Controller wars! – big test of laser controllers coming

Controller wars! – big test of laser controllers coming

We have a big test coming up we have been working on for at least a year.

This has been a ongoing discussion for a long time, which controller is the best, and which is the easiest to install and configure?
Doing a test like this has a lot of parameters, we do not aim to crown one winner, rather showing off what the controllers can do, how easy they are to use, price vs usability, install and handle for different situations.

What we will test
All tests will be carried out on 4mm acrylic for cutting, and 3mm ply for engraving to have consistent results without material differences between tests.
– Cutting speeds
– Engraving, both raster and vector in different speeds
– Engraving options (dither, grayscale)
– Prepared for rotary and/or z-table
– Installation and configuration in a standard K40D machine (similar to a regular K40 in electronics)
– Hardware comparison, what chip´s and processors are actually used on the controllers

How we will test it
We are using a K40D machine with a 50w laser tube, each controller will have two tests for cutting and engraving.
– Machine are aligned after each test
– Belt tension and gantry alignment checked after each test
– Mirrors and lens are measured after each test, to prevent optical differences (in a optical profiler)
– The best optimized settings for each board will be used, either supplied by manufacturer or the community
If settings or suggested configuration are missing, we will test the controller to find the optimal setup.

What controllers we will test
– MKS SBase 1.3
– Cohesion3D Laserboard
– SKR 1.3 64bit controller board
– Gerbil controller (not decided on mini or super yet)
– Arduino Mega 2560
– M2 nano (stock K40 controller)
– Ruida RDC6442G

Many of the controllers we are testing are the ones we are selling, but we are selling them for a reason – they are actually really good, but we are of course open for other controllers in the test too.
Suggestions on other controllers you want to see in this test, or other types of testing approach? Let us know in the comments!

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Comment (1)

  • Eduard Engel Reply

    I’am really interested in the results of your test, since I am now running on a Arduino Uno and a cnc hat with drv 8845’s and 16 toothgear gt2. It works nice for now but see that more is possible in speed response time and timing of firing the laser tube. For software I use Lightburn, running on an old Mac mini early 2009 model…

    Succes with your tests

    2019-07-01 at 12:35

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