I am a Master’s student of International Islamic University Malaysia. For my research purpose I need some important information from you. It is related to 3D


I have one 3 axes(X,Y,Z) mchine. I am using LabVIEW 2014 and NI PCI 7344(motion controller). This motion controller can control upto 4 servo motors and can give 2 PWM signal.

I want to implement dual/multi nozzle heat extruder along with the “Z” axis. . For dual/multi nozzle heat extruder i need such type of motors that can be controlled by PWM signal.

So,what are the parts should i have to buy for making workable my 3axes machine as a 3D printer?? here is the figure of my 3 axes machine.


please help me by proving information regarding this post


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here is the figure

To me it seems that instead of controlling DC motors with PWM (which would require encoders for feedback if you wanted any kind of precision, which would in turn require ), it would be much easier to replace the CNC controller with RepRap hardware such as a RAMPS board, and use RepRap stepper drivers to drive the extruder motors instead. The major problem I see with this approach is that the platform in question uses large NEMA 23 motors, which RepRap stepper drivers can’t drive to the max power. Of course, you could simply drive it at a current that the drivers can handle, but I’m not sure what exactly the effects of that would be.

In all honesty, it seems that turning a CNC mill motion platform isn’t ideal in any way and is a bit of a waste of a CNC. 3D printers don’t require anywhere near the power or durability of a mill, and tend to move much faster as well which may be difficult to accomplish on a mill platform. Additionally, the geometry of the mill isn’t ideal at all: it’s wide and flat, with much less Z space than most 3D printers, so you’d be limited to printing odd niche geometries. You could add a spindle again and turn it into a basic but very capable CNC mill, and instead just build a separate 3D printer.



(a) At 1st i will attach the CNC milling spindle along with the “Z Axis” and perform the CNC milling operation

after that

(b) I will take out the CNC milling spindle and attach the “3D printer EXTRUDER” along with the “Z Axis” to perform RAPID PROTOTYPING OPERATION

**I need the following information**

1. What are the parts should i buy for workable my 3 axes machine as a 3D printer?

2. Which controller can be controlled from “LabVIEW” regarding this matter? (such as RAMPS, RUMBA etc)

Amanullah, as Karizhao314 said, you really need to consider using stepper motors instead of servo motors. It will be much easier to implement, with plenty advantages when compared with the solution you presented (servo motors). If you do some search you’ll find tons of usefull information. There are a lots of DIY related projects for you to explore. You’ll see that most (if not all) use stepper motors controlled by PMW. The main advantage is since they are stepper motors, they will rotate a specific angle for each PWM pulse given. With DC motors you’ll need the encoder mentioned by Karizhao314

Hi Amanullah,

To make it clear you have a CNC machine, witch you want use for milling and DUAL head extruder 3D printing.

The first problem is your motion controller board its only handles 4 axis, but for the dual head you will need a 5th axis also (x,y,z extruder1 and extruder2)

Your motion controller card can handle both servo and stepper motors, for the extruder a stepper is required as for the slow motion for pushing the filament into the hotend is more suitable for the stepper motors holding/low speed torque.

What is your idea regarding controlling the hotend and maybe the heated bed temperature? Do you also have to do this from Labview?

I have assisted for several CNC machine to 3D printer conversion and in all cases the temperature control for the hotend(PID controlled) and for the heated bed was done by complete ramps electronics with arduino and LCD, the software was usually mach3 to run the gcode, there were no communication between the two systems but always worked without any problems.



Thanks a lot for your reply. Brother for your clarification I wish to inform you the following things 1. I am actually new in this topic so I have not so much idea about controlling the hotend and heated bed temperature 2. My supervisor is telling me to do this project using LabVIEW and NI PCI 7344 3. There are 2 parts in PCI 7344 (I) Motion I/O-68 PINS (II) Digital I/O -68pins. Is it possible to control the stepper motors through these digital I/O pins? Otherwise is it possible to interface Arduino with LabVIEW? 4. Still now I haven’t buy any parts regarding HEAT EXTRUDER even the heat extruder. My supervisor is telleing that I have to implement multi nozzle heat extruder or at leat dual nozzle heat extruder. So, can you give me the specific lists of parts with quantity which I have to buy??? If you can please provide me some reliable source from where I can buy the parts.

Everything is possible its just requires time…to figure(google:) out how it can be done.

What is the primary goal for this project? To make stuff or a typical university project for your masters degree?

I don’t know your skills regarding knowledge and programming in labview but it will be complicated and a lot of time to make all things to work. Personally I have never used labview so can’t help out with that.

I have read thorough the doc for the 7344 and it only allows 4 axis control. There are a lot of pins out there but can’t use them for extra axis control. If you need more axis get a 6 axis card for a ton of money… or forget this motion controller card and labview. on the other hand it looks like this card will be able to control with PWM the hotends and the heated bed, but it will require programming in labview.

For the 3D printer parts.

Complete dual head extruder with hotend makerbot style:


There are other options for the hotend and the extruder but it will just work out of the box.

Just check E3D website what they have:


These can be purchased also from ebay/aliexpress for much less money the only question is the quality.

For the stepper motor(s) it will be required a stepper driver.

Two options here you can use cheap drivers used by 3D printers and wire them somehow to your electronics:


or buy a better controller with a normal enclosure like the dm422:


There are other drivers also these two just are examples. Lets say the cheapest and the best option :slight_smile:

For the heated bed I will have to know what size will be required, if you want to print just PLA its not even required but make things easier for bigger parts to prevent warping. and better adhesion to the build plate.

Just for a side note if you drill with a cnc machine small (0.7mm diameter) holes into a aluminum 3mm-4mm plate it can be also good for adhesion so no heat bed required. A friend of mine just tested this (Idea came from Zortax m200 3d printers print bed)

Here is a video about it:


I can’t tell how this solution will work for bigger parts but it looks promising.

For the normal heat bed I would suggest using silicone heat pads running from 110/220V controlled with solid state relay.

These have a thermistor inside to control the temperature just put under a 3mm-4mm alu plate and will work fine.

If you have reached this point please read my post again and try to answer my questions :smiley:



Let me know your budget.

Honestly you can have both the multi-extruder setup for 3D printing and the CNC drill machine placed back to back…Ditch the National Instruments card and you dont need LabView as both will limit your freedom. Replace the board with arduino 2560 mega board and RAMPS 1.4 board. Then you need atleast 7 stepper motors (including two for extruders). Nylon ties, G2 belt, Bowden extruder kit, Mk8 Heatbed, fibre heat base (instead of glass). If you have workshop in your university, then they make the parts that you might need to put these things together… You need arduino IDE and Repertier Host softwares for 3D printing… for CNC milling… try to google the software that will be suitable for your operating system.


My primary goal for this project is to make a typical university project for my masters degree

with regards

Amanullah Tomal

Its about $200

for make sure

1. If i am able to move my 3 axes machine according to the .STL file with LabVIEW and then control more 2 stepper motors for the extruders with another controller will it then be OK??

2. or, i have to control all 5 motors with other controller for doing the 3D printing operation?

You have to control all 5 motors from one motion controller, due to synchronization issues.

As you have a servo system right now we have to know witch type of servo drivers you have exactly now(manufacturer and product number). If the servo drivers know step/dir control (hopefully they will) then it will be quite easy to replace to current motion controller card.

BUT due to the servo system quite large step rate frequency will be required.witch the usual 3D printing board with the Arduino mega 2560 will not able to handle.

The solution is a stronger processor board like the Arduino Due or similar.

Here is a good budget solution: MKS Base 1.2 :


Its a 5 axis board with all the stuff you need for a 3D printer. Also can a LCD screen can be attached to it. Also works in standalone without a PC from SD, and even has ethernet port to connect remotely.

So please check if your servo drives can accept step/dir signals.



A cnc machine will be much slower then a normal 3D printer, so using this setup may greatly reduce print times. As someone explained previously, you may need to swap out the electronics and to add an extra motor/heatbeat/heaters/fans etc. These cost may add up and you might to a couple of hundred $ and you will have a CNC/ slow 3D printer which can only run as a CNC or a 3D printer. For a a small buy more cost you can buy new duel extrusion 3D printer kit which will be optimised for 3D printing speeds with well documented electronics. This too will also allow you to run bot machines at the same time .Personally, I think this is a better choice.


I have asked about the controlling of 2 stepper motors with PCI 7344 to NI FORUM. They replied me following,

“If you’re using PCI-7344 to control the stepper/servo motors using PWM/Digital signal, PCI-7344 has only 2 PWM pins located in the Digital I/O section.”

So, i think using 7344 motion controller i can control 2 stepper motors for 2 extruders. Am i right?

Actually its not permitted to use another motion controller instead of PCI 7344. Because it is already attached with the machine.

so, what will be my next steps after controlling the two stepper motors for two extruders

I have also asked another local brother of Malaysia,He also told me “If the heater runs digital mode… it is possible…because the PCI 7344 can run digital output.” then he asked me “you need to check any balance for output…??.”