MakerBot MightyBoard RevE

by MakerBot, published

MakerBot MightyBoard RevE by MakerBot Mar 12, 2012

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This is the MakerBot MightyBoard, a revolution in 3D Printer Control Technology. Use it to power your MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer. Here are just a few things the MightyBoard can do: control up to 5 stepper motors with BotStep Stepper Controllers, control up to two extruders (with heater cartridges, safety thermostats, thermocouples, and fans), control the Replicator Interface Board, connect to up to 6 endstops, control RGB LED light strips, control a heated build platform, and much much more!

Even more features:
-Pizeo Buzzer
-Lots of Debugging LEDs and extra I/O pins broken out for hacking
-Access to I2C and UART for hacking
-Hardware-based safety cutoff for extruders
-Extra FET for hacking
-Arduino Mega Compatible
-digitally-controlled potentiometers for setting motor currents (no more trimpots!)

Designed by Jeremy Blum.

This is part of The MakerBot Replicator, which you can find at http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:18813

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heres the link for the led strips, but it seems that circuit needs to be complete for it. has anyone already modded the RGB portion of this board to find out what is used to drive the colors software side and the voltage and logic control hardware side?

What is the connector called for the x-min?

I'm amazed at how many Self employed engineering geniuses' are on this forum. I certainly hope they post a link to their incredibly superior boards...I'd buy one.

Although, perhaps there's no time to actually build these physical masterpieces, between Halo releases I mean.

Try and keep it productive kids and drop the pseudo intellectual stroking.


Sorry that it annoys us if you can't understand :)

Where do you get this from?

For fun I'm putting together a proper pins file and example configuration to support this board in Marlin Firmware. I see that the stepper current is controlled through I2C with separate SCL pins for each of the MCP4018s, so I expect that will be the biggest challenge to adapt. I haven't yet found an I2C library that allows for this. If only they were all on the common bus, but it looks like the 4018 is pre-addressed.

Meanwhile I see there's an RGB LED connected to the common I2C bus. I'm curious if this is like the BLINKM which is at slave address 0x09 and receives "on" followed by R, G, B values to set the color.

The LCD controller seems to be a 3-wire LiquidCrystal_SR interface. Is there a name for this controller? For now, in Marlin I'm piggybacking on the "SAV_3DLCD" option, and extending it pass a third parameter, SR_STROBE_PIN.

Another minor challenge is, Marlin currently only supports a single MAX6675 thermocouple, for Extruder 0 specifically. So I'll have to extend the code to accept a second thermocouple.

Of course, the biggest question is, how many Replicators are out there using this board? Is it worth the effort to support with Marlin? Is there a good chance that this starting-point will lead to support for newer machines? I would imagine that they are similar in design, but being closed-source I might have to get out the magnifying glass and follow the traces on the newer boards to reverse-engineer them!

PLease do, and post your results, keep me informed :) shadeemry@gmail..com

I do not have the makerbot version but the flashforge instead. But I'm hoping someone here can help me because flashforge refuses to help in any way because I put it on the CTC dual extruder. My board works with the manual controls but the SD reader will not recognize any card and it will not connect with any programs including Makerbot, Repetier, or Replicator. When I first installed it I made one print and went to work. When I got back a few weeks later it would not connect.

Be aware that the .brd file posted is incomplete / not accurate. At a minimum, it is missing the traces for the ground signal on the fan FETs.

Can i used this board with a prusa i3 printer ?

I see that these boards can use the drv8825 and a4988 drivers. I know this is a different revision, however do they still support those drivers? If so, what happens to the onboard POT for a4988 and drv8825? Are they bypassed or not used? How do you configure that? Also how do you configure the microstepping 1/16 or 1/32? Is that set software wise like the digipot?


I'm looking for board version A.

Thank You for your help

This schematics and board design works just out of the box? or there are some problems?

NOTE On the Mightyboard Rev E schematic, the SD card section is labeled as SD & MMC card, but the pinout as drawn is for the microSD card (cf. http://elm-chan.org/docs/mmc/micro_contact.jpeghttp://elm-chan.org/docs/mmc/m... vs http://elm-chan.org/docs/mmc/sdmm_contact.jpeg)http://elm-chan.org/docs/mmc/s... -- a quick check of fab drawing confirms that it was supposed to be a Micro SD card slot.

Whan I press check button in Eage it shows errors in all +3.3V connections "output and supply pins mixed on net 3.3V".

I try to modify board such as it in real. I want to connect mic2920 input with +5V etc. In this schemaics mic2920 conect to +24V. I can't modify the board with this error messages. Can anyone help?

Why can't I see all pictures? And does some one already have like an explanation of the parts? I'm in my last year of high school and need to do an graduation task. I chose makerbot. I need to give an explanation how al these things work. So if some one already did it it would be very helpfull for me. Then I only need to translate it to dutch.

who send me a MakerBot_BotStep17_REVE_pcb file,thank you very much

Has anyone had luck building one? I'm thinking of converting my thing-omatic to a replicator and have been trying to find one of these boards online, but it looks like I'm gonna need to build one. Advice?

Don't bother?   MakerBot has gone closed source, and closed schematic on the MightyBoard from here on in.

If you want to use something that runs Sprinter and Marlin, go ahead and get a RAMPS.  If you want a board with built-in steppers, get a Printrboard from abdrumm.   I've got two, and they work great.


When Makerbot_MightyBoard_REVE.sch opened by pads 9.3, here comes a message indicating something wrong. Which tool is proper to use?

You need to use Cadsoft Eagle.

I agree with some of the comment on the choice of processor ... chipKIT Max 32 is also Arduino Compatible and has MUCH better specs ... Main ones are

Microchip® PIC32MX795F512 processor
80 Mhz 32-bit MIPS
512K Flash, 128K RAM
USB 2.0 OTG controller
10/100 Ethernet MAC
Dual CAN controllers

so why ATmega 2560 ...

Great Job MakerBot Team ... Someone's finally taken on developing a comprehensive board for the Printers ... Keep It up


The only SPI-enabled driver I see is something like 3x the price of the A4982 - do you see something different? The dig pot on the board is about 40 cents.

Yeah my friend saw my comment and mentioned that to me today. I didn't realize how big the cost difference was. I've used Allegro's SPI stepper drivers before, and they are pricey. I had no idea how cheap A4982's are! Also the SPI ones require external FETS, which I needed for my application anyway (more current), but yeah, I can see its a cost issue. Still seems... hacky.

-digitally-controlled potentiometers for setting motor currents (no more trimpots!)

While that sounds awesome, why not just switch to something like SPI stepper drivers that allow you to set the current over serial?

Perhaps its a cost issue, and I have no idea how much digital pots cost, but it seems awfully silly to add on an extra chip when just replacing the one chip would d

I noticed this guy has two ISP headers in the pictures, does anyone know why? I only see one micro controller on there.

Seems like they should have waited for the Arduino Due ARM-based Arduino. Its got a super powerful Atmel SAM3 on it. But I'm sure they know the people at Arduino, and perhaps that board and software is just not close enough to production?

That is because it is a futile exercise how to hobble yourself: there are two micros on there. One is a atmega8, the other is a 1280. The mega8 is serving as a usb to serial controller, and that is where I think they (and arduino) went wrong.

If they had used an AVR with built-in USB (like teensy+), there would have been no need for this second chip and they communication speed would have gone up drastically. The USB buffer on a teensy+ holds 128 bytes, that is quite some lines of G-code in just one packet, delivered at much greater speeds as well.

The serial UART is so slow it makes loading something on the sd-card very slow, but more importantly, you will get blobs if you use a stl of too high a resolution, which will result in very small gcode-paths that execute faster than they can be sent: hence a buffer underrun and a blob on your model.

Yes, it is indeed somewhat counter-productive to strap two atmels on a board and have one act as a US-serial bridge. I did a quick search on atmel's site to compare the two most powerful AVRs with and without baked-in USB support: the AT90USB1286 and the ATmega2560, as used on an Arduino Mega. The 2560 has higher specs in every discipline, them most significant ones are:

256k / 128k Flash

86 / 48 I/O

16 / 32 external interrupts

16 / 8 ADC channels

15 / 9 PWM outputs

6 / 4 timers

While the AT90USB1286 might do it for simpler boards, but especially the lower I/O number might become a problem when doing dualstrusion, controlling a fan, LEDs and maybe wanting some options for expansion. Smart firmware like Marlin keeps quite a few lines of Gcode in its buffer and slows down when a buffer underrun is imminent.

So switch over to an ARM. For example the LPC1678 has Gcode support from the Smoothie project and has very similar specs to the ATMega2560 except it's a 32bit processor capable of running at 120MHz. Cost wise the ATMega2560 + ATMega8u2 is
£9.43 vs the LPC1678 at £5.44

I love MakerBot, but they really need to take a look at their electronics and move on from Arduino.

Maintaining arduino compatibility makes it easier for users to re-purpose the mightyboard and expand its functionality. As @imitation mentioned, the beefiest USB-capable atmega micro doesn't have enough I/O, hence the need for two.

But the fact that it's an 8bit microcontroller running at 16MHz with a poor compiler limits the upper bounds of what can be done. Sure, everyone is familiar with a bicycle, but a car can go so much faster.