The board in question is the AZSMZ – It is not a clone. It is made by a Chinese reprap hacker. Folks on forums may have different opinions, but having worked with the board for 3+ years on 2 printers, I’d say it’s unique and only the $250+ smoothieboard pro and duet boards are better.
It runs smoothie. It is not a clone, as it is not a copy of anything. It does use the same stepper pinout as an azteeg 32 bit mini, and basic footprint too, to simplify connection and retrofit. his alpha was based on azteeg 32, but it didn’t work so well, so he rebuilt it, and now it’s his.
It’s not a copy at all, under the hood in the current revisions. The designer also has many other original designs too for IOT devices. He’s a smart guy, and was an active community member (sadly, he’s been trolled too much simply because of the misconception that chinese=clone). He just happens to be a Chinese hacker living in China, and his English is decent (good support). I have an extra one if you want it.
check out the forum at “sawmill creek” for current retrofits of lasers and cnc. Smoothie is alive and well, but documentation is out of date on smoothie site. Many people there have our machines. They helped me choose the new powerful tubes, power supplies, mirrors, and other upgrades you now enjoy. Also check pro sign maker forums. They use smoothie as well.
Also look at open PnP
Smoothie is the ONLY open source platform, despite its problems, that can run a full speed pick and place machine. That saya a lot. I believe duet could do it too, but it would require too many changes, whereas smoothie will do it out of the box with a simple firmware change and addition of open-pnp software and cameras.
Curated code with strict revision control to prevent bugs
Not too fancy – less uC wasted on color animations and what-not, it does what it does and can dedicate 100% to that
Laser, CNC, PnP, and Robot use.
Getting started tutorials are great
Arthur keeps the official Git updated and well maintained, but new features depend on community forks.
LPC microC is great silicon. Much room for growth and very robust and reliable.
Easiest platform to configure. It’s a simple readable text file anyone can handle, not code.
Uses a RTOS, no constant recompile flash recompile flash like marlin, grbl, etc.
Official repository is strictly controlled by one hard headed dude obsessed with preventing tangled buggy code.
Official repo is way behind.
Tutorials are dated
Original smoothie.org folks have lost steam and haven’t updated the official site with much
Need to compile community forks or features to get new versions. I.E. TMC2130 spi control (I’ve done this. Hodapp actually knows the exact commands and repos )
All or nothing solution. May require a lot of rewiring, logic shifting, optoisolation, shielding, etc. THIS IS THE BIG ONE FOR ME.
I would consider the last part carefully. When Brett and I repaired the laser board a few years ago, we were impressed by the sophistication of logic shifting, isolation, ground planes, tab reliefs, busses, etc. A lot was considered, and, yes, everything was a compromise, but there are many discrete components on those boards, and even board relief cuts that make it possible for a 5V USB to eventually trigger a 40000V trasient and a 25000V continuous current. That ain’t trivial. Some of that is on our controller board. Some of that is dependent on the modularity of the seperate power supplies and isolated grounds. Ask Brett, Brent or some other folks to help – electrical nerds with experience in discrete electronics and electricity with killing potential.