What is the Buildbotics Controller?

The Buildbotics controller is a fully enclosed smart CNC machine controller with built-in Web interface and advanced GCode processor. It can control up to 4 stepper motors and a PWM or VFD controlled tool such as a router spindle, LASER or plasma torch.

What is GCode?

GCode is the language understood by most CNCs. It tells your CNC how to move, at what speed and when to turn the tool on and off.

What is a Stepper Motor?

A stepper motor is a special type of motor that moves in steps. This makes it possible to precisely position your CNC machine.

What is a CNC Spindle?

A CNC spindle is a high speed motor with a tool holder or chuck. CNC spindles are normally controlled with either a PWM enabled driver or VFD.

What is PWM?

PWM stats for Pulse Width Modulation. Pulses of different widths are sent over a wire to control the speed or intensity of CNC spindles or LASERs driver. The Buildbotics controller can output tightly controlled PWM signals.

What is a VFD?

VFD stands for Variable Frequency Drive. It is used to control high speed "three phase" CNC spindles. The Buildbotics controller can control most VFDs either using an RS485 control line or with PWM.

What is S-Curve Acceleration?

S-Curve acceleration is an advanced motion planning algorithm which smooths out CNC movement. Most CNC controllers use trapezoidal acceleration which is much simpler but results in jerky movement that produces rough cuts and increases wear and tear on both tools and the CNC machine itself.

Have other questions?

Email (info@buildbotics.com) or call us (707-559-8539). We are happy to help.

Check out our Reviews

Many of our customers have built new CNCs, converted old ones or revamped their existing machines using the Buildbotics CNC controller. Check out their reviews to see what some of them have to say.

Test your GCode Online

Make your CNC incredibly easy to use with the Buildbotics controller's intuitive software.

Click here to try the demo.

Upload your GCode and press the play button to run a simulation of the real Buildbotics CNC controller.

See what it's like to configure motor, tool and limit switch settings.

Join our Mailing List

Compatible with most CAM software

The Buildbotics CNC controller accepts GCode from CAM software like Fusion 360, Mastercam, VCarve, BobCAD, MeshCAM, CamBam, and many others. Test your GCode for Buildbotics compatibility for free with CAMotics.

Built-in Stepper Drivers

  • 4 motor driver channels
  • Up to 6A per channel
  • 12v to 36v DC
  • Up to 256 microstepping
  • Smooth S-curve acceleration
  • Step rates up to 250k/sec per channel.

Drive most NEMA 17, NEMA 23 and NEMA 34 motors. Preliminary support for 4th axis as a rotary axis. The fourth driver can be synchronized to drive a single axis with two motors. Here's a list of some motors we recommend.

Reliable Electronics

We know you want your CNC to just work when you need it to. Yet, many cheap CNC controllers were designed with little or no attention to electrical safety. The Buildbotics controller is protected from:

  • Over-current
  • Thermal overload
  • Under voltage
  • Reverse voltage
  • Short-circuit
  • Voltage spikes caused by motor stalls

Awesome Technical Support

Get a hold of a real person when you need to. We provide technical support by email, phone or via the Buildbotics forum.

Check out our reviews to see just how much our customers love our technical support.

Stay Cool without a Fan

The Buildbotics controller protects against thermal overload. Through careful selection of high-quality electronic components, the Buildbotics controller stays cool, without a fan, even while driving 6A motor loads. Going fan-less not only eliminates noise but also avoids sucking in dust and debris.

Dedicated Computer not Required

A finely tuned PC running Mach or LinuxCNC is not needed. You can access the Buildbotics controller's built-in software from any of your devices and be sure that your CNC will run smoothly and uninterrupted.

You can even try out your GCodes online with our free demo software.

Fast, Smooth & Accurate Stepping

Get maximum performance and accuracy from your CNC. The Buildbotics controller achieves smooth step rates up to 250,000 per second allowing you to use up to 256 microstepping at high speeds.

USB Gamepad Control

Setup up cuts with ease and agility using the included gamepad.

Remote Monitoring with USB Camera

With the optional USB camera you can keep an eye on your CNC from anywhere using a Web browser or smartphone.

Wired or WiFi Networking

The Buildbotics controller offers a modern Web interface accessible from a browser over your local network or WiFi. A whole network of Buildbotics controllers can be managed from a single computer.

Free Simulation Software

All the software you need to run GCode on your CNC machine is built in to the Buildbotics controller but you can also use our free simulation software to test your GCode before you run it.

The CAMotics CNC simulator computes 3D cut previews from GCode. CAMotics can also send GCode directly to the Buildbotics controller over the network and track the machine position while it runs.

RaspberryPi 3 Inside

The built-in Raspberry Pi 3 running Linux on a 16GiB microSD card provides massive potential for building your next big idea. Install additional software or use Python to implement your own features.

Tool Control

The PWM, enable and direction outputs can be used to control a wide array of tool heads. The RS485 connection drives high-speed VFD controlled air or water cooled spindles over two wires.

I/O Breakout Box Included

Limit switches, Z-axis probing, PWM spindle control, RS-485 spindle control, and e-stop switches can be easily connected via the included 25-pin I/O breakout board using simple screw terminals.

Power Supply Options

Connect any power supply which outputs 12-36v DC with at least 6A using the included power cable or buy the Mean Well GST280A-C6P power adapter on our store for a totally enclosed fan-less option.

Cables Included

The Buildbotics controller comes with time saving pre-made cables for connecting stepper motors, power supplies and load switches.

Built-in Load Switches

Two load switches, each capable of supplying up to 15A can power heated beds for 3D printers, extruders, vacuum tables or whatever else you can think of.

For AC loads, an inexpensive SSR switch can be used. External relays can be used for higher amp DC loads.

Aluminum Enclosure

By carefully considering heat throughout the design process the Buildbotics controller dissipates heat through its fan-less aluminum enclosure without sucking in metal or wood shavings.

Four screw holes allow the enclosure to be easily mounted on or near the machine.

Documentation

Good documentation is essential. We are still working on perfecting our documentation and will continue to do so. Stay tuned for tutorials on CNC building with the Buildbotics controller.

Tested

The Buildbotics controller has been successfully tested in many CNC builds both by us and our customers.

We filmed the construction of a Taig CNC mill, an OX CNC router, a K40 LASER upgrade and a Dyna Myte 2400 retrofit. Check out the videos on our Youtube channel.

Check out some of machines we've build with the Buildbotics CNC controller.

Source Code, Schematics & PCB layout

Welcome, software and hardware developers. We’ve already implemented a lot of cool features but we have not even scratched the surface of what this controller could do. That is why we’ve made everything 100% Open-Source.

Here’s what you can find on GitHub:

Join our Mailing List