State change or relays for multiple toolheads

  • We're discussing the E3D tool changing system in the RailCore facebook group at the moment and how you could very easily run out of heater outputs and stepper drivers even with a Duex5. And I was just idly wondering if you could use the same outputs for multiple tool heads maybe using relays as only one tool head would be in use at one time. Obviously the settings and parameters might be different for different materials on different tool heads, or they could even be different types of tools like lasers and routers. But if the definitions and settings were for "virtual tools" and with a relay each one was selected you could in theory potentially have infinite tools attached with the very little additional hardware. Is this something that could be conceivably implemented?

  • administrators

    Switching stepper motors with relays is not advisable, due to the risk of damaging the relay or the driver is the motors are switched when under load.

    The current Duet 2 series supports up to 12 motors in total. The next generation will support an almost unlimited number of motors.

  • Right, thanks David, in theory though, could you as part of a tool changing macro switch off stepper current, switch the relay, then reactivate the (new) stepper reasonably safely? I understand from what you're saying that this would be reasonably redundant (along with my bank balance) with the arrival of the next generation.

  • administrators

    In principle that should be OK, but I have a distrust of mechanical relays.

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