3D Printer control boards


There is a wide variety of control boards out there. Which one is best?

Featured image from How to wire a 3d printer arduino RAMPS 1.4 A4988 stepper motor driver.

See also

Useful Links

The choices

From 3D Printering: Electronics boards:

  • RAMBo – built in drivers (if one fails the board is useless), optional SD card adapter and LCD control panel. Five motor drivers for X, Y, Z, and two extruders.
  • RUMBA – replaceable Pololu stepper motor drivers, optional SD card adapter and LCD control panel. Six motor drivers for X, Y, Z, and three extruders.
  • Sanguinololu – underpowered ATMega1284P, FTDI, replaceable Pololu stepper motor drivers, optional SD card adapter and LCD control panel. Four motor drivers for X, Y, Z, and one extruder.
  • Teensylu – No FTDI, AT90USB1286, similar to Sanguinololu. Four motor drivers for X, Y, Z, and one extruder.
  • Printrboard – AT90USB1286, integrated SD card reader, built in drivers (if one fails the board is useless). Four motor drivers for X, Y, Z, and one extruder.
  • [Traumflug]’s Gen 7 electronics board – similar to Sanguinololu. Four motor drivers for X, Y, Z, and one extruder.
  • Smoothie – Ethernet and ARM Cortex M3.

In addition, there are the MKS boards:

MKS Base V1.5 is the latest version ,it is the combination of Arduino MEGA2560 plus RAMPS1.4 and A4988 in 3D printer. It is a feature rich all-in-one electronics solution for Reprap and other CNC devices.

There are a number of versions:

  • MKS Base V1.4;
  • MKS Base V1.5, and;
  • MKS Gen V1.4.

See MKS Base V1.4/Base V1.5/Gen V1.4 3D printer board Marlin firmware installation guide. There is also a MKS Base 1.2 board. The RepRap wiki page has been depreciated, MKS Base. For more information, see MKS Base V1.5.

There is a heating control board available, 12V-24V 12A MKS MOS Heating Control Board for 3D Printer Reprap Hotbed Printhead, £5.00

RAMPS 1.4.2

Don’t purchase the RAMPS 1.4 board, which go for around £4 on eBay. There is a later, improved version 1.4.2, although it does cost significantly more.

RAMPS 1.4.2

Available from German RepRap, for €59.95. See, RAMPS v1.4.2 open source control board and the RepRap RAMPS 1.4 page.

The RAMPS 1.4.2 has the following enhancements over 1.4

  • Standard automotive blade fuses instead of thermal fuses increasing the heat resilience.
  • Current carrying improved by increasing the thickness of the cooper at the PCB from 35 to 70 micro meters.
  • Suppression caps added to each end-stop to avoid spurious signals.
  • Added an additional connector to XY, E1 and E2 to connect a second stepper motor.
  • Connector for external reset added.
  • Labelled D8, D9,D10 with Heatbed, Extruder 1 Fan and Extruder 2.

Connections provided:

  • 2 * extruder heating
  • 1 bed * Heating
  • 3 * Temperature sensor for Extruder 2 and 1 bed ( No more board longer necessary )
  • 5 * for Pololu motor base
  • 6 * opto end stop (3 * Min, Max 3 * )
  • 1 * Connection option for SD card reader and LCD
  • 1 * Connection for external reset
  • 1 * Connection for FAN adapter.


The RAMPS1.6 boards have 35V capacitors, but also have SMD fuses (as these were introduced with the RAMPS 1.5).

Can a ramps 1.6 support 24v?

on Ali Express

Ramps 1.6 Expansion Control 3D Printer Parts Ramps 1.4 1.5 Control Panel with Heatsink Upgraded for arduino 3D Printer Board, £4

RAMPS 1.6 Plus

It is not clear what the RAMPS1.6 Plus is, or rather what the plus stands for, apart from the 4 layer board.

Ramps 1.6 Plus Upgrade Ramps 1.6 1.5 1.4 Motherboard Support A4988 DRV8825 TMC2208 TMC2130 Driver Reprap For 3D Printer Parts, £7.29 (there may be cheaper)






Product Name: Ramps 1.6 Plus
Size: 101.6*60.19MM
PCB: 4-layer Board
Current: 30A
Support Driver: A4988/DRV8825/TMC2100/TMC2208/TMC2130

BIGTREETECH Ramps 1.6 plus is mainly a new adapter ramps board for the upgrade of the old Ramps 1.6 driver using the SPI working mode wiring complex problem.The BIGTREETECH Ramps 1.6 plus uses the SPI mode of operation, which can be achieved simply by plugging and unplugging the jumper cap. It not only saves the complicated wiring process, but also saves the cost of external wiring, which is economical and practical.
The new ramps 1.6 plus effectively avoids the problem of the motor not working by inserting the wrong line; It also avoids the problem that the drive does not work due to poor contact of the external line during the printing process.


1. The PCB has a built-in selection terminal for driving the SPI working mode, and is compatible with STEP/DIR and SPI modes.
2. The parts of power and heat bed using the 30A high current terminal ,which can largely avoid the burning terminal situations.
3. It is more clear to connect the wire after update a new top overlay and bottom overlay .
4.Adding the reset expansion interface,It is convenient for users to extend the reset button.
5. X, Y, Z, E0, E1 all use parallel dual motor interface, so that the board can use for more type machine .
6, Using a combination of color pin and row connector , effectively distinguishing each function interface, beautiful and practical.

Driver SPI and STEP/DIR working mode selection:


SPI working model :

When using driver SPI model : connect 1 and 11,2 and 12, 3 and 5 ,4and 6 respectively, using four pcs 13 (short circuit caps)
SPI is the serial bus mode of operation, where 1 connection 11 is MOSI, 2 connection 12 is SCK, 3 connection 5 is CSN, and 4 connection 6 is MISO; ( Corresponding picture indication)

STEP/DIR (stepper/ directional drive mode):
Figure 11, 12 and 5 respectively represent MS1, MS2 and MS3 of STEP/DIR mode (subdivided selection end),8, 9 and 10 are all VCC (high level);Take the LV8729 driver as an example. Connect 5 (MS3) and 8 (high level) by using a 13 (short-circuit cap),The driver works in STEP/DIR mode and it is 16 subdivisions.
Note:The interpolation of MS1, MS2, MS3 and 8, 9, 10 in STEP/DIR mode is selected according to different subdivisions of different drivers.


1. The driver working mode selection determines the firmware to be programmed. When the SPI mode is selected, the motherboard must be programmed with the SPI working mode firmware(For a tutorial on changing the SPI firmware, please refer to the BIGTREETECH TMC2130 V1.1 Instruction Manual.);When selecting the STEP/DIR mode, the firmware must be replaced with the firmware of the STEP/DIR working mode, and the consistency of the subdivision must be observed.(Firmware is 16 subdivisions, Ramps1.6 plus must also choose 16 subdivisions)
2. When using the heatbed with power over 140W,please be sure to install MOS radiator to prevent overheating and burning; When using the heatbed with power over 180W, please be sure to select heatbed MOS module for transfer to avoid the board burning due to long-time overheating;
3. When you plug and unplug the drive into Ramps1.6 plus, please pay attention to the direction of the drive. It should not be inserted in reverse to prevent the drive from burning, and the operation of the plug and unplug drive must be conducted under the premise of power failure.
4. Description of each driver SPI mode CS pin: (For details, please refer to the data RAMPS1.6 plus PIN)
XCS:D63 YCS:D40 ZCS:D42 E0CS:D65 E1CS:D66

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