Is this possible? 6-8 steppers + servos, outputs etc

I am building a small rig that has 2 parts: (A) Movement platform: up to 4 axis stepper with full end stop (min & max) (B) Accessory platform which will have 4 more steppers with min & max end stops, also some additional valve controls that can either be solenoid or servo driven.

I am pretty sure it can be done with a stand alone CNC controller using Gode but I am looking for a route that gives me more future freedom with possible stand alone, network in, nice user interface. Initially I am fine with just a line by line code which I will amend as I go. The movement will initially be just rastering while the other steppers feed material at controlled rates.

One solution I had in mind was using 2 of the Arduino 3D printer set ups (like the makerbot 2.4) and linking them together if this can be done so one controls the other? eg to simplify it I would get 10 axes to set up and control. Another way would be one of the 4 axis cnc boards and control it via an arduino.

If anyone has any suggestions and links to hardware it would be much appreciated as I'm currently stuggling to fight my way through the mass of information and DIY CNC and 3D printers are dominating the searches and not quite right for what I need.


Each stepper driver will require 2 or 3 pins: Step, Direction, and possibly Enable. Add Max and Min limit switches and that makes 5 pins per stepper. Eight steppers would use up 40 pins. On an Arduino Mega that would leave another 29 pins for your valves and anything else you wanted to connect.

Thanks for the reply John,

I hadn't considered going to a bare Mega and attaching directly to it. That would certainly give me complete freedom to do as I want so I will look at that route. It may well be the most cost effective route.

Another alternative I did think of was to use the Reprap 2.2 or higher extruder controls that run off RS485. Putting the XY movement part aside (as that is the easy bit) I realised that each of the modular devices I want to add are basically a type of extruder and the extruder boards eg have motor controllers, heater output, encoders etc so even though it is an expensive route it means I can add some heating in the future and possibly use the 'extruders' as stand alone devices for other applications. I can also use a DC motor should I need to turn one into a pump.

It is just a shame that they are $80 each