D Printer MainBoard Controller

MKS Board Wiring

MKS Gen V1.4 is made by a Chinese manufacturer Makerbase. MKS (Makerbase) are manufacturers of 3D Printer controller boards, also known as mainboards, that run Marlin, Repetier, and other firmware.

This board was designed from the RAMPS 1.4 Schematic so many of the pins are the same when configuring your Firmware of choice.

From the RepRap wiki:

MKS Gen is a feature-rich all-in-one electronics solution for Reprap and other CNC devices.

It features an onboard ATmega2560. Its five motor outputs are powered by Pololu pin-compatible stepper drivers.

The board features a developer-friendly expansion port supporting giving access the same as Ramps1.4.

MKS Gen is designed to be flexible in the user’s power source availability, allowing any power supply from 12V-24V.

RepRap Wiki

Check out our article on this board: https://3daddict.com/mks-gen-v1-4-mainboard-controller/

Rumba 3D Printer Control Board

8 bit 3d printer board

RUMBA (R.eprap U.niversal M.ega B.oard with A.llegro driver)

RUMBA is a feature-rich, all-in-one electronics solution for Reprap and other CNC devices.

It features an onboard ATmega2560. Its six motor outputs are powered by Pololu pin-compatible stepper drivers.

The board features a developer-friendly expansion port supporting giving access to all unused I/O, ADC, and I2C pins.

RUMBA is designed to be flexible in the user’s power source availability, allowing any power supply from 12V-35V.

RepRap Wiki

ANET V1.0 – 8 Bit 3D Printer Board

anet 3d printer board

The Mainboard features On-Board 16-step A4988 Drivers which do just fine for standard build volumes. The nice part about On-Board drivers is you can tune the amps through the firmware and don’t have to mess with a multi-meter to tune each motor. If the motors are too loaded for your liking simply add some stepper dampers, these take the noise right out.

Its operating voltage is 12V – 24V which makes it a good candidate for swap upgrades of other printers. I find this board to be a better solution than the most commonly used RAMPS Boards. The board has JST-XHP Connectors which are easy to make and stay in place well.

Check out our article on this board: https://3daddict.com/anet-mainboard-3d-printer-controller/

RAMBo 1.3 3D printer motherboard

Rambo Board 1.3

From the UltiMachine product page:

The RAMBo 8 Bit 3D Printer board is an all-in-one 3D printer motherboard. It is a full remix of the RAMPS design with the Arduino MEGA and stepper drivers all on one integrated PCB. That is where it got the name RAMBo – (R)epRap (A)rduino-(M)ega-compatible (M)other (Bo)ard.

Major Features – 5 x integrated 1/16th microstep motor drivers, 5 PWM Mosfet outputs, 4 thermistor inputs, digital trimpot (no tiny knobs to tweak), SMPS supports hostless printing on power supply voltages from 10-24V DC, 3 independent fuse protected power rails, LUFA USB, high-quality connectors, did I say hacker friendly …

RAMBo is designed to work with the current RAMPS generation firmwares with minimal modifications to add firmware control of the digital trimpots and the microstep setting pins.

Source: UltiMachine

Mini RAMBo 3D Printer Controller

Mini-Rambo 1.3

For the most part, the RAMB0 1.3 and Mini RAMB0 1.3 are nearly identical, with a few fewer features.

The difference between Mini RAMB0 1.3 VS RAMBO 1.3

The Mini RAMBO 1.3 is nearly identical to the RAMBo 1.3 with 1 fewer motor driver, 1 fewer PWM Mosfet output, and 1 less thermistor input.

Mini RAMBo 1.3RAMBo 1.3
4 x integrated 1/16th microstep motor drivers5 x integrated 1/16th microstep motor drivers
4 PWM Mosfet outputs5 PWM Mosfet outputs
3 thermistor inputs4 thermistor inputs
pwm motor current controldigital trimpot
SMPS supports hostless printing on power supply voltages from 10-28V DCSMPS supports hostless printing on power supply voltages from 10-24V DC
2 fuse protected power rails3 independent fuse-protected power rails

Azteeg X3 PRO 3D printer Controller

Azteeg 3D Printer Board

From the panucatt.com product page:

The Azteeg X3 PRO is a 3D printer controller with support for up to 8 Stepper drivers and up to 5 extruders. It is based on the Azteeg X3 controller board that’s been used by many 3D printer builders. Powered by the Atmel ATMEGA2560 micro controller chip, the X3 PRO is designed with excellent high current capability and compatibility with popular firmwares like Marlin and Repetier.

The Dual Heatbed Mosfets (single control) allows flexibility of running multiple heatbeds and with 3 separate inputs and fuses it’s sure to cover most power input configurations out there.

Digital Pot stepper current control can now be achieved on plug-in drivers using the SD8825 stepper drivers on the X3 PRO

Panucatt Devices

Melzi ATmega1284 3D 8 Bit 3D Printer Controller Board

Melzi Reprap 3D Printer Controller Board

Looking at the RepRap wiki, it states:

A compact all-in-one controller board for RepRaps with one extruder head, optimized for mass production.

The point of RepRap is to make itself, of course. But sometimes people just want plug-and-play RepRap electronics so they can concentrate on the other aspects of the machine, or just because they are more software or mechanics oriented than electronics oriented.

Melzi is designed to be a complete set of RepRap electronics that should be very cheap to mass produce. It was originally based on the Arduino Leonardo and is named after Francesco Melzi, who was Leonardo da Vinci’s pupil.

RepRap Wiki – Melzi Board

Melzi Creality3D board

Melzi Creality

Not much info on this board yet but I am sure we will see this more with new versions of this 8 Bit 3D Printer Board.

  • Upgraded Control Motherboard 2018 Creality V2.1 For CR-10S Dual Z-Axis 3D Printer Creality
  • EASY OPERATE: With USB Interface, Can Work With E/Z/Y/X Axis Motor
  • Support 12V Power Input: The Circuit Board is Optimized By Circuit, Effectively Solve The Heating Problem
  • Control board for CR-10S 3D Printer Creality 300*300*400mm

MKS Gen L V1.0 3D Printer Board

MKS GEN-L 3D Printer

The MKS Gen-L 1.0 8 Bit 3D Printer Controller Board is designed by Makerbase and is a combination of the Arduino Mega 2560 and the RAMPS 1.4 board in a smaller and more cost-effective package than the MKS Gen 1.4 controller board.

It has the same capability as the RAMPS board with the following advantages:  It can run from 12 – 24V for those high power applications, it consists of a single board with improved thermal control, it has an improved USB controller and the connector for the screen is already on the board.

Photo of author

Garrett Dunham

A trained Mechanical Engineer and lifelong tinker, Garrett chose to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo's engineering proram because they had a 3D printer... back when they were called "rapid prototypers". "The first time I held something I designed and 3D printed, my mind exploded. Just hours earlier my idea was just a thought - and now it's a thing I'm holding." Now, years later, Garrett brings his love of tinkering, inventing, engineering, and 3D printing to the Makershop community.

6 thoughts on “8 Bit 3D Printer Board Comparison”

  1. I’m curious about the Fysetc F6 v1.3 board, how it stacks up to and compares with other boards. There seems to be no info at all available or tests anywhere.

  2. Chicken and egg situation 😉 I’m new to all this and is about to build my first 3D printer (starting off a Ender 3) and I’m looking at anything that will increase quality and make it more usable (the printer itself will be a hobby project to tinker around with). I came across the board while trying to find info on the Fysetc TMC2208 v1.2 stepper drivers (something else there is woefully little info about).
    The little I saw of this board it intrigued me though and for an upgrade it’s possibly this or the MKS Gen L V1.0, hence why I’m looking for a matchup 🙂

    • Have you seen the Einsy Rambo yet? I am really excited to try this board out. It’s an 8-bit with Trinamic TMC2130 and you can actually use all the features of the drivers!
      Check out this video by Thomas and Josef Prusa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuvaSTg33r4

      We have tested the RAMBo 1.4 and many of the MKS boards. Ultimachine boards are high quality, last forever and they have really good support. MKS boards can be a little hit or miss but they are great options and there is some good info on them out there.

      • with einsy rambo board if u we use marlin problems accured i read some comments or if we use prusa software than we need Pinda cencor and MK42 bed, im searching mb for ender 3 too and mks gen L with 2 mosfet tmc drivers cheapest solutions now but rambo board more secure i think with fuses etc, last one F6 goot option too better than mks

  3. Just found this site by chance but it looks like there’s a LOT of good and useful info here so I bet I will be a frequent visitor. As for a potential board I’m thinking 8-bit aided by Klipper and as for hardware as modular as possible ( so you can choose your own drivers and mix them up as needed).

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