Xcontroller's support for 4th axis

The Xcontroller info indicates that if you double-up the Y-axis steppers, you then have the ability to use the Y2-axis connector to control another (4th) axis. I’ve read all about 4th axis on the forum, etc., but have not found an answer to the following. (btw, I don’t want to control a lathe)

Could I use some other software other than Easel with the Xcontroller and control that 4th axis? (since the Xcontroller only runs GRBL), or would I need a completely separate stepper driver board and software combo (Mach 3 perhaps)?

Thank you!

The two Y drivers (Y1 and Y2) are slaved together inside the X-controller. In order to use the fourth driver independently, you would have to cut some traces and provide step and direction signal externally.

Bummer! Perhaps they’d consider making an Xcontroller Pro model :wink:


GRBL has to add support for a 4th axis first or they have to switch away from GRBL.

So to answer your question, you’d need another board and a different piece of software.

I believe the GRBL Mega project is going that direction but then it’s not using an Arduino Uno but a different processor.

There are other controllers out there that will allow a 4th axis, but you would have to switch software to something like Mach III or IV.

instead of an x controller you could buy a gecko 4 axis drive and run a program such as Mach 3 or 4. Mach 3 and 4 is pretty much the standard for the DIY cnc scene.

I suppose I could connect the steppers to the Xcontroller and to a 2nd controller system and only power on whichever I need based on the work being done.

I’d take a look at TinyG - here’s a video of someone playing around with it on a similar system.

I’ll figure something out. It’d be nice if inventables would develop a drop-in replacement of the current Xcontroller driver board that will support a 4th axis. Then they’d need to update Easel as well…but that could come later on if they’d just give us a 4th axis now.

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you may be able to buy a rotary for a laser engraver and use it on the y axis…you would just need a way to disconnect and lock the yaxis and hook up the rotary to the existing y axis. you y then becomes the rotation of the rotary. It works great on lasers dunno about the x carve.