Apr 1, 2014

T-Bone high performance 3d printing and CNC BeagleBone cape

New and powerful BeagleBone 3d printing and CNCing cape from Germany.

From T-Bone crowdfunding campaign:

The T-Bone is a cape for the BeagleBone Black, dedicated for motion control. These are 3D printers, laser cutters, milling machines, and other applications using stepper motors.
The T-Bone will come preprogrammed for Reprap Mendel 3D Printer. Best kown in the Prusa Mendel or Prusa i3 variant. The Software will include low level drivers, the printer application and a high level Web Interface for control. Just connect your steppers, heaters and sensors, configure the software and you are ready to print.
To join highest performance with flexibility and easy programming, we use a very powerful concept: Hard- and software abstraction layers! User interface, configuration, G-Code interpreter, and path planner are running on the BeagleBone. This makes it easy to use existing open source software components, using the existing toolchain on the Linux operating systems of the BeagleBone. Real-time communication with the BeagleBone is handled by a small microcontroller, placed on the T-Bone. The microcontroller is fully compatible with the Arduino toolchain, so everybody can easily modify it. Complex acceleration and velocity calculations for the stepper motors are done by dedicated motion controllers. These are dedicated hardware components, developed to get the maximum performance out of a given stepper motor without putting any workload to the host system.

The low level drivers for the motion controllers and realtime applications are written with the Arduino IDE in C. The higher level applications for G-Code analysis, motion control and web interface are written in Python. There are no special hardware drivers involved. Most of the hardware can be used on the built in Arduino or BeagleBone Black. All software will be released as open source software on github.

Here are the main features of the basic board: 
  • 5 stepper motor driver (run syncronized, 3 x up to 4 A, 2 x up to 1.5 A)
  • 10 inputs for end switches (two for each axis)
  • 3 inputs for incremental encoders (3 axis supporting closed loop control)
  • 3 inputs for thermistors
  • 1-wire interface for digital temp and other sensors
  • 2 high power outputs (for extruder and heatbed, up to 12 A)
  • 1 mid power output (for fans, LEDs, ..., also expandable)
  • Power supply for BeagleBone (5 V, 1.2A)
  • Input voltage 12 - 24 V
  • For more detailed description of the hardware features see here (to be continued...).

But that's not all. We are planning to create some additional expansion boards with special features. Here are some of the feature we are planning:
  • Support for rotary axis like driller, miller, ...
  • Support for laser cutters
  • External touch panel display
  • Support for other hardware platforms

And you can do even more! The software is easily adaptable to most CNC applications. If you want to connect your CNC mill you do not have to develop it from ground up, just adapt the printing logic a bit.

T-Bone Indiegogo campaign:

Here is detailed video overview of T-Bone: