Making your own powerful Controller on the cheap side

I’m coming late to this party. I’m not sure how much these homebrew controllers end up costing. A company called Synthetos sells a controller that will drive 4 motors with a USB interface. It’s called the Tiny V8 and sells for $130.00. Just add a power supply and you’re good to go. BTW, I have no connection with Synthetos. I’m just a very happy customer.

Here’s the description

The TinyG project is a multi-axis motion control system. It is designed for CNC applications and other applications that require highly precise motion control. TinyG is meant to be a complete embedded solution for small/medium motor control. Here are some of the main features of the v8 hardware.

Integrated motion control system with embedded microcontroller (Atmel ATxmega192)
4 stepper motor drivers (TI DRV8818) integrated on a ~4 inch square board
Stepper drivers handle 2.5 amps per winding which will handle NEMA17 motors and most NEMA23s
Accepts Gcode from USB port and interprets it locally on the board
6-axis control (XYZ + ABC rotary axes) maps to any 4 motors
Constant jerk acceleration planning (3rd order S curves) for smooth and fast motion transitions
Very smooth step pulse generation using phase-optimized fractional-step DDA running at 50 Khz with very low jitter
Micro-stepping up to 1/8 (optimized DDA makes this smoother than many 1/16 implementations)

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I bought a G540. Its great. I also bought the Ethernet SmoothStepper board as I wanted to use ethernet instead of usb.
Runs all the motors great and allowed me to use Mach3.


yup best upgrade after all the obvious ones!

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I recently purchased the C25 - Smooth Stepper Terminal Board and it allows me to connect more motor controllers. Set up my 4th axis on it and All is well. Except I am trying to figure out why my 4th axis rotates incorrectly. It will rotate 3 times to a 360 degree command.
Did all the calculations and research and its still off. :confused:


3:1 gear train?

I have no experience with 4th axis but there is a motor step adjustment feature in Mach3

The internet has lots. (and I’m sure tutorials)
Everything is labeled (unless you’re talking about using the discreet chips).
Quick google search turned up this:

Grbl’s connections can be found on the GitHub site.

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Here is my 1st and 2nd (current) iteration of my CNC-controller.

1x Arduino UNO
4x stepper drives, one for each stepper, two drivers share the Y input signal


(one driver is missing in this picture below)

I recently completed my own version of the Phil style controller. Keeping the wiring from turning into a rats nest is a bit of a challenge and I’ve still got some upgrades in mind.


Has anyone noticed increased noise problems with this style of controller?

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If anyone is looking to do their own controller, Phil is about to release a Demon Arduino Shield which will take a ton of the wiring out of the equation. Visit his website to get in on the pre-order.


If someone is interested I posted a pcb design I’ve done for my controller :
Foxx Carve

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It looks like it’s just a grbl breakout board. Anything more to it than that? $38 seems a bit steep.

@FoxxFighter Looks like your version has low pass filters on the switches… How has it been working for you?

to be honest I never had any issues with noise. But I ran shielded cables. I throw the filters in because I read that so many people had problems and I didn’t want to run into this after upgrading.

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Just ordered the boards and components you listed. Looks promising.

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He’s releasing a shield in the next few weeks that gets rid of all the barrier strips and has built in active filters.


Barrier strips are $12 (not needed with Demon shield)
Capacitors and resistors are sold in bulk sets, about $10 per set. (Not needed with the Demon shield)
I built a demon shield before I saw this. It took hours to wire. (The demon shield has far less wiring).
I had to jumper grounds all over the place for the drivers. (The Demon shield eliminates jumpers).

You say steep. I say $29.99 well spent. I might even buy one to simplify my setup. His accessory connections are super convenient.

Forgot about the screw shield too… that’s another $20 not needed.

So you are saving a bunch of money and time with his shield.


It is a well designed product that will allow improvements by many users. Any negative comments will just be “sour grapes” comments IMO, made by those wishing they had thought of it first.


My comment was part of a question about the board. I think $38 for an Arduino breakout shield, with no components, is steep. I see you clarified that some inputs include noise filters. Any info on those? Simple low pass filters or opto-isolated? Do you know the values of the filter components?
My questions are out of interest (unfortunately, I seem to need to explicitly say that :roll_eyes:). It looks like a well thought-out setup with his renders.

I only know that it is active, not passive. I believe that he announced that there are other options in the works including a switch to make adding a rotary easy. And other versions of different completions.

hello there, did you have one diagram to conec all those parts?