The drive systems of CNC machines, 3D printers, and other automated tools traditionally have at least four components in the chain. There is the computer which sends G-code commands, a controller board which interprets those commands and turns them into stepper signals, drivers that power the stepper motors, and the stepper motors themselves. Each of those parts costs money, so making any one of them unnecessary is a good thing — which is exactly what Raspigcd does.
The Raspberry Pi G-CODE Interpreter removes the need for the controller board by bypassing the control board and sending stepper motor signals directly to the stepper drivers. It runs on both the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3, which then connect to the stepper drivers through the GPIO pins. That eliminates the need for an intermediary device like an Arduino or purpose-built control board.
Aside from saving money, using Raspigcd also affords you the opportunity to create an interface for your 3D printer or CNC mill that runs completely on the Raspberry Pi. Instead of having to rely on the control board to send signals to the stepper motors and to receive feedback from limit switches, the Raspberry Pi could handle the job itself in real time. There is a lot of potential here, and we’re looking forward to seeing what makers are able to do with Raspigcd.