Laser Engraver with Smoothie, RAMPS 1.4 or AWC708C?

I have an old laser engraver that runs from Windows 98SE and DOS-6. Yup, still works fine but a pain as I regularly have to open it up and unplug and re-seat all the ribbon connectors. Fifteen of them and I tire of that fast.

I am thinking of pulling out all the electronics and installing a TB6600 stepper drivers and Arduino to run G-code. My order of desire is based on price, RAMPS, Smoothie and the AWC708C. I'd actually like to stay away from the AWC as it is closed source and I would be stuck with whatever it has.

With the existing NEMA 17 steppers I can get rapids to 400 mm/s. Will a RAMPS system drive this fast enough? It doesn't have to be that fast, but close to and certainly not below about 200 mm/sec.

I have been searching but cannot find any actual figures achieved. If not then I guess my second option is the smoothie.

• I can get rapids - Is that a typo? – Greenonline Jun 23 '18 at 15:10
• @Greenonline No, "rapid" is CNC terminology. It refers to a non-cutting (or in this case, non-engraving) move. The 3D printing equivalent would be "travel move". – Tom van der Zanden Jun 23 '18 at 15:28
• Thanks Tom, yup many CNC machines in the garage. Didn't even know I had written "rapids." – LinuxFerLife Jun 23 '18 at 18:10
• Why not either clean or replace the connectors, assuming there's still some slack in the ribbon cables? MIght be a lot simpler than a major electronics + software change. (or, if it's really a loose connector problem, see if there's a way to cable-tie them securely in place) – Carl Witthoft Jun 25 '18 at 14:25