Lately, new drivers for the engines of our 3D printers are appearing on the market, which can cause some confusion among the newest users. So we are going to make a small guide to know the main types of controllers and their main characteristics.
Originally designed and manufactured by the American company Pololu, its use is widespread in 3D printing. Its main advantage is its low cost, and its correct operation in 3D printing conditions. Its main disadvantages are: noise, higher than other controllers, and that the work intensity is relatively low, so there are better performance options.
They have a resolution of up to 1/16 micropasses, so they are very suitable for 8-bit electronics.
Perhaps the best quality / price option, with a sound level much lower than the A4988. The DRV8825 are also more thermally efficient, and remain very economical. On the negative side, in very specific circumstances they can add some "noise" in certain 3D prints, in the vast majority of circumstances this is invaluable, but in 2018 a certain stir was created in this regard, today they are still an acceptable option for printers with content price.
They have a resolution up to 1/32 micropasses, it is still suitable for Cartesian 3D printers with 8-bit electronics, for other movements and/or very fast speeds it may be convenient to reduce the resolution.
More advanced controllers than the previous ones, can handle currents of considerably high currents, and reach resolutions up to 1/128. They are very efficient, and can move the engines with considerable force. But to take advantage of its full potential it is advisable to use 32-bit electronics, since the 8 bits fall short, in this case it is convenient to configure at a lower resolution.
For 32 bits we can use the resolution of up to 1/128 micro steps, in 8 bits it is convenient to install configured to 1/32.
Trinamic Motion Control, is a German manufacturer of motion control systems, such as controllers and other devices. Their products are revolutionizing the movement of 3D printers, due to their revolutionary solutions, features never before seen in drivers for 3D printers of this price range, such as:
- Step Loss Detection
- Silent operation mode
- Different operating protocols (STP / UART)
- Interpolation of micropasses.
- Backward compatibility with STEP / DIR
The most popular are the TMC2130, since they incorporate all these functions with excellent value for money, but there are other versions, in fact the catalog is very wide, and new models are appearing that make the old ones obsolete relatively quickly.