RA 3D printer controller on Kickstarter for $149

Features of RA:

Are you one of the tens of thousands of people around the world embarking on making a 3D printer from a kit such as a RepRap? Or maybe your own design? One of the things you need is a controller board. Before you go buy one, you’ll want to check out an interesting one has popped up on Kickstarter a few days ago.

It’s called the RA 3D, and the project is put up by the team of Richard Thomson, Tim Anderson and Devin Hales. They’ve been working together in the MakeSLC maker space that Howard and Thomson founding in 2010.

As with all the Kickstarter projects, there are many ways you can back the development of the RA 3D. And a pledge as low as $149 will get you the controller in kit form, and for $189 you’ll get an assembled unit. Take a look at all the features below, but here are some of the standout features:

  • Screw Terminals to avoid soldering
  • Supports three extruders
  • An ATX plugin to support any ATX power supply
  • Control two heated beds simultaneously
  • LCD control panel, and when using an SD card, no computer required to print

The project still has 26 days to go and it’s already blown through its goal of $4,000. As of this writing, $9,253 has already been pledged by 42 backers. You can even just pledge $10 to show your support.

Features of RA:

  • Screw terminals for easy connection
  • MP3 sound controller add-on available
  • Lighting control – up to 64 RGD LEDs
  • Status updates via lighting
  • Modified Marlin firmware pre-installed and configured for typical 1-extruder machine. You can run up to 3 extruders
  • 5 PWM driven MOSFET outputs with indicator leds
  • 2 – 12V MOSFET outputs for heated beds (10A per board fused) controlled by one pin
  • 3 – 12V  MOSFET outputs fused together at 10A for extruder cores
  • One 5V PWM output fused at 5A with 5V rail
  • Buzzer – Beeps when using Elefu Control Panel menu for feedback.
  • Reset button for MCU
  • Up to 6 Elefu A4988 Stepper Drivers. X,Y,Z and up to 3 Extruders.
  • Elefu A4988 Stepper Drivers do Full,Half, Quarter, Eighth, Sixteenth micro-stepping support.
  • RA is pin compatible with pololu A4988 Stepper Drivers
  • Power on LED indicator
  • 4 Thermistor inputs measure temperature of heated bed and 3 hot ends
  • 6 Limit switch inputs with ground and 5V for optical or mechanical end-stops
  • Dedicated +3v3, +5v and +12v outputs fused at 5A per rail for additional components including light ring, fans, MP3 sound controller, lighting control kit, camera IR trigger and any custom uses you can think up.
  • Camera IR trigger kit available to use with marlin-supported remote camera trigger gcode command.
  • LED light ring
  • FTDI USB for programming the ATMega2560 and uploading custom firmware with dedicated TX and RX LEDs for communication indicators
  • ATMega2560 built in. All unused pins mapped to board with +5V, GND
  • ICSP pin header for direct AVR programming
  • ATX power supply input – takes 24 pin and either 4pin or 8 pin connector for a maximum of 36A of current on the 12V rails and 5A each on the 5V and 3v3 rail, with 500ma of standby power for essential components
  • Power supply can be turned off via software when printer is finished printing

Elefu control panel Add-on features:

  • Rotary encoder with push button switch to control menus and operate your printer without a computer
  • SD card support – Print from SD card, no computer needed to run printer
  • Remote reset button for emergency stops
  • LCD Display with menu system for control of printer

Kickstarter project page: RA 3D