The Best Control Board and Firmware for 3D Printers – Price vs Functionality

There are many options for upgrading the control board on your 3D printer. Ramps based control boards running Marlin are all but standard these days. Most people think they should just get a more powerful version of their current setup, but Duet3D offers superior hardware and firmware albeit, at a higher price point. With the addition of the Duet Maestro, we now have a lower cost yet fully functional option for running RepRapFirmware on our printers.

The Duet Wifi is Idiot Proof:
Duet Maestro, Ethernet, and Wifi Comparison chart:
Using Duet Maestro or WiFi with external motor drivers:


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25 thoughts on “The Best Control Board and Firmware for 3D Printers – Price vs Functionality

  1. What I don't get is that you keep mentioning trinamic drivers like you absolutely need them, but in fact, they are just something nice to have.
    DRV8825 does just fine for 2$ each. That takes the price of the board down to 17+10 = 27$.
    Then use a Pi 0 W, use USB webcam, only upload to SD card to print, with a bit of pain at low speed, you can get it going at as low as $15 for the wireless.
    That adds up to 42$, about 1/3 of the price of the duet board.
    Please be fair when doing comparison videos, there are options and people needs to know.
    But in fact, it's just something nice to have,

  2. Maestro supports printing by USB, so it will work with OctoPrint for sure. No special fiddling required. This is why no one is actually writing about it, it's really too simple. (:

  3. I am sure a legit Duet board is great ( although expensive ) But are you sponsored by them? I have watched a few of your videos and you really push them to the point of almost an Infomercial.

  4. Raspberry pi 3 runs 64 bit arm btw. Your 2nd duet board does not jave wifi so that 20 price differance is not taking into account loseing wifi. So the mks board + pi is the clear winner unless you want to run a Delta or you are hopeless at useing the find all function on your text editor. I know you love these duet boards and other western parts but please try just a bit harder to be a bit less bias.

  5. Just a point of correction. I have the Artemis delta printer from SeeMeCNC running the Duet 2 Wifi and not only can I connect a Raspberry Pi and print but it will connect to my new Palette 2 Pro at the same time. They talk to each other using plugins on the Pi. With that said…excellent video!

  6. Thank goodness other channels tell you how to get the most out of your printer, such as the Ender3. If I followed your channel and listened to you, you would have me replace the board on my machine and spend so much more getting the same functionality I get out of it now following other you-tuber's excellent videos.

  7. Re: OctoPrint + Maestro – you can always use a Pi as a proxy to share the wifi onto the Pi's ethernet port, basically turning the Maestro into a MaestroWifi

    The only bummer experience I had w/ my Maestro is that it came from M3D totally used – it had someone else's macros built into it, existing network config, no original box (just wrapped the board in bubble wrap), etc. It still worked totally fine, but it wasn't discounted or anything – just full price, used (without warning)

  8. On raspberry you can do more than just octoprint. Like file sharing, dlna server and other like cam and time-lapse. Octoprint is integrated with slicer. Still it communicate with printer board throu USB (or uart) which sometimes can cause problems or delays.
    Duet is awesome, all benefits but I can't rid of z seam. With marlin Ive got all tuned up and zseam is bearly noticeable. Taking same slicer settings to Reprap causes small blobs on beginning of loop and cannot hide it with wipe. To be fair I'm still tweeking some settings and use other slicers (simplyfy3d new update is disappointing).

  9. DuetWiFi or go home. It's a proven board. The huge accompanying touch screen panel just can't be beat.

    Looking forward to a DuetWiFi vs. MKS SBase/Marlin, 32-bit comparison!

  10. I was just thinking about using a teensy as a microcontroller and writing most of the firmware from scratch, just to see how far I could come. It's probably one of those projects that'll go nowhere but its funny that, right when I started to think about the possibilities, you create the perfect video about the current state of controller boards. Super helpful; thanks!

  11. hmm. Well the MKS équivalent of the duet should be the MKS Robin : 32 bits with built in wifi. I got one for a year and it works great for under 40 bucks. You also have the MKS Sbase, 32 bits under smoothieware but with DRV8825 drivers inside, at a reasonable price too.

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