SmoothieBrainz! – Update on CNC controller project

smoothiebrain - ready

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Took about a whole weekend of work, but Arthur Wolf and Jim Morris had me convinced by the end of the comments on

SmoothieBrainZ! That won’t be the final name, but for now it’ll do, is a little test-bed platform me to develop more hardware around the Smoothieware ecosystem

Some important notes:

  • No, this is not a smoothieboard / azteeg replacement
  • It fits in a 100x80mm PCB so even Eagle Freeware users can take my work and base off that.  Not everyone has Eagle Pro (;
  • Its still a two-stack PCB design – this board houses endstops, logic, microcontroller, USB + SD, that sort of thing.   Another board will stack on top with the stepper drivers, mosfets, relays, laser control, feature X, Doodat Y and Whatchamacallit Z… Easy expandibility…
  • More than 3 Axes and Thermistors.  During the posts on Social Media about my Trinamic/Grbl work, I got a lot of requests for these features, and Smoothie has it, so added to the board
  • In the name of cost, ease of assembly, etc I removed the Ethernet support that a real Smoothieboard has. Useful for sure, but most of us probably drive our machines over USB anyway.  If you still want ethernet, I put a pinout compatible header onboard for one of these WaveShare LAN8720 Modules – if you need/want ethernet, its only an $11 upgrade later


More importantly, you probably have some questions (especially if you read my previous posts in this series)

  • Where’s the stepper drivers?  Those awesome Trinamic’s you were talking about
  • What about GRBL now?
  • Pi Zero? Hello, I thought thats what we were donating toward (;

Well, hold on to your hats (:

Here’s the updated project schedule:

  1. The Smoothie – brain board is now done
  2. Next I copy the previous board shown here to the same base template as the SmoothieBrainz board.  Allows the stepper daughter board to be interchangable with the two boards (so if you like Grbl+Pi Zero, make that, If you want Smoothie, make that instead )
  3. After that, come the daughter boards:  Here I also plan to have a few versions (trinamic TMC2660, DRV8711, DRV8825, THB6064, these are all viable options for stepper drivers. I could also make all 4 versions if budget allows…
  4. The daughter boards will also have the extra components like hotend/heatbed control, OR laser PSU control, OR CNC Spindle control (0-10v for VFD, as well as Mosfet for DC spindles)

Pi Zero?  Well, since the community discovered that the USB pads are exposed, I am waiting to get one in hand (or if you have one, please help me out with a vernier) to measure where exactly these pads are.  I am thinking of making a space on the brain boards. where I can solder in the Pi Zero.  Sort of like reflowing it onto the board (but not quite) by having a large throughhole in same spot as those two pads. You can then solder the D+D- from the bottom by holding Pi Zero against the board and soldering into those throughholes, wetting the Pi Zero’s pads too.
If you’d like to donate, you can do so from