Computer Numerical Control, or CNC, lies at the heart of everything from mills to laser cutters to milling machines to, of course, 3D printers. The series of steps needed to produce any part are easily automated via CNC and closely match the steps required to create an original CAD design in three dimensions.
It’s the brains of the operation, and now a group of Indian developers say their Aakar Brainboard v2 is a CNC controller board with a modular design which allows easier upgrades and easy replacement if any parts should happen to be broken.
It runs open source Smoothie firmware, and the device is targeted at providing instructions to 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC mills and pick and place machines.
The Aakar Brainboard v2 is the work of a team of four technology enthusiasts and engineers who own and operate a 3D printing store in Bangalore from which they also build and sell the Aakar 3D Printer.
Jitendra Singh, the electronics engineer and founder, says it was his fascination with machine automation and open source hardware that led him to build the Aakar Brainboard. Singh worked with electronics expert and DIY specialist Sooraj Gupta to build the device aimed at eliminating the feature limitations of previously available controllers. The pair say they wanted to maintain the stability of the software – and keep the price low – by producing the board in larger quantities. They say they’ve already shipped more than 50 of their boards all over the world, and they used the feedback they received from those users to create this latest iteration of their controller.
The Aakar Brainboard features an industrial grade casing meant to provide optimal cooling to the MOSFETs and stepper drivers, and add mechanical support to the electronics, all in a sleek and beautiful design.
Now the pair have launched an Indiegogo campaign, following four months of development, and they’re now ready to roll the board out. They’re looking for funding to build their device in quantity, and they say it won’t be possible to produce the board at such a low price – fully 30% less than their current retail price – without those funds.
All the manufacturing and fabrication will be done in India.
Singh says the team will begin procuring the necessary components and raw materials once they reach their campaign goal, and he expects final production to begin one week after the campaign ends.
Brainboard v2 communicates with host software using standard G-codes, features a wide range of connectivity options, and includes a GLCD control panel with a 128 x 64 resolution serial LCD which communicates with Brainboard v2 over an SPI interface.
Just $150 gets you the Brainboard Pro package, and it includes a five-axis Aakar Brainboard v2 with the Graphic LCD panel and DRV8825 stepper drivers. It comes fully assembled in industrial grade aluminum casing, and the first boards are estimated to be delivered by May 2015 if the campaign meets its goal.
What do you think about the design and features of the Aakar Brainboard CNC controller. Will you buy one? Let us know in the Aakar Brainboard forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below of the board, in Singh’s words, as well as some more photos and information.