Duet Control Board, MKS, SKR, Creality – There are many and varied choices for replacing the main board in your 3D Printer. Maybe you want to extend the functionality? Possibly you want to add another Z screw or a second extruder?. Perhaps you’re looking for something more intense, such as live network access to your machine on the fly? ~Maybe you’re replacing a faulty board & want to future proof the machine a little at the same time. The choices and combinations are virtually endless and increasing all the time, in this article i will review a Duet 2 Maestro 3D printer control board.
Regular readers will know I have a selection of Creality machines at my disposal. Well, 5 of them covering four original models. I guess it’s safe to say that I have a range of capabilities and setups to play with. One of my favourite machines is my Ender 3 Pro. It was my first 3D Printer, and it’s my go-to machine for testing upgrades. Recently, I fitted an SKR 1.3 control board with 2208 Trinamic stepper drivers. The aim was to see if it was much of an improvement over the Creality “Silent” 1.1.4 control board.
While it impressed me with the SKR control board, I couldn’t help but wonder…What if the Duet main board would be better?, they have a solid core following and command a premium price. Premium enough that fake boards have surfaced on the internet and logic would dictate you. Don’t copy something that’s not good. Also, the counterfeit boards even have their own Facebook groups!
Contacting Duet, their marketing team warmly welcomed me when I explained what I wanted to do. I intended to test the three boards one after the other on the same machine. This would mean no other variables are affecting the prints. Two weeks later, a Duet Maestro 2 Ethernet control board landed via DHL. I’d already tested the Creality 3D printer board and had the SKR 3D printer control board installed, so after I completed some other jobs I set to work.
The Duet 2 Maestro control board that they sent me is the budget version of the Duet 2, which comes in 2 flavours. Wi-Fi and Ethernet. The difference is self-explanatory, one is a wired connection where the other is wireless.
Pins, Pins, Pins
The Duet board uses a unique type of Molex pin and plug set up to the Creality and SKR boards. As a result, when installing the Duet board, it’s a lot more involved than the others. Don’t let this put you off though! A bit of time and some careful wiring can make all the difference.
Choosing to fit an entirely new main board enclosure to my Ender 3, I downloaded one from Thingiverse. I set it to print on my Creality CR10s Pro and set to work stripping the SKR from the Ender 3.
This is no genuine issue, and I’m familiar enough with the wiring of the Ender 3 not to need to label everything. However, for those who are not so familiar, I recommend making notes! Creality’s installation for the steppers and end stops is marked with the correct axis on it already using cable tags, which helps.
If you’re not 100% familiar with your printers wiring, you can find the pin out or diagrams online with just a simple google search. Ensure when changing the installation to a new plug that firstly you’re fitting the right wire in the right place and second, ensure that you are not holding the connector back to front. Otherwise, your wiring is reversed! Third, the polarity of power wiring is easily tested with a multimeter, and I can’t stress enough how important this is to get right.
Clip Strip Crimp Push, Repeat
There are more than a few wires that need the terminals to be replaced, and it can seem like a thankless task. But trust me, the ends justify the means in this case. Once changed to the correct size terminal, you have gifted with the peace of mind that each connection is 100% the best it can be and that your printing won’t suffer because of it—no loose connections causing failed prints or bad connections causing stuttering steppers.
All on Board
Although the Maestro 2 is Duets version of a budget board, this doesn’t mean that it lacks features.
- Powerful 32-Bit Processor: SAM4S8C:
- 120MHz ARM Cortex-M4 micro-controller
- 1024Kb memory
- 128Kb RAM
- TMC 2224-LA Trinamic Stepper motors are entirely silent using stealth chop two and can step a whopping 2A of current with proper heating dissipation
- 3 Heater channels for running dual extruders and the heated bed, along with Firmware support for mixing nozzles.
Connect via PC, tablet or smartphone on the same network to the Duet Web Control web interface. There is no need for an app to install, internet connectivity or cloud service to sign up for, yet you can control your Printer, upload and start prints from the browser. Believe me, once you do it you soon get fed up swapping SD cards out!
Setup your Printer and update the firmware through the web interface—no need to compile your firmware. Touch Screen support for Duet’s system the PanelDue controller provides a full-colour graphic touch screen controller with a virtual keyboard. Also, it talks G-code for maximum flexibility. This is a planned upgrade for my Ender 3 Duet build at a later date.
Helpfully, you’re not limited to only the panel due as a display option as the duet boards are also compatible with the low cost 12864 LCD – which is what I have done when fitting to my Creality Ender 3 Pro, reusing the existing screen. One of the better design features is the ability for the board to be fed via either 12V or 24V, the selection of which is controlled via an onboard jumper setting.
Home Sweet Home
So with my Duet installed in my case, my 3D Touch fitted and my confidence soaring, I connected my network and ran through the beneficial control Macros that Duet supply. It is a brilliant test run to ensure everything works as it should. It thrilled me I did this as I had left my Y-Axis end stop the loose and first time I homed the Printer it fell out! I’m sure you’re familiar with that moment your heart is in your mouth and a curse word on your lips as you try to stop it making that horrid noise before it strips the belt! A brief investigation and the cause was located and repaired. The Bed manually levelled and the 3D Touch runs through its calibration routine, I loaded some filament and set to work on a print.
Duet 2 Maestro - Creality Ender3 Pro Ugrade
Creality Ender 3 Pro Duet 2 Maestro Upgrade! This was done on a bare bone Stock Ender 3 Pro that had the board fail in less then 2 weeks. Special thanks to ...
Be gentle; it’s my first time
Choosing the gentle approach, I went with the standard XYZ Calibration cube to start with. I loaded the G-code file I had already sliced in Simplify 3D, and the Printer dutifully started its levelling run. However, when it came to the print, nothing happened! It took me a moment to realize that although I had loaded the filament, in my haste to test the Duet board, I had forgotten that the last time I used that machine the hot end had become blocked solid after a fan failure! My bad! Hitting the ever so useful Emergency stop on the duet page, I allowed everything to cool. I then grabbed a replacement hot end from my spare stock and set to work.
New hot end fitted and the bed re-levelled I went looking for the RepRap commands to PID tune. I could fiddle with the old one to my heart’s content once the Printer printed again.
PID tuning complete – I set the Printer off on a test print, once completed, and I note, close to the estimated time too. I was pleased with the results. Measuring as intended and with no layer shifting, it was love at first print.
Handy Information On The Duet 2 Maestro 3D Printer control board
- Duet Web Control – Has a lot of impressive features packed into this web software, you can control your 3D printer from anywhere with the duet web control LINK.
- Duet 2 Maestro Wiring Diagram – Duet supply you with the wiring diagram to help you wire it all up, it shows you all the connections with handy colour coded labels if you stuck and can’t find what is what on the duet 3D printer control board then you should have a look here LINK.
- PanelDue – The Panel Due is a colour touch screen controller for the Duet and many more 3dprinting electronics that support it. There is a version with the controller and a 7 inch LCD integrated available as well as the controller + separate LCDs at 4.2, 5 and 7 inches. If you want to have a more duet feel and look on your 3D printer, then you should try this out. LINK.
- Duet 3D Guides – If you stuck with firmware, tuning, hardware and wiring, slicing, or even adapting your 3d printer to work with Duet here is the place where you can find this information and many more great tips and tricks LINK.
Do you believe in love at first, byte?
I’ve now been using the Duet 2 Maestro 3D printer control board for three months; I have another ender 3 with an SKR 1.3 board next to it and a Standard ender pro running the Creailty silent board upgrade. How do they compare? The Duet 2 Maestro wins hands down, it’s so easy to use, the features are so intuitive, and it’s so quiet!, the web interface is a dream to use so much easier than getting up to change SD Cards,
The SKR Works well as a budget board but isn’t as refined as the Duet 2 Maestro. I hope to spend more time investigating how well it works. Especially with a dual extruder set up on Ender 3. The Creailty main board gets the Printer to work, and with a well-tuned slicer profile can churn out some beautiful prints. The Duet Maestro 2, however, is on another level.
In Conclusion. I can only say Well Done! The Duet 2 Maestro is a wonder to behold. I am now in a quandary about whether to fit one to my CR10S Pro.
If you would like to buy the Duet Maestro head over to their website.
If you have enjoyed my post why not check out a recent article on the New SKR 1.4 Turbo board or how about Eryone Thinker S Review – Pondering my First 30 Days