Using an arduino and gshield to run some bigger drivers and motors: ie nema 34

I’m buy a larger router kit that will have nema 34’s with their own stepper drivers and power supplies. I’ve used the Xcarve unit that my son owns and was very happy with how the on-line Easel program ran his machine. Would it be possible to operate my larger build using the arduino and gshield with it’s command lines wired to the stand alone driver units? Or should I bite the bullet and purchase a real controller PCA?

Be gentle, I’m not a pro user here…

I normally run Linuxcnc and a Gecko G540 controller with my X-Carve. I wanted to give Easel a try so made up this device.
Running the X-Carve via grbl with a Gecko G540 controller

It’s based on a cncshield, mostly because I had one on hand. It does work although I must admit I haven’t fully finished it as yet - still have home/limit switch configurations to sort out, plus I’ve been busy just using the X-Carve in it’s normal configuration.
So it’s doable as long as you’re able to work out the required control signals.


Short answer - most likely you can.

You don’t need the gShield as it is just a stepper motor driver circuit controlled by the Arduino.

The Arduino (with grbl) supplies the step and direction pulses for your motor driver.

Arduino also handles homing/limit switches and a few other things.

There is some router control capability depending on the router you use.

Yes. You don’t even need a Gshield to do this, just the Arduino. Though if you had some kind of shield board to solder into it would be much easier. Especialy if you needed to replace the Arduino for any reason.

Here is one that is made to have stepper diver boards installed. In your case leave the chips out and just tap into the control lines.

There is also one from Adfruit. this one only support 2 steppers but they might have others.

I’ve used grble with my sons xcarve 1000mm unit and was very impressed. I have built a 48"x48"x7" router using much beefier stock, 16mmx5mm pitch screws, nema 34 steppers and MA860H drivers. Grble uses a set of unit commands in a init file. Can I modify this file to my units attributes and get good part results? What are the limitations of grbl, move resolution, speed and such… I purchased a Planetcnc controller board but not quite sold on it just yet and wanted to see about grbl. One last thing, I have slaved my Y2 to Y1 axis using the Planetcnc board. How would the arduino system using grbl accomplish that; on the xcarve, they attach two motors to the one driver and reverse direction wire on one motor. I have individual drivers for all my 4 motors, how will I get around that?.. or can someone recommend another setup all together.

I’m using a Gecko G540 with separate drivers for each of the Y axis motors. I normally use Linuxcnc which lets me do the slaving in software but in order to try out Easel/grbl, I made up a controller using the Arduino and a cnc sheild. The cnc shield doesn’t have any drivers fitted, it was just a convenient way to get things wired up.

If you are referring to the steps/mm parameter, then yes you can calibrate your system to tell grbl how much each axis moves when you send a certain number of steps to the driver.[quote=“StephenLedak, post:5, topic:23481”]
I have slaved my Y2 to Y1 axis using the Planetcnc board. How would the arduino system using grbl accomplish that
If the PlanetCNC has the capability of driving two motors from one set of signals then the board does the slaving, if not —
You are going to have to wire up the stepper motor signals to your new drivers. When you wire up the Y axis you will send the Y direction and Y step signals in parallel to two drivers. The stepper enable signal will go, in parallel to all drivers.

This will show you where those signals are on the Arduino.