Tindie Blog | TMC2209 Pen/Laser CNC Controller Leave a comment

Computer numerical control or CNC machines come in a wide variety of flavours. From CNC lathes and milling machines, digital embroidery machines, to pen plotters, laser cutters and engravers there’s a lot of fun and functionality to be found. Commonly machines have numerous axes, often, but not always articulated with stepper motors. These motors or other actuators need controller boards and again there are lots of choices of controllers out there. This TMC2209 Pen/Laser CNC Controller is a great option for a 2-axis machine with a tool lifting servo, like a pen plotter or a CNC laser build.

This controller board can drive two axes with stepper motors and has an additional servo actuation channel which can be used to lift a pen on the Z axis. The board utilises the TMC2209 stepper driver chip for quiet operation. There are the usual refinements of limit switches for homing and 5V outputs to feed laser power requirements. The board has an ESP32 on board and is designed to run with FluidNC firmware. FluidNC is an excellent open-source project that creates GRBL-compatible wireless CNC control interfaces which can be interacted with via a web user interface. The web UI is hosted and served from the ESP32 itself so you can use any connected wireless device – a laptop, desktop, mobile phone or tablet – to interface with and drive your machine.

There are other bells and whistles on board with an SD card reader and expansion ports to add physical pendants (useful for machine jogging and setup) and optional displays. There is heaps of information linked on the product page and for those (like myself) who are familiar with GRBL, it’s definitely worthwhile and interesting to look at the approaches to machine configuration with FluidNC.

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