Tag Archives: inventables

X-Controller (Prototype) By Inventables

Test Conditions:

Machine: X-Carve 1000mm

Mods: Probe Plate, Stiffening, Start/Resume and Feed Hold Buttons, Dewalt 611 Spindle

Software: Easel, Vectric, UGS , Autodesk.

Pros:

-Neatness, Look, Ease of Wiring, Control of 120v Appliances

Overall this controller packs a lot under the cover. It has a built in E-Stop that absolutely kills power to the whole machine, it also has removable connectors for all your motors and logic control/limits, comes in an extruded aluminum case that has rubber feet on the bottom, the handy relay controlled receptacle add-on has indicator led’s and CH1/2 Is controlled by M7/M8 Respectively. When you take the unit apart you can see they made it easy to fix/upgrade.  With the Stepper driver and AtMega328P all on one board and the other electronics on the logic control board. A new feature that I really like and prevents motor heating and ambient noise is the driver board has a jumper to select reduced idle current so when you are not turning the motor it reduces current but still holds position. The labeling on everything seems to be great and is always a big help when you have to unplug something or add something in.

Cons:

-No Built in Start/Resume and Feed Hold Buttons,, E-Stop Quality, Internal Connectors.

Well there is always something wrong with every product. The X-Controller and receptacle add-on both have a few flaws. Firstly, they did not build in a Start/Resume and Feed Hold button that plays a major roll in manual tool changes and also if you wish to pause your cut briefly to check something or make sure that everything is going smoothly, also with the receptacle add-on when I plug my rather small vacuum into the plug and issue a M7 or M8 command it clicks then reboots the Arduino. Everything seems to be optically isolated but somehow interference is getting through. The e-stop on the main box is ok but feels cheap and takes some force to trigger and un trigger. Finally, when I first received this product I hooked it all up configured it and BAM the Z axis absolutely destroyed the limit switch and rendered it a pile of crushed plastic. After replacing the switch, I opened up the controller and noticed the i/o ribbon cable was only pushed down about half way.

Improvements:

-Start/Resume and Feed Hold Buttons on case (Easy fix)

-Fix issue with receptacle resetting whole system when something is plugged in (Maybe add a cap to 120v to soak up the spike)

-Some sort of wire strain relief (To take stress off of connectors)

Final Thoughts:

Carry It! With a few mods this controller could be amazing. I like it 1000X more than the old controller setup they have that leaves you with a cheap looking hunk of wires and electronics. I wish I could have kept this unit but at $329 USD I just can’t afford it. Inventables really likes their custom extrusions and all the power to them the product looks great. Also at time of review Grbl was on version 0.9j and the controller came with 1.0b witch seems to have some new features but with no documentation and only 1 week to review this product was hard to dig deep and use them.

Design: 8/10

Function:  8/10

Looks: 9/10

Quality: 8/10

OVERALL: 8.5/10

After talking with the CEO of Inventables they have made some changes to the unit and most of the cons in my review have no been addressed. This product and company are very well managed and the team at Inventables is always there to help.

This Product is Available here: https://www.inventables.com/technologies/x-controller

IMG_20151004_140844 IMG_20151004_140851 IMG_20151004_140859 IMG_20151004_141258 IMG_20151004_141320 xcntrl