MakiBox A6 - Now With More D8

2022-01-27 23:12 by Jonathan Buford (comments: 51)

D8 First Glimpse


We recevied our first batch of 5D Print D8 boards. These are replacing the original Printrboards in the MakiBox A6 kits. Read on for more details about this new design.

When we went with the original Printrboard Rev B (the revision at the time), it was the best choice available on the market for something that was integrated and compact for running a machine either connected to a computer or as a potentially stand alone machine. 

After using it for the first production batches, we found a few minor oddities, some of which were updated in the Rev D, but there were others that we found needed to be updated, but had not. So, as part of the 5D Print open source development we are doing here, we did a complete overhaul of the venerable design that originally was based on the Teensylu, an AT90USB1286 development board originally based on Sanguinololu

The list of updates is pretty long, and we will do a more in depth post tomorrow with those details, but a quick list of the important points:

  1. More robust Mirco USB port
  2. Stable 24V Support
  3. Higher temperature stability
  4. Surface mount transistors for the hot bed and hot end drivers
  5. Digital Potentiometers 
  6. Software settable microstepping
  7. No sharing of the SPI bus with end stops
  8. Higher current connectors
  9. General better filtering and layout to keep things more stable and clean

Some of these changes are pretty subtle, but will make the design more stable and less prone to noise or thermal issues than the original. Things like the 24V support, technically is not different from the original Prinrboard, but we've gone back and specified parts that are sure to operate within that range reliably, when the original BOM had many parts that were marginal either at that voltage or at a typical operating temperature. 

The big two changes, the digital pots and the on the fly microstepping will make this board more reliable for setup (no more manual adjustment with a volt meter), and it also opens up some interesting applications for fine tuning the current used or for doing a mix of full and microsteps to allow for faster fast moves while keeping the fine details the same. We don't see that this is going to benefit the MakiBox so much, at least not the microstepping part, but it will make this board a great choice for larger 3D printers and especially laser cutters. 

The other big change, the higher current connectors, is one that is needed, especially if you are operating at 12V or if you want to do a big 24V machine. We are right at the operational edge of the original connectors used on the Printrboard and similar driver boards. For heated beds especially, if you want to safely heat up faster, the original connectors just can't take the current required. It isn't that the connectors are reduced to a molten pile right away, but there is a chance that under the right conditions they will burn out and fail. 

So, everyone is probably asking how long this great innovation is going to delay the current shipments of MakiBoxes. It doesn't. We have received the stock in house already, and are continuing on with the production. 

For those that are looking at getting one of these boards separate from a MakiBox, we will put them up for sale sometime in February after we get our next shipment in. We are considering if we will sell them with a power supply or motors or something similar as a starter kit, so if you have any feedback on what would be a helpful kit that we can put together for building larger machines than the A6, please chime in with your comments. 

Tomorrow we will have an interview with the designer of this great board to go over things a bit more, so stay tuned. 

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Comment by Matthias Cramer | 2022-01-28

What about those that allready received the Makibox ? Will we receive an updated board ? At least for a discount ?

Comment by Zach Morris | 2022-01-28

While it does seem nice that there is a new board and a new product to support the company... I think many of us were hoping for a real update on the status of the Makibox production. Especially since we were asked to leave you alone with support questions. I know I had questions into support before you asked us not to which were never really answered and I was waiting hoping this update would answer that. Again I commend you on the new board but I am far more interested in the product I already purchased before I consider purchasing a new one.

Btw: Hope you are feeling better after the illness Jon.

Comment by Jon Buford | 2022-01-28

@Matthias - If there is a demand for it, we will look into it.

Comment by Jon Buford | 2022-01-28

@Zach - this is for the existing orders. Anyone still in production is receiving this new board. Production schedule, we are just continuing to pack boxes and send them out.

Comment by Zach Morris | 2022-01-28

Thanks Jon,
There was mention of shipping problems but it seems unclear. At least to me... when we can expect our items to be shipped. For my order anyway as far as I can tell you and support seem to be on two different pages to what state the order is even in. I'm not trying to apply pressure but with the system being rocky as to information it is prudent on the customer to try and stay on top of their order to make sure things go as expected. I'm just looking for some realistic dates.


Comment by Ben Farmer | 2022-01-28

Will we be able to purchase the boards on the website?
And mine was shipped today would i have got a new board?

Comment by Philipp Kapfer | 2022-01-28

@Jon regarding "If there is a demand for it, we will look into it.":

The question, I think, is if it would improve print quality and/or operations enough to justify replacing it in an already working printer. Some things, such as the improved Micro USB port, seem to do that.

Also, if your Printrboard fails and you need a replacement, will it be the new one?

Comment by David Kendrick | 2022-01-28

There are some of us that know...

"the juice is worth the squeeze".

I support team Makibox.

Comment by Roy T | 2022-01-28

I did not see labels on the pcb for the connectors. Hope there will be updated assembly instructions for this board.

Comment by Folke Schwinning | 2022-01-28

>>"so if you have any feedback on what would be a helpful kit that we can put together for building larger machines than the A6, please chime in with your comments."

Hi Jon,

it would be really nice if you could open a new section in the store for "Individual parts".
So that we can buy things like the heated bed, the hotend, stepper motors (with and without the rods), the D8 board, the Zen Drive wheel or even a color changer kit (i.e. to black, or even stainless) at a reasonable low price.
Do you get the idea? If not, I'll explain it furthermore...

Some people (including me) would also like to build other things with the parts.

BTW, what do you plan to do on