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Announcing the grblShield

We’ve written about Grbl before, the G-code interpreter, that can be flashed onto Atmega328-based Arduinos. Our new project contributor, Riley Porter, has a project that he’s just shared with us. It’s an Arduino Shield that plugs into an Arduino and turns it into a 3-axis CNC controller. This is very exciting hardware. For $70, you can turn your Arduino into a three-motor motion control system. Here’s what Riley has to say about the grblShield. –Gareth

Simen Svale Skogsrud is the programmer responsible for the Grbl, the G-code interpreter to be used with the Arduino development board. Simen describes Grbl as the following:

Grbl is a G-code interpreter that implements a subset of the RS-274/NGC standard and is tested with the output of a number of CAM-tools with no issues. Linear, circular, and helical motion are all fully supported.
Most configuration options can be set at run-time and are saved in EEPROM between sessions and even retained between different versions of Grbl as you upgrade the firmware.

Before now, acquiring the needed stepper drivers and wiring up an Arduino to work with them was something of a messy process. BEHOLD!

With the grblShield, just plug it on top of your existing Arduino (Uno Included), flash Grbl onto your Arduino, and you have a three-axis CNC control board! We decided to use the Texas Instruments DRV8811 stepper drivers. These stepper drivers are very robust (we haven’t blown one yet :), solderable (barely), and support micro-stepping.

Features of the grblShield:

  • All pins unused by the grblShield are accessible via pass through (in the v3 board, not pictured)
  • Grbl supports up to 3 axis
  • 12 – 30v input
  • Up to 2.5 amps per winding, 5 amps per motor (2 windings)
  • Directly wired for 8x micro-stepping

Here is a video I made using it:

You can get it here:

>> Back to the main Make: Arduino page

  • Anonymous


  • Carl Stevenson

    great, ill get one. Will you be sharing the code you used to control the “drawbot” you made with this shield?


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  • Anonymous

    I purchased a grblshield and waited while it was back ordered.  It worked for about two weeks when the X-axis stopped sending signals to the stepper motor.  I have sent numerous emails to synthetos and all have been ignored.  They are happy to take your money and pretend that you don’t exist if there is a problem.

  • Julio Radesca

    Great Job.

    I was wondering if someone has tried to stream the code from Rhino CAM straight to the GRBL shield?

  • Andrew Hennessy

    Hi my name is Andrew H. I am 13 years old and very intrigued with this type of hardware interface. I looked at the Wirebot instructions and was very puzzled. Do you think you could add more detail? for instance, power supply and how to upload the python sketch to an Arduino board.

  • Anthony

    Is it compatiable with the Adruino Mega? The Arduino web site says,”The Mega is compatible with most shields designed for the Arduino Duemilanove or Diecimila.” Just want to double check before ordering!

    Thanks Anthony

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