Member Since: August 13, 2010

Country: United States

  • Nope, not the error I saw. I was using Windows at the time. Windows could see and connect to the serial port just fine. The problem seemed to be that rebooting the Stepoko did not produce the grbl sign on banner. Eventually UGS timed out waiting and retuned a message about grbl not booting.

    It sounds like you have a different problem. It sounds like you are not even seeing the port, let a alone the grbl sign on banner.

    After I flashed a new version of grbl I could communicate.with the board as expected.

  • Error Booting message….

    It looks like some of the Stepoko boards are leaving Sparkfun without grbl installed, or are somehow being corrupted in transit. I had this experience and it looks like one of the product reviewers experienced the same failure.

    If you can’t get Universal G-Code Sender to connect / talk to you Stepoko consider reflashing grbl.

    Straight out of the box UGS would never connect to the Stepoko. When trying to connect from UGS I kept getting a message something along the lines of grbl not booted.

    I was able to connect to the Stepoko from the Arduino IDE, so the board seemed alive.

    I downloaded the latest grbl source (google for github grbl) I inserted the grbl source into my Arduino environment. I ran the included grbl update sketch. Arduino compiled and uploaded the latest version of grbl (0.9j). UGS now works with Stepoko.

    NOTE: when reflashing grbl (or possibly I had a blank Stepoko to start with) the machine parameters are not correct. You need to reset the X, Y, and Z step size and the Z direction. I used UGS to edit and send the step sizes, 40 for X, Y, and Z and inverted the Z bit for direction.

  • Go to the Carbide3D / Shapeoko website and sign up for the Carbide Create beta. They’ll send you a link to download it (as of 12/15).

  • I own the Sparkfun version and don’t have hands on experience with the Carbide3D / Shapeoko version but here’s what I can tell from owning the Sparkfun version and comparing it to the Shapeoko docs.

    The mechanics appear to be identical, so no advantage or disadvantage there. The Sparkfun parts are painted bright red so it’s got that sporty look going for it.

    The motors seem to be similar, NEMA 23 likely both sourced from China, probably not much difference there. The Shapeoko site lists their motors at 120 oz-in and the Sparkfun site lists their motors at 125 oz-in. Probably different manufacturers with slightly different specs, but unlikely to have much performance difference.

    The biggest difference is in the motion control board. Carbide3D has their own motion control board which Sparkfun has replaced with a Sparkfun designed board.

    Looking at a picture of the Carbide3D controller it appears to be an Arduino interfacing to stepper drivers, identical to Sparkfun’s Stepoko. Not a clear difference there. According to both web sites both boards are running grbl as the motion control firmware, no difference there.

    Other than the packaging of the electronics not a lot of obvious functional differences.

  • Update on the pulleys, at least for my Sparkfun Shapeoko, received Dec 2015, all of the pulleys pressed on without reaming or drilling. Not sure if this is a change from Shapeoko or if I just got a lucky set but all of the pulleys were press fit with hand pressure, no tools required.

  • Carbide Create seems to be in Beta right now (12/30/15). You can join the beta by signing up at the Shapeoko / Carbide3D website. They send you an email with a link to download.

    I did not dig deep into the Carbide Create / Carbide Motion tool chain but my first impression is this tool chain only works with the Carbide3D / Shapeoko motion controller.

    It looks like you can use Carbide Create to create simple geometry which is then output as a custom (appears to be binary / proprietary) format file that you then import into Carbide Motion to control the CNC. The problem seems to be that Carbide Motion seems to only want to talk to a Carbide3D controller board.

    When I try to run Carbide Motion against the Sparkfun version of the Shapeoko Carbide Motion never connects. Universal G-Code Sender,, and a terminal window all work fine to communicate with Sparkfun’s Stepoko. Carbide Motion reports no controller found. I’m assuming Carbide Motion is looking for a specific USB VID/PID before connecting. Not sure but the observed results are Carbide Create / Carbide Motion do not presently work with the Stepoko controller.

    I am using MakerCam in place of Carbide Create. Both seem to have similar functionality (limited) but MakerCam will output a standard g-code file.

    I am using Universal G-Code Sender and in place of Carbide Motion to send the g-code to the StepOko.

    MakerCam / UGS seem to be working pretty well for me at my early stages of using the Sparkfun Shapeoko.

    Edit: Looking at the Carbide3D website it looks like their controller is Arduino based and runs grbl, similar to the Sparkfun Stepoko. Seems like if Carbide Motion can talk to the Shapeoko controller (arduino + grbl) it ought to be able to talk to Sparkfun’s controller (arduino + grbl). Warrants further investigation….

  • It took me a minute or two to figure out the buzzer so I posted a quick write up at TechSpin/Arduino Pro Buzzer.

    It seems the buzzer can be mounted either end up. I happened to mount mine with the words up and positive terminal down. Positive terminal connected to D4 and negative terminal connected to D5. With this configuration playing a tone on the buzzer is as simple as:

    void setup() 
      tone(4, 1000, 1000);
    void loop()  {  }

    Modifying the Arduino toneMelody example is as simple as adding a line and modifying two lines:

     #include "pitches.h"
    // notes in the melody:
    int melody[] = { NOTE_C4, NOTE_G3,NOTE_G3, NOTE_A3, NOTE_G3,0, NOTE_B3, NOTE_C4};
    // note durations: 4 = quarter note, 8 = eighth note, etc.:
    int noteDurations[] = { 4, 8, 8, 4,4,4,4,4 };
    void setup() {
    pinMode(5,OUTPUT); // <-- add this line
    // iterate over the notes of the melody:
    for (int thisNote = 0; thisNote < 8; thisNote++) {
    // to calculate the note duration, take one second 
    // divided by the note type.
    //e.g. quarter note = 1000 / 4, eighth note = 1000/8, etc.
    int noteDuration = 1000/noteDurations[thisNote];
    tone(4, melody[thisNote],noteDuration); // <-- edit this line
    // to distinguish the notes, set a minimum time between them.
    // the note's duration + 30% seems to work well:
    int pauseBetweenNotes = noteDuration * 1.30;
    // stop the tone playing:
      noTone(4); // <-- edit this line
    void loop() {  // no need to repeat the melody.
  • I have the previous rev of this board, the ROB-11622, bought it with the redbot kit the day it announced on the Friday new product post. Awesome little kit, very happy with it. So, what are the differences between the old board and the new? The schematics appear to be the same, same filename and rev on the pdf. The board images are the same, no differences there. Is it just a silkscreen change or is there a schematic / board layout change?

  • Thanks Nate for sponsoring this tear down. It was interesting to see what goes into a cutting edge product developed by one of the most tech capable companies around. Apparently this is what near infinite financial, intellectual, and technical resources will get you. I haven’t been following google glass so I was kinda surprised to hear this was the first in depth-‘ish tear down. I assume google is smart enough to know that sooner or later someone would do a detailed tear down. I wonder why google didn’t just publish their own detailed tear down. Maybe they were concerned about their privacy.

  • What drives the requirement for powering this eval board at 3.3v? The datasheets for both the Si4703 and TPA6111A2 indicate support for 5v power. The Si4703 datasheet says “2.7 to 5.5 V supply voltage - Integrated LDO regulator allows direct connection to battery” and the TPA6111A2 says “Fully Specified for 3.3-V and 5-V Operation”. So why the multiple warnings to only use 3.3 volts to power this board?

No public wish lists :(