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Blackbox vs Duet Wifi for Lead CNC

Discussion in 'Controller Boards' started by Chris Jurgens, May 18, 2019.

?

Blackbox or Duet wifi?

  1. Blackbox

  2. Duet wifi

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Chris Jurgens

    Chris Jurgens Well-Known
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    Good day Openbuilders,

    I'm trying to decide on a controller for a Lead CNC build...I can't seem to decide between the Blackbox & Duet wifi!?

    The Blackbox is 8bit & needs a usb cable, but has slightly bigger stepper drivers & was designed specifically for cnc (simpler). Can it run without a pc, ie sd-card only?

    The Duet Wifi is 32bit (future proof?), wireless & can run without a pc, but has smaller drivers & is less known in the cnc space...Ooznest might change that though.

    What else am I missing?
    Any tips/advice about which system to choose?

    Thank you,
    Chris
     
  2. Alex Chambers

    Alex Chambers Master, Openbuilds Team
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    First - I don't think your poll will give you very meaningful results unless you know the relative numbers using blackbox versus Duet. I think that there are many more blackboxes in use than Duets with cnc mills/routers.

    There are probably at least one post/day on average from blackbox users asking for help, but, as I am sure @Peter Van Der Walt will tell you, there are hundreds of blackbox users who don't write in to ask for help/complain so most people are very happy with it.

    There are only 4 or 5 Duet users who post regularly on the forum and their experience has been mixed - mostly positive once teething problems like sorting out what post processor to use etc, but again, negative experiences are more likely to be commented on.

    I use the Duet from Ooznest and, apart from a few niggles about the firmware (it comes from the rep-rap, 3D printer world) not being entirely "standard" I have found it very easy to set up and use. In fact, some aspects of it's rep-rap ancestry make it very easy to customise if you are prepared to delve into the G-code and write/re-write macros.

    I will add some links to a couple of builds using it and some other relevant posts - but just to repeat the caution - people write about things going wrong far more than they do about things going right.

    I'll let someone else extol the virtues of the blackbox - I don't have one so can't really comment.

    Just one point - purely personal opinion - I would always opt for a hardwired connection rather than rely on WiFi.

    Alex.

    The BEE and ME
    Workbee with Duet controller
    Workbee with Duet controller macro changes
    (Semi) automatic tool changes with Fusion 360
    There are many more you could look at - try searching the forum for references to Duet (or blackbox)
     
  3. NthAxisWorkshop

    NthAxisWorkshop Journeyman
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    As Alex said, wifi is cool, but if you are using serial stream...it's NFG. What's kinda neat about the Duet the ability to read a program from an SD card and run a custom LCD menu. For most CNC tasks, the Blackbox's meager but reliable MCU is more than adequate. Honestly, the 32-bit capabilities are really only necessary to keep up with the 802.11 protocol stack, OTA updates and all the libraries for the LCD and SD card file system capability, (embedded web functionality?). Maybe it will help with cutting some really pretty arcs. Everything else is rep-rap overhead. Unless the firmware is optimized for CNC all the extra memory that the MCU provides is swallowed up by unnecessary 3D printer programming. Now, OTOH, GRBL is pretty focused, uh, as I am not. What I mean to say....they are both cool, but I like the Duet solution more. Wish it could handle a bit more power though.
     
    #3 NthAxisWorkshop, May 18, 2019
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  4. NthAxisWorkshop

    NthAxisWorkshop Journeyman
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    Oh...and the DUST! Put a flap on it!;)
     
    Alex Chambers likes this.
  5. Alex Chambers

    Alex Chambers Master, Openbuilds Team
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    NthAxisWorkshop likes this.
  6. NthAxisWorkshop

    NthAxisWorkshop Journeyman
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    Ah, yes...3D printed dust cover solution, with perforations! Nice! I might 3D print a hermetically sealed, positive pressure enclosure with integrated hydraulic fittings for passive cooling system and fiber optically couple my steppers with 3D printed transducers.:p
     
    Alex Chambers likes this.
  7. Alex Chambers

    Alex Chambers Master, Openbuilds Team
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    HaHa! It only just fitted on my (Geetech) Prusa clone and took 7 hours to print.
    Alex.:ROFL::ROFL::ROFL:
     
  8. NthAxisWorkshop

    NthAxisWorkshop Journeyman
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    Me likey the Duet Ethernet. Oh, and extra motion channels is nice. Hmm.
     
  9. NthAxisWorkshop

    NthAxisWorkshop Journeyman
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    Nope, I'd have to breakout the step and direction pins to bypass the integrated drivers. For a small Workbee it's a great solution, though. Especially with Ooznest backing it. Where did that come from anyway? "Ooznest"?
     
  10. Chris Jurgens

    Chris Jurgens Well-Known
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    Thank you for the replies so far...interesting that no blackbox users have tipped in.

    Hopefully someone that has used both can help make my decision even harder :p
    The googling continues!
     
    Alex Chambers likes this.
  11. Alex Chambers

    Alex Chambers Master, Openbuilds Team
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    I am in the very early stages of thinking about maybe planning to build a second machine - smaller/more rigid than my workbee - for (relatively) high precision milling and PCB production. If I ever get around to this I will probably use a blackbox. Ask me again in a year (or so) from now and I might be able to compare them.
    Alex. :rolleyes::rolleyes:
     
    Chris Jurgens likes this.
  12. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
    Staff Member Moderator Resident Builder Project Maker Builder

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    (; maybe ask in the BlackBox thread (; : BlackBox
    Sidenote, my personal advice:
    Check you skill level:

    Person A: Not too skilled, just getting started in the hobby, want easy wiring, will be doing what 98% of the users on here are doing: BlackBox
    Person B: Skilled, wiring is something they do with their eyes closed, has ambitious plans for all the extra features, willing to take a heavier learning curve: Duet
     
    RV6APilot and Chris Jurgens like this.
  13. RV6APilot

    RV6APilot Journeyman
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    I am a BlackBox user. I bought it after trying another controller board that might be good for a mini mill but was not for my WorkBee 1010.
    The BlackBox is easy to build and has all the connections one could need to include a connection for a laser and for controlling my spindle.
    This is not my first CnC machine I have a Joe's Evolution CnC that is currently 4'X8' and uses a homemade controller powering a Gecko G540
    driver and 4 425oz steppers. This is a rack and pinion driven system. The WorkBee is 1000 times easier to build and set up using the BlackBox.
    Now is the BlackBox perfect, no, but then neither is my other system. If someone is looking for a quick and easy controller for ANY CnC project I
    think the BlackBox is the way to go and it is extremely cost effective. Heck my G540 cost twice what the BlackBox does and so far my BlackBox
    is out performing it.
     
    #13 RV6APilot, Jun 9, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019

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