The RAMPS v1.4, a simple and versatile shield that sits on top of an 8-bit Arduino Mega that runs thousands of machines worldwide. If you are into DIY 3D printing, CNC machining and laser cutting you have most likely come across or used this board as it is the most popular controller option out there. It does however have limitations, especially with the 8-bit Arduino Mega powering it. This presents a good opportunity for speed and feature upgrades with 32-bit controllers gaining popularity due to its advantages in speed and capabilities. Some RAMPS users are feeling the limits of its 8-bit Arduino Mega MCU specially with Delta 3D printers and high micro stepping drivers.
Tired of slow 8 bit processing, print artifacts and poor LCD performance? Re-Arm for RAMPS is your 32 bit solution.
What is the RE-ARM board?
RE-ARM is a 100Mhz, 32-bit ARM controller with the popular Arduino MEGA footprint. It's a plug-in replacement for the Arduino Mega in your RAMPS setup for a quick and easy upgrade to 32-bit goodness.
It runs the awesome Smoothieware firmware by Arthur Wolf.
What are the benefits of using re-ARM?
- More powerful processor. Faster feed rates!
- Runs Smoothieware.
- Easy configuration using a text file on SD card, no need to upload firmware every settings change
- SD card appear as a drive in windows. Easy drag and drop new firmware or edit config file.
- Capable of running smaller micro-step stepper drivers. Like the 1/128 micro-stepping SD6128 driver.
- Available Ethernet RJ45 add-on Module
- Run graphic LCDs with your Deltas without hiccups.
- Run 2 SD cards, one for settings and firmware(on board) and the other for file loading (on LCD).
- 5V tolerant pins, except for analog inputs which are at 3.3V
- Filtered endstop inputs.
- Able to run CNCs, Laser cutters and 3D printers.
Detailed Specs (running RAMPS)
- 32-bit LPC1768 ARM processor
- 100Mhz, 512kb Flash
- mini B USB - Prototype photos shows USB B
- 3.3V system voltage
- 10-30V power supply input range, using Vin pin or barrel jack
- 1 Heated bed, 2 Hotend Mosfet drivers
- SD card slot for firmware upgrades and config file
- 6 End stops, with filter and pull-ups
- 3 thermistor inputs
- Support SPI Displays like Viki2 and mini Viki(direct) and RRD Graphic LCD(adapter)
- Support for I2C and parallel character LCDs using universal adapter by Jim Morris
- Header breakout for Ethernet module (RJ45) daughter board.
RAMPS compatibility list.
Ethernet - Using the Ethernet add-on board, you can use smoothie's built in web control. It's simple and it works.
Mosfets - Heatbed and hotend mosfets are powered by level shifters to provide the 5V gate drive. The Mosfets still requires cooling for stable operation.
Stepper Drivers - All stepper drivers that works on RAMPS+MEGA will work with the RE-ARM upgrade, but now you will be able to try higher step rates and smaller micro steps settings. Smoothieware is capable of setting the driver's current using digital pots as seen on the Azteeg X5 mini and Smoothieboard, this feature is not available on the RAMPS so current is set manually through trim pots on the drivers.
Thermistors - Smoothieware has profiles for the popular Epcos 100K and other types of thermistors. More info on supported types can be found here. Thermocouples are also supported using add-on boards.
Endstops - Mechanical and optical switches have been tested to work. Each of the 6 endstop inputs noise filters. 3.3V is available to power optical switches, 5V is available if required, pins are 5V tolerant.
Displays - RE-ARM for Ramps has direct plug-in for the Viki2 Graphic LCD and RRD Smart Graphic Controller LCD using it's adapter.
LCDs like the original Viki, other I2C displays and the RRD Smart LCD needs a special adapter since it is not directly supported in smoothieware. This nano adapter uses firmware made by Jim Morris(wolfmanjm) and can be found here.
Is upgrading easy?
Upgrading from an Arduino MEGA is fairly straight forward, we spent a lot of time making sure that all functions and features are working. Although we do expect some minor snags here and there as machine configurations differ from each other.
Here's a video made by Brad from UltiBots.com showing the upgrade process on one of their Delta Printers.
Custom Shields for the Re-ARM
Since most of the usable pins of the LPC chip has been broken out on the Re-ARM, you can use it for other purposes. Like a custom shield to upgrade the K40 Laser to smoothie and control it using LaserWeb by Peter van der Walt. How about a CNC shield that uses external drivers? You can create your own shields to fit your motion control needs.
K40 is a low cost(< $400) Laser engraver that can be modified to perform like more expensive machines by using Smoothieware and Laserweb. The Re-ARM plus the K40 shield allows an easy upgrade. There is an active G+ community dedicated to K40 Laser modifications that can be found here.
Not all RAMPS boards are created equal.
It's safe to say that the RAMPS v1.4 (designed originally by Johnny Russell of UltiMachine) with the Arduino Mega is the most widely used controller for 3D printers. Its popularity has spawned clones from small assembly outfits to large factories in Asia. This triggered a massive price drop that added more to its popularity. This is where problems showed up as some shady manufacturers started using cheaper parts and lower rated components.
Needless to say, not all RAMPS boards are created equal. Most are good but others are just complete junk. If you are having problems with your RAMPS board right now, most likely it will not correct itself when upgrading to the Re-ARM board. If you are looking to buy a RAMPS board for use with the Re-ARM then get them from a known good source. It'll save you a lot of time and money when something goes wrong.
Schematics and PCB layout files will be available after the campaign and after everything is finalized. It will be licensed under CERN Open Hardware License. Check www.panucatt.com after the campaign for the source files.
1. $39 Re-ARM January 2017 Delivery - This is for one Re-ARM board on the SECOND batch with estimated delivery is towards the end of January 2017. This comes with USB mini B cable for easy upgrade since the original MEGA has a USB B connector. Select applicable shipping cost.
2. $43 Re-ARM December 2016 Delivery - This is for one Re-ARM board on the FIRST batch with estimated delivery of December 2016 (In time for that holiday vacation!!). This comes with USB mini B cable for easy upgrade since the original MEGA has a USB B connector. Select applicable shipping cost.
3. $48 Re-ARM + Ethernet - January 2017 Delivery - This is for one Re-ARM board + ETHERNET add-on board on the SECOND batch with estimated delivery is towards the end of January 2017. This comes with USB mini B cable for easy upgrade since the original MEGA has a USB B connector. Select applicable shipping cost.
4. $51 Re-ARM + Ethernet - December 2016 Delivery - This is for one Re-ARM board + ETHERNET add-on board on the FIRST batch with estimated delivery of December 2016 (In time for that holiday vacation!!). This comes with USB mini B cable for easy upgrade since the original MEGA has a USB B connector. Select applicable shipping cost.
5. 3 pack and 5 pack rewards - This is for multiple Re-ARM boards on the SECOND batch with estimated delivery is towards the end of January 2017. This comes with USB mini B cable for easy upgrade. Select applicable shipping cost.
Shipping the rewards - All rewards will be shipped using USPS first class mail and will originate from the US. For international destinations shipping times can range from 1 week to as much as 4 weeks for certain locations.
If you need to use a shipping method other than stated please send us a message using Kickstarter's messaging system. DHL and Fedex are both available for extra cost.
Shout-out to all
Special Thanks goes out to all who one way or another supported and helped make this project possible.
Brad Norman of UltiBots, Jim Morris(wolfmanjm), Eric Lien, Anthony Morris(Thantik), Thomas Roager, Joe Spanier, Alex Lee, Arthur Wolf, Peter Van der Walt, Ryan Fritts, Brad Hill. Plus all others I missed mentioning. THANK YOU!
Risks and challenges
We have made several iterations of this board and we've been working on this on and off for almost 2 years and feel it's ready. Several testers are using the prototype units on their everyday machines. We have the factory ready and have identified part sources. However, there are unforeseen events that can undermine all these preparations and cause delays either at the factory or during shipment. We do try to identify things that can go wrong but at this point all we can do is to be on top of things and be transparent in updates if anything comes up that will delay delivery of the rewards.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (22 days)