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 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
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
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
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
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 1.3||RAMBo 1.3|
|4 x integrated 1/16th microstep motor drivers||5 x integrated 1/16th microstep motor drivers|
|4 PWM Mosfet outputs||5 PWM Mosfet outputs|
|3 thermistor inputs||4 thermistor inputs|
|pwm motor current control||digital trimpot|
|SMPS supports hostless printing on power supply voltages from 10-28V DC||SMPS supports hostless printing on power supply voltages from 10-24V DC|
|2 fuse protected power rails||3 independent fuse-protected power rails|
|LUFA USB||LUFA USB|
Azteeg X3 PRO 3D printer Controller
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 PROPanucatt Devices
Melzi ATmega1284 3D 8 Bit 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
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
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.