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El cheapo controller

Posted by RickRap 
El cheapo controller
May 01, 2015 12:57AM
I am putting together a class where the students will build a 3D printer (of our design). I'd like to keep the total cost of the machine around $300. Wholesale pricing on hardware isn't a problem. But I would like to find an extremely simple, basic controller board. It doesn't have to be fast. It will only need headers for 4 steppers, hotend, and fan. Should be easily configurable via marlin or similar. The main concern is that I will need to be able to buy these in quantity of 8-10 at a time. Many of the controllers I've looked at seem to be sold out.

I would like to find a RAMPS board that has the automotive fuse in place of the stock fuse.

any suggestions?
Re: El cheapo controller
May 01, 2015 05:04AM
"easily configurable" and "marlin" are mutually exclusive. But marlin isn't all that hard to configure, and the only very low-cost boards are the Arduino Mega/RAMPS clones. So that is what you will probably get. What is it that you have against the 11A polyfuse: are you looking to run the heated bed at more than 16V, or more than 11A?

Large delta printer [miscsolutions.wordpress.com], E3D tool changer, Robotdigg SCARA printer, Crane Quad and Ormerod

Disclosure: I design Duet electronics and work on RepRapFirmware, [duet3d.com].
Re: El cheapo controller
May 01, 2015 03:41PM
Are the students building the printer for themselves? If so, I imagine the standard RAMPS package, even without the auto fuse, would be a great choice as they could always reuse the Mega board for another project afterwards.

If they are building it for the school, I wonder if perhaps you shouldn't invest in 32-bit boards which should last (technologically speaking) longer and there would be more room for future projects down the road.
Re: El cheapo controller
May 01, 2015 09:08PM
Only ramps I know of with car fuses is [shop.germanreprap.com]

but it is not cheap!

Is open source though, so potentualy you could build your own and maybe mass produce them to get them cheaper

Only thing I dont like about this board is that the caps are only 16v, so you cant run a 24v steppers on this without replaceing those caps.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2015 09:12PM by Dust.
Re: El cheapo controller
May 01, 2015 11:42PM
For el-cheapo and quantity, I suggest that you can't beat RAMPS+Mega from aliexpress e.g. $19.20 incl shipping But beware that shipping times can be a month or more, unless you're prepared to pay high shipping fees.

[Edited to remove link to "too good to believe, yet I did eye rolling smiley" price, and replace it with a realistic one... my apologies to any who was misled]
But if you buy 10 or more, you would get them cheaper. e.g. 5 * Mega + RAMPS for $15.00 each.

Actually, I myself wouldn't buy from this particular seller, just because he hasn't got any history at AliExpress and I've had some bad experiences with incredibly cheap orders that weren't shipped. I've never lost any money, but have wasted months waiting for something to arrive. But I'm sure if you look around you'll find a price only a few cents dearer from someone with a good history.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/03/2015 07:13PM by frankvdh.
Re: El cheapo controller
May 02, 2015 02:56AM

Watch out, your link is not for 13 complete packages, but it's only for one single package that consists of the usual 13 pieces (averaging 2.59$ a piece):
packing list:
LCD 2004 controller *1pcs
Mega2560 R3 *1pcs
RAMPS 1.4 Controller *1pcs
A4988 Stepper Driver Module  *5pcs
Heat sinks *5pcs
Re: El cheapo controller
May 02, 2015 04:03AM
you're right. I shouldn't worry about the fuse. There will not be a heated bed on these printers though I suppose people may want to add one later. But that's beside the point.

This is an extension class for hobbyists.

RAMPS it is.

Though I have seen Printrbot clone controllers for about $65. Though I can't seem to find anyone with them in stock.

I may go with the alie/alibaba route. The class starts in September.
Re: El cheapo controller
May 03, 2015 07:08PM

Watch out, your link is not for 13 complete packages, but it's only for one single package that consists of the usual 13 pieces (averaging 2.59$ a piece):

Eek! You're right... AliExpress is a bit Wild West, with some risk to the careless. I'll amend my earlier post.
Re: El cheapo controller
May 04, 2015 02:51AM
It may be easier to buy via eBay (most likely the same suppliers). I ordered a RAMPS board for $7.00 with 5x polulu drivers @ $12.00
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