Generic powder machine controller

Powder and inkjet printing
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Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 8:43 pm

Generic powder machine controller

Post by david » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:07 pm


I'm designing an electronic controller for small powder machines (no long distance signal). I try to make it a generic configurable control box. The hardware is based on,

- 500MHz 32bit processor with FPU and 64MByte RAM for print image processing;
- 16MByte flash + TF card for storage;
- FPGA for digital signals up to 300MHz;

So far the following features have been done,

User interface:
- 3inch 320*480 IPS LCD;
- multi-point touch screen;
- speaker;
- Emergency stop;
- Power on/off with LED.

- front USB socket as host or device;
- Wifi (optional);
- Ethernet (optional).

- 5 stepper drivers; (2 piston, 2 sliding, 1 ink)
- many homing switch;

- high voltage power (42V);
- high voltage head driving waveform generator;
- 2 analog channel for temperature etc;
- 15 high speed digital signals (single-ended) for data and control;

- rotation control;
- vibration control;

- 2 ch pump driver (other ink station function supported from the motion part)

Please let me know if I missed anything major or any suggestion? I was thinking to add UV and heater, but since their application may vary, I'll probably only provide the control signal.


Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 8:43 pm

Re: Generic powder machine controller

Post by david » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:56 pm

it'll be something like this,
ctrl.JPG (146.26 KiB) Viewed 66 times
about 110mm x 105mm x 55mm

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Re: Generic powder machine controller

Post by dragonator » Tue Apr 09, 2019 5:49 am

Hello David,

I like the idea.

For what printheads are you designing this controller. With FPGA at 300MHz and 15 free I/O (and 42V) I can easily see the Xaar 128 on this, but something like the HP45 will not work on this, it simply needs more I/O (around 20). Is the 15 channels limited by your current hardware or by your design requirements. What voltage are the 15 channels on.

Are you boosting to 42V on board, or do you make this externally. How much current can you make using this power supply and can it be set to different voltages.

Are you going to write the motion side of things yourself or do you want to use something existing. Is this still possible with the computing power available? Motion and inkjet together are difficult to program.

Having a few mosfet 12V outputs is always handy, for stuff like fans and lights and relays. If this adds too many features, an output header so you can connect this might be an idea.

2 more ideas that work together. The first thing I have heard a few times is a need for a universal inkjet controller, not just for powder machines. If you have this, the ability to add an encoder might be very helpful to drive the inkjet. If people only want to use the inkjet side, having soldered motor drivers is expensive and not necessary. Also, If new motor drivers come along that are better, there is no way of using those. Do you solder the motor drivers to your board, or do you have the headers like a RAMPS board does.

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