front Ramps 1.4 Butterfly - 3D printer controller board
Authors: J. Bajić
2019 03 29 172747 

Ramps (RepRap Arduino Mega Pololu Shield) is an expansion module for the Arduino Mega development board and represents one of the most commonly used modules (particularly version 1.4) for 3D printers and CNC machines (primarily hobby and DIY systems). Ramps 1.4 Butterfly is a version of the aforementioned expansion board that uses Click boards™ from Mikroelektronika instead of the Pololu drivers. The name Ramps 1.4 is retained for recognizability (version 1.4 schematic was used as reference), while term Butterfly is added as a board identification. Additionally, instead of the Arduino Mega development board, this module has been adapted for more compact Mega 2560 PRO Mini board (5V). Ramps 1.4 Butterfly is designed with 8 mikroBUS™ sockets expanding the flexibility of the development board (Ramps 1.4 has only 5 ports exclusively for stepper motors)

 

Over the past few years there were many revisions and updates of Ramps module, as well as new boards with more recent using 32-bit MCUs and Trinamic stepper driver. So, one may ask why another 3D printer controller board. Well, there are several reasons:

    • Mikroelektronika has the biggest selection of add-on boards, all of which come in standardized form of Click boards™. Currently, Mikroelektronika offers over 1200 different click boards (including boards for wireless connectivity, motor control, displays, LEDs, storage, sensors, mixed signal, power managment, HMI, etc)
    • Mikroelektronika’s Click boards™ use mikroBUS™ as uniform connection interface and have specific size and shape (there are 3 sizes of click boards: S-small, M-medium, L-large).
    • Mikroelektronika has the largest selection of stepper motor controller add-on boards (including Trinamic, Toshiba, Texas Instruments, ON Semiconductor and Allegro Microsystems drivers)
    • Through ”Make a click” program Mikroelektronika is open for new ideas and engineers and external partners can propose and design a new click board.

1 mikroBUS    2 mikroBUS    3 ClickBoards    4 ClickBoards

So, combined with conigurable Marlin firmware, a 3D printer controller board with mikroBUS sockets can be a simple, universal, flexible and easily extensible solution for 3D printing.

As mentioned above, Ramps 1.4 Butterfly has 8 mikroBUS sockets/ports. Similar to standard Ramps boards, ports marked with X, Y, Z, E0 and E1 are intended for stepper motor controllers (for positioning the print head and driving the hotend extruders). In the demo below 5 different click boards are selected in order to demonstrate board functionality (X-Silent Step Click, Y-Silent Step 3 Click, Z-Stepper 11 Click, E0-Stepper 4 Click, E1-STSPIN820 Click). Ports marked with D0 and D1 are driver ports for heatbed and hotend. PROFET click (1x15A output) and PROFET 2 Click (2x7.5A outputs) high side switch click boards are used for D0 (heatbed) and D1 (hotend) in the demo, respectively. The port marked with "+" is an additional port for further upgrade of board functionality and controller capability (e.g., adding wireless connectivity or additional sensors and actuators). If Shuttle click is used Ramps 1.4 Butterfly board can be extended with additional mikroBUS sockets. In demo below, a simple Terminal 2 Click is used for connecting WS2812b LED array as case light for 3D printer. Other connectors/headers on the Butterfly board are retained in the style of the original Ramps boards due to the large number of components available for these boards (thermistors, endstops, etc.). For easier assembly, all components used in this project are through hole type.

Layout of the AUX-3 and AUX-4 connectors is compatible with display adapter typically used with Ramps board. Therefore all display solution used with standard Ramps board can be also used with Ramps Butterfly or, alternatively, as it can be seen in the demo board can be extented with ConnectEVE board (link to ConnectEVE project will be soon posted).

Important notice: Ramps Butterfly is a 5V board (Mega 2560 PRO mini uses 5V voltage levels),

    • Board has a 3.3V voltage regulator so, 3.3V click boards with 5V tolerable logic can be used on this board (e.g. PROFET click boards).
    • Depending on used click boards and display, external 5V power supply might be required (in demo below board is supplied via LM2596S 3A Step Down regulator)

JLCPCB is used for board fabrication, PlatformIO for Marlin firmware configuration and DIY 3D printer Green Mamba for board print test.

PROJECT FILES&DOCS:

- Ramps 1.4 Butterfly schematic: pdf
- Ramps 1.4 Butterfly pcb: zip
-
 Preconfigured Marlin 2.0 firmware: zip
- Board test demo: youtube
- Print test demo: youtube

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