Duet 3d wifi vs Smoothieware

  • long story short. I bought a MPMD which is pretty terrible in its stock form. However, instead of spending time tuning and improving I think it is a great platform for rebuilding/re-engineering.

    I have a Prusa MK3... so making parts (either designing in F360 or using existing STLs) is not that big of a deal.

    So, the question is what controller should I use? Duet3d seems like the right direction, but Smoothingware stuff seems to be pretty active too. Starting with an MonoPrice Mini Delta what is the best direction for print with great quality, accuracy, and easy of use? What path gives the best of everything?

  • administrators

    There are lots of users running delta printers with Duets on this forum and only a few have used Smoothieware as well. So don't expect to get an unbiased opinion here! [Or on the Smoothieware forum for similar reasons.] You might want to try posting your question on the Google group at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/deltabot for a more balanced opinion.

    Anyway, here is my (biased!) take on the benefits of Duet over Smoothieboard/Smoothieware for running a delta 3D printer:

    • Duet/RRF gives you least squares delta auto calibration. Someone ported the RRF algorithm to Smoothieware, but they had to disable the network code to fit it in RAM. [Duet has double the RAM of Smoothieboard.]
    • A better network interface. Duet Web Control offers you much more control over the printer than other network interfaces. [Octoprint has a few features that Duet doesn't such as time lapse photography, but you'll need to add a RPi or similar to your system to run Octoprint, and even then you won't get the same level of control of the printer that DWC gives you.]
    • Fast file upload over the network to the SD card. Typical upload speed is 0.6 to 0.9Mbytes/sec. Last time I saw file upload speeds for Smoothieboard quoted, they were around 1/20 of these speeds. [That was a long time ago, I haven't seen any recent figures.]
    • Segment-free delta motion. RepRapFirmware executes straight-line movements on delta printers as single continuous movements. All other firmwares including Smoothieware split long moves up into sequences of short moves.
    • Macros. RRF has a very powerful GCode macro file feature.
    • Pressure advance. Standard in RRF for 4 years now, still not supported in Smoothieware AFAIK.
    • Several other features that AFAIK are not supported in Smoothieware e.g. resume after power loss, nonlinear extrusion, heater power compensation for supply voltage, stepper motor idle current reduction
    • Duet gives you TMC2660 stepper drivers with up to x256 microstepping and stall detection. Smoothieboard 1.1 gives you up to x32 microstepping.

    I think Smoothieboard was a great hardware design when it came out - in some ways, better than the first-generation Duets, in other ways not as good - but it's dated now. If/when Smoothieboard 2 comes out, maybe we'll have some worthy competition again!

  • I've used smoothieboards for a few years on cartesian machines. I can't speak to delta issues, but I'll say this: in general, smoothie is easier to configure than the Duet boards. But you only have to configure once, and Duet is better in almost every other way. If nothing else your printer will run much quieter with Duet.

    There are some other operational differences, depending on how you like to get your gcode files to the printer. Smoothie has a not-so-good ethernet only web interface through which file transfer to the printer is very slow. I always used an SD card plugged into an RRD GLCD panel, and liked doing that. Info and control via the panel is limited but adequate for operation, but not sufficient for configuration and tuning. Smoothie's most capable control option is via USB, and that's how you'll do configuration and tuning. The LCD panel has to be located very close to the smoothieboard because it uses SPI connection.

    Duet's web interface is years ahead of smoothie, and file transfer is not super fast, but fast enough. If you prefer not to have a computer connected, either via ethernet or wifi, you can use a touchscreen LCD panel that has a uSD card slot. However the uSD slot is on the bottom edge of the touchscreen panel (at least it is on the Panel Due 7i) which makes accessing it a little tricky when you enclose the panel. If you're going to connect a computer to the Duet board, the Panel Due is redundant. The web interface provides more information and control than the Panel Due. The web interface is good for configuration, tuning, and operation. Panel Due is more for operation, but config and tuning are possible. PanelDue can be located far from the Duet board if you use the 4 wire serial interface.

    Smoothieboard's configuration is done in a single text file which makes it relatively easy to update(no searching through multiple files to find the one that contains the config you're trying to change), but it also means that configuring on the fly isn't always possible because updates require editing that text config file and a reboot. Duet is configured entirely in gcode, so most (all?) tuning can be done on the fly.

    On the hardware side, the Duet board seems better laid out than smoothieboard. One of the smoothieboard's annoyances is the mounting holes are in odd locations that are surrounded by components making them a little tricky to use. I've also found that soldering to ground connections is very difficult- it seems like they didn't use thermal relief pads for ground connections, but I could be wrong. I haven't tried soldering on the Duet board at all.

    Right now my printer has a Duet board with a PanelDue 7i but I keep an old netbook plugged into it via ethernet to transfer gcode files into the machine. I'm not so happy about having to keep a computer connected to it, but there's room on top of the printer for the netbook, so meh. If I take the printer to a MakerFaire, the PanelDue provides sufficient control to select files that have already been uploaded to the Duet's uSD card, so I don't have to have the computer connected.

  • When I built my Delta in late 2017 I started with smoothieboard, I could never get past calibration. I tried getting it work for a couple months. Finally gave up and went with the Duet Wfi. Never looked back.

  • for me the use of the A5984 stepper driver was a no go.
    With the price beeing the same as the Duet Meastro, smoothieboard v1 is a hard sale.

  • administrators

    @mrehorstdmd said in Duet 3d wifi vs Smoothieware:

    However the uSD slot is on the bottom edge of the touchscreen panel (at least it is on the Panel Due 7i) which makes accessing it a little tricky when you enclose the panel.

    You can turn the PanelDue upside down if you prefer. There is an option in the Setup menu to invert the display.

  • @dc42 ah! Thanks! I'll give that a try!

  • I came from a Ramps board, and was going to pull the trigger on a smoothie, but ended up with a Duet instead.

    I am so glad I went with Duet, from the ground up it was designed for on the fly adjustment and calibration- I'm still pretty new to 3D printing as I only started last August, and I have learned a ton about adjustments and the results since I can easily write and save tweaks AS IT IS PRINTING.

    The support on this forum has been very helpful and very active.

  • I came from a ramps setup and I too was at the smoothie/duet crossroads at one stage. A few things swayed me towards the duet.

    • a friend of mine had the duet 1 and I liked the macro ecosystem
    • liked the web interface
    • I seen an exchange on the reprap forum between dc42 and the developer of smoothieware which left a bad taste in my mouth for smoothie.
    • the duet community is helpful and friendly, from an outsider looking in I found what seemed to be a more aggressive community in smoothie support
    • on the fly configuration is the best, so much freedom for your machine


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