Maniacal Labs' Laser/Servo Controller Offers a Variety of Stepper Motor Driver Options

The Platypus is a fully-integrated solution with a built-in ATmega328P microcontroller and USB UART.

Cabe Atwell
8 months agoSensors
The Platypus is outfitted with an ATmega328P microcontroller, TMC2100/TMC2208 support, and a host of screw terminals for all connections. (📷: Maniacal Labs)

Maniacal Labs originally designed the Platypus two-axis laser/servo controller for their Engravinator laser engraver platform, which allows users to engrave nearly everything by clamping the machine to the object. The company now feels that the board could maximize its potential for a wide variety of situations, while retaining its 57mm x 75mm compact form factor.

Maniacal Labs describes the Platypus as an open hardware CNC laser control board for driving two-axis Grbl with a wide variety of stepper motor driver options. While some other Grbl-based boards use an Arduino shield for driving stepper motors, the Platypus offers an all-in-one solution by incorporating an ATmega328P microcontroller, USB-B (UART), and several screw terminals (male headers for motors and laser), on a single PCB.

The Platypus also features native support for configuring TMC (Trinamic) StepStick drivers, including TMC2100 and TMC2208, with both variants utilizing tri-state configuration pins. Maniacal Labs explains, “We provide comprehensive usage and assembly documentation. It also comes pre-flashed with Grbl v1.1g that has been configured specifically for a setup like this (two-axis with homing and a laser). But you can, of course, install any Grbl variant you want by uploading it via USB from the Arduino IDE.”

Maniacal Labs is selling the Platypus on Tindie in both kit and fully assembled forms for $32 and $47, respectively. The kit version requires soldering skills and comes with seven 4-pin 0.1" terminals, a 2-pin 0.2" terminal, four 8-pin header, and 12 male headers. It should be noted that the Platypus doesn’t come with the TMC2100, TMC2208, or other drivers, as users will have to supply their own. Maniacal Labs has uploaded all documentation, source code, and design files to the company’s GitHub page.

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