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A new Solution with Grbl Firmware to use cnc mills or 3d printers.Created by Frank Herrmann (xpix), Godsplan (first design)

The XStepper includes the following features:

  • ATMega328u (DIL Package)
  • USB Connection using USB-FTDI
  • Opto-Couplers for USB Connection
  • ICSP-Connector for flashing the firmware
  • GRBL Firmware (<= v0.8) and GRBL Pinout
  • Connector for External Buttons for spindle, reset, etc...
  • Support for four Pololu A4988 or Pololu compatible Modules
  • Supports dual-Y motion
  • Supports cooling fan (24V or with 7805 and fan)
  • Supports XYZ-Limit in extra pinheader with GND/VCC

Version 0.9:

  • LEDs for every axis
  • LEDs for every Limit
  • Power LED
  • AK500 Screw terminal for Steppers
  • Connector for Bluetooth TTL Modules

Version 0.91:

  • Bugfix from V 0.9
  • better Layout and Design
  • Emergency button connect

Version 0.95:

  • Bugfix from V 0.91
  • better Layout and Design
  • better Silkscreen
  • add SMD/FTDI USB connector (optional)
  • extra VMOT Connector
  • fix for endswitch LED's
  • add L7812 voltage regulator for fan and board


This Board are in beta phases, sometimes we realize we are not perfect :) And yes, this is hard to know :) Ok, please check your Boardversion and read this articles for workarounds to fix these Bugs:

Version 0.9

Version 0.91

Version 0.96

Buy a PCB



or you write User: xpix or alklut a message.

Build Instructions

Schema / Board Plans

This branches are created for every revision. Please download schema and board file for your Revision for solder:

Bill of Material (BOM)

Required tools


Flash Atmega328

First of all, it's easy to flash an Atmega328p. I searched for some nice tutorials and found this links:

Mostly it's easy to flash a Atmega chip. It exists a lot of tutorials how you can do this. Here some points there help you:

  • Think about it, if you have problems to set fuses or to communicate with Atmega then he run to slow, cuz fuse setting divide clock are setted as default. Then do avrdude slowly with option "-B20", after correct fuse settings you can remove this option.
  • If u set the default fuses without external crystal, then he stop to work ...

Solder Board

The soldering is very easy, cuz the pcb are produced professionel but you must have a quiet hand and a cool Brain. After every step make a little break and clear youre brain with music or a cup of tea :)

The best practice to show the value from every part, display board and activate at unknown part the context menu. Choose last point "Prefs/Eigenschaften"

Eagle eigenschaften.GIF

first smallest parts

  • get resistors, caps and LED's first and solder this parts with youre smallest solder wire 0.5mm - 0.8mm
  • use also the smallest solder iron tip on youre solder machine
  • for good results think on every pin: 1 second heat the pin and then solder
  • use a magnifying glass for best results
  • check all solder points from both sides, it's hard to find cold solder points!

next bigger parts

  • get all ic sockets and solder them
  • for big solder points you can use a bigger solder wire >= ~1mm
  • but don't change the solder iron tip
  • please care about the direction from IC's sockets

XStepper 09 some parts.jpg

biggest and last parts

  • the best way, solder the biggest parts from the middle to outside
  • use foam and tape to fix the parts
  • the realy last parts are the AK500 Screwterminals for stepper wires

Version 0.9
Version 0.9
Version 0.91
Version 0.91


First tests

First tests are very important, you solder the last houres or last Day and you dont want to destroy ur work :)

All Tests are without IC's and Stepper Drivers!!

Ok here the test cases to check if everything ok:

  • Test for contact between Ground and VCC
    • check VCC and GND on socket on big IC
    • check VCC and GND on socket on FAN Connector
    • check VCC and GND on Serial Connector
  • Test L7805 voltage divider
    • put GND and VCC from FAN or Power to a 9V power supply
    • check after L7805 the volts, have to 5V!
    • check power led (on?)
  • Test Atmega368 and Optos
    • put flashed Atmega368 IC on Socket
    • put both OK1 and OK2 to sockets
    • connect ur serial2usb device to board
    • open a serial client and connect ur serial port (check in win devicemanager which port use the serial2usb device)
    • push 2-3 times the reset button and watch the console, it must come the hello message from grbl




Control spindle

Normal you control your spindle manual. Here you can spindle from your controller board. I use Solid State Relay (SSR) to control a high power wire: http://r.ebay.com/C5X7CO

Connect the spindle control wire on the low Side and on of the wire 110/220 or 24-48 Volt for Spindle on the other side. Check switch spindle on with command M03 and off with command M05.

Fotos and videos coming soon ...


We wait for the next Version 0.9X from XStepper come from ITEAD in China, maybe i open a store and customers can buy the PCB or a set with all Parts. Here the start in thread to discuss the new design:



You can read all articles in the thread about the idea and the first prototype board. We tried to make a board with all connectors and a CPU in thru-hole design, easy to DIY but clearly designed and open hardware.