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I purchased a (very) low tier printer a while back, and now I am looking to start upgrading. First on my list is to upgrade the controller.

My initial plan was to upgrade to an Arduino Mega with a RAMPS 1.4 running Marlin, but as I started to try to find a RAMPS 1.4 board I started questioning my plan. Almost every source I could find for the board was either out of stock or very sketchy. Then I discovered that RAMPS 1.6 exists, but I can find even fewer places with it in stock.

Is the Mega + RAMPS combo still what people are using? I made a printer 4 years ago and that was what I used, but due to the scarcity of RAMPS boards for sale I am now unsure if it is still being used by the community.

If RAMPS still is the recommendation, what brands are reputable?

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    $\begingroup$ are you asking for a product recommendation? $\endgroup$ – Trish Feb 10 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ No, I'm trying to figure out if using RAMPS 1.4 with a Mega is an outdated solution and if there are better solutions these days. $\endgroup$ – Rekamanon Feb 10 at 21:07
  • $\begingroup$ Well, the 32-bit boards are becoming more general now. These are fine boards when you like to tinker and need many extruders, steppers, etc. Do note that for a simple printer this may be over the top. RAMPS shields are sold in abundance on the Chinese vending or auction sites. What is the reason for the upgrade? $\endgroup$ – 0scar Feb 10 at 22:34
  • $\begingroup$ I'm a software junkie so I want to be able to have full access to the code on my machine, and I also want to have a controller flexible enough to handle all the upgrades I plan on adding to the printer eventually $\endgroup$ – Rekamanon Feb 10 at 22:58
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    $\begingroup$ RAMPS boards aren't really "state-of-art" anymore. Marlin supports both modern 32-bit boards (SKR 1.3, SKR Pro, MKS SGEN L, Fysetc S6 etc.) as well as the older Arduino / AVR based boards (RAMPS, Fysetc F6, MKS GEN L etc.). You may also want to take a look at the Klipper firmware. It supports lots of such small features, and you could also use multiple boards working together as one system, all controlled with a Raspberry Pi. $\endgroup$ – towe Feb 13 at 7:43
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RAMPS boards aren't really "state-of-the-art" anymore. The newest version, the Ramps 1.6 Plus, at least supports drivers with UART / SPI communication though, which is required for most "silent" TMC drivers. BigTreeTech's GitHub still seems to miss schematics for it though.

Marlin supports both modern 32-bit boards (SKR 1.3, SKR Pro, MKS SGEN L, Fysetc S6 etc.) as well as the older Arduino / AVR based boards (RAMPS, Fysetc F6, MKS GEN L etc.). Out of those, I'd currently recommend the Fysetc S6 with TMC2209 or TMC5160 drivers.

You may also want to take a look at the Klipper firmware (as mentioned in Puneit Thukral's answer). It supports lots of such small features (as mentioned in your comment), and you could also use multiple boards working together as one system, all controlled with a single Raspberry Pi. It's based on Python modules, so it should be relatively easy to add features to.

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As per https://reprap.org/wiki/RAMPS_1.6,

The RAMPS 1.6 is the second RAMPS iteration released by BIQU/BIGTREETECH. It replaces the original green power connector with a pair of screw terminals, adds a larger heatsink over the MOSFETS, and has a larger bed MOSFET. It maintains the surface-mounted fuses and flush MOSFETS of the RAMPS 1.5.

Also, the positions of the D1 and D2 diodes have been swapped from the positions in RAMPS 1.4, the D1 diode is now the diode closest to fuse F2. The same is true for RAMPS 1.5, also manufactured by BIQU/BIGTREETECH.

In other words, RAMPS 1.6 is pretty much the same as the 1.4 board. It just has some minor changes.

As for availability, I have found numerous listings for RAMPS 1.4 and RAMPS 1.6 on Amazon (US) and Ebay (US) for under $10.

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If you own a raspberry pi , you may first want to try Klipper firmware. This firmware does the heavy lifting on the pi itself and sends commands to the printer board via usb. My ender 3 pro works much better with this firmware.

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