So, a bit more on the new project :
This is generally intended as a drop-in replacement for Chinese DSP controllers. The kinds you'll find in larger laser cutters, and in CNC routers. They don't handle any power by themselves, but connect to external drivers and other peripherals and have very clean 5mm screw terminals everywhere for easy wiring.
This would be usable in any kind of machine that uses external drivers really, so this isn't just for china-conversions, but also for custom machines.
Some highlights :
* This uses the v1 microcontroller ( LPC1769 ), but the plan is to have this be a part of the v2 series too just by changing the microcontroller ( to LPC4337 ) and a few things.
* Takes power from 12-48V and turns it into 5V for it's own logic and outputs, so you don't need a separate 5V PSU, you can just use the motors PSU.
* All connectors on the sides, designed to be enclosable in a metal box ( Which we'll optionally provide )
* RS485 ( Really "fake" modbus ) to talk to chinese VFDs, allowing you full Gcode control of the spindle. We have working code for this ( thanks bouni ! ) it's just not merged into edge yet.
* A special CAN+step+interrupt interface that allows chaining as many external "extruder" controllers as you want, allowing you to use this for a 3D printer, with as many extruders and hotends as you want. See http://smoothieware.org/todo
for details on that project.
* Full 5V laser outputs making wiring much easier to control laser PSUs. Also an optional 5V DAC output which should be even better than PWM for laser power control.
* 5 stepper driver step/dir outputs
* A probe port designed to handle most probing systems ( including inductive, servo + switch, and bltouch )
* Gadgeteer outputs for remaining free GPIO, so this is compatible with the new extension board system v2 will have.
What do you folks think ? Anyone would use one of those ? I will, but if I know there's going to be interest for it maybe we can accelerate it's development. Right now this is a secondary project to be worked on when things are slow on v2 ( which is not often ).