Shapeoko upgrade (10) – Gecko G540 / Mach3

I actually almost forgot to write a little something about maybe one of the more substantial yet invisible upgrades: I ditched the whole Arduino/Gshield setup and bought a real CNC controller: the well-known and praised Gecko G540.

It was a logical choice to upgrade considering the much sturdier motors I now have, which draw a considerable amount of current, too much for the Gshield to handle. It is supposed to be very stable, and the obvious choice for the control software – Mach3 – is well-documented with more functionality than’t I’ll ever care to learn. The sad part is that my electronics enclosure is already obsolete…

I also bought the very user-friendly EZ connectors, which feature a potentiometer instead of having to solder the appropriate resistor. Below is a picture of one of these connectors opened, but my vendor already matched them to my motors and shipped them all closed up and ready.


Other than that, not much to say, really… I am still learning as I go. I currently use all of this in the most basic of ways (no spindle control, no limit switches, even no emergency stop atm, but don’t worry, that’ll be my first priority!) , but I hope to implement more features as I get comfortable with it.


Above there are 4 stepper cables attached, but I am currently not using the 4th axis. I plan to use it as a second Y driver, so each motor has a dedicated driver, but at this time I’m running both Y-axis motors on 1 output.

I guess that’s it for today. Maybe I’ll update this article later on, if and when I have more to share.



I did some cable management and gave the computer and Geckodrive a more permanent  home 🙂


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