How similar are smothieboards?

I have a new K40 functioning but want to convert the control board so I can use Lightburn with a camera. It seems the original smothieboards are harder to find possibly due to version 2 on the way? There are the version 1.1 5X generic boards out there that look like the exact same board lay out. Then there are the Bigtree and other sk type boards that are definitely the lowest cost. Also looking at Cohesion 3D that is probably higher cost but there is something to be said for what appears to be well developed. From what I have read I want to use smothie and wonder do all these boards handle it the same? I would like to spend less on the upgrade than I paid for the laser but I want something that works. It seems all have a varying amout of support if there is a problem but you guys know more than me since I am new to this. Thanks.

I’ve upgraded my K40D M2 with BTT SKR 1.3 + LCD running smoothieware for $18 + $25 usd respectively. For so little +$40 for lightburn i now got a completely new and greatly improved machine. all works like a charm, engraving is at about 80mms/254dpi - slower than mechanically possible but i am not sure how sturdy my cutter is to withstand much higher speeds so even though i would have liked to go for Ruida - price / performance is high and I don’t think my cutter will handle the extra punch. There are newer controllers coming out these days based on STM32F407 running at 168Mhz for as little as $40 give or take. there is a flavor of Smoothieware for these processors but I am not yet convinced on the overall stability.

Time will tell.

Most smoothie boards have the same basic features but it all comes down to the quality of the parts and the form factor. For example, the C3D LaserBoard has built in TMC drivers that not only provide better accuracy and higher current but are tightly integrated and can be controlled through the smoothieware config. The BTT SKR, however, uses step stick drivers (usually comes with DRV8825 which are bargain basement) and has to be configured through jumpers.
The SKR (or similar cheaper boards) are also going to have lesser quality passive components (capacitors, resistors, etc) which will mean less total lifespan of the board. The C3D board even opto-isolates some of the outputs which is a good idea when you are controlling a 20kV laser power supply :wink:
Last, the C3D is drop in replacement for the M2 Nano. The config is even done for you already. Whereas you’ll need to manually wire everything to the SKR and figure out the config for yourself.
Honestly, anything is an improvement over the M2 Nano, but just the install time difference is going to make a higher end board like the C3D worth it.

I make the Cohesion3D Boards. An interview I did will explain perfectly.

The interview with me starts at 11:20. I recommend listening to the whole thing because it’s good.
The immediately relevant section starts at around 23:00


Tooting our own horn, are we? :stuck_out_tongue:

With regard to “I recommend listening to the whole thing because it’s good” - that’s mostly because I like talking to Joe, and he’s enthralling to listen to. I’m very jittery. Maybe if you listened to the thing, you could tell :slight_smile:


Since you are asking AND you have a K40 then C3D is the board for you. Easy installation, easy setup and there is active support.

But I will also recommend you read ALL of the FAQ sections on and even if you think you won’t be doing what’s in section X, read it because it’s not only likely you eventually will want to know that but you might even be able to help someone else.

TMC 2208’s in my case.

I have been looking and reading just so I can ask a question. I am retired now but as a pipefitter with an electrical license I used to install control systems for buildings and machines so I am probably a little more willing and able to tackle a project than most. If I was paying someone the C3D would be a no brainer for the reasons Ray said in his podcast. I also know what it is like to have a cheap component cost a fortune to get it working. I installed K40 wisperer for the experience and now I know a little about how it works plus my K40 worked great right out of the box. I am sighed into a few laser web sights now and actually have some parts in the cart at C3D just in case. I must say it would be nice if Ray at C3D would give me the senior discount so I can eat this month. :wink: In reality a slight discount for ordering a complete package would be nice. I will keep looking and learning and a big thank you to all who responded. Mark

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I do exactly zero discounts, ever. Everybody pays the same. I take solace in that.
I like to eat too :slight_smile:

Hah yea I get that. Did I say discount? I meant an incentive to buy everything from one location. I did think of buying the software and camera here so when I do ask for help at least I bought something. Thanks and it never hurts to ask.

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