We found GRBL, the motion control software that we use, a little over a year ago after other solutions failed to deliver the performance and reliability we needed. Since then, we've used it for both of our machines, the Nomad 883 and the Shapeoko 3, and it's safe to say that any Carbide machine in the foreseeable future will be based on GRBL.
Dr. Sonny Jeon, the current GRBL maintainer and developer, has helped us get our changes integrated into the main developer branch and he's added features for us when we were afraid to make deeper changes (because we were afraid of breaking something).
GRBL is totally open and Sonny has done all of his work on it until now for free in his spare time. Even though it's a nights-and-weekends project for him, we've never found a bug that he didn't fix in less than 72 hours. It's been a great experience and we wanted to find a way to contribute to future GRBL development. We've found two ways to do that:
In the near future, we'll be releasing a variation of our Carbide Motion board through Spark Fun and we'll be sharing the profits with Sonny. This will be an integrated motion control board with both the stepper drivers and the CPU- no Arduino required. The name for the board is still TBD but it'll be a great resource for anyone looking to put a CNC or any other motion control project together.
We also have the Shapeoko 3 about ready to ship and a portion of every full Shapeoko kit we sell will be sent to Sonny to fund future GRBL development.
GRBL is a tremendous resource for CNC and other motion control products and we're excited to find a way to support it.