New User - need advice

Hi. My daughter found the sisyphus table a couple of weeks ago and is determined we build one. Building a table and building the mechanical parts isn’t an issue…but I’ve never dealt with controller side of things and I’m at a bit of a loss. Ultimately I’d like to either load an SD card with patterns and let the table run continuously and/or be able to control the table via blue tooth. I also plan on running LED lights in the table. What’s the easiest/least expensive way for a novice to do this? Can someone walk me thru the process of programming one of this up and what parts are needed to do so?


There isn’t really a beaten path for this, unfortunately. We can help, but you will need to be ready to learn a few things. It is definitely at the hobby project stage, and not at the buy a kit stage.

There are many ways to do this. Here’s one:

Mini rambo, with Ryan’s firmware (@vicious1, do you ever flash the mini rambos with zxy firmware?). That will give you a co troller that is ready to go. Then you have three options for running patterns:

  • Use the LCD from the shop. It has an SD card slot and you can skip through the patterns with the little knob and pick a pattern to run.
  • Use a raspberry pi with v1pi image. I won’t lie to you, it has some quirks, but you can connect it via wifi and then have a web interface to run patterns from your phone.
  • Get a raspberry pi and help the very bleeding edge sandypi, which is a web server running on the pi, controlling the mini rambo.

I’m assuming you are going straight to the ZenXY machine, and not making your own SCARA or other polar table, right?

What about making a MPCNC or a Lowrider? You would definately learn a lot about micro controllers, movement, electronics and technical stuff. A CNC is super useful, when you start to realize all the opportunities it offers.

I haven’t looked at those, but a CNC router would have the addition of the vertical axis vs just an x and y plane…so not sure how that would be simpler…but again we’re a bit out of my element.

for me at this stage simpler would be better. This wasn’t on my radar until a couple of days ago. it looks interesting/fascinating, but I wasn’t looking for a new hobby. It sounds like a Rambo 1.3 and an LCD would get me 90-100% of where I want to be. I was hoping I’d be able to load the SD card so that it ran patterns thru a continuous loop and have the option of selecting a pattern via bluetooth. Thank you for your reply. Please feel free to add more suggestions.

The MPCNC has a huge user base with a ton of experience. I come from a non-technical background (humanities), and didn’t know anything at all about micro controllers, stepper motors and such - but this community has been amazing in giving guidance into this wonderful world. The CNC has z axis as well, but it’ll for sure wet your feet working on controlling physical objects using computerized interfaces. I’m sure your daughter would love the opportunity to make signs, plotting art using a pen, making sophisticated woodworking objects - etc etc etc

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The full sized rambo is definitely overkill. The mini rambo saves a few bucks and isn’t quite as large.

There are a few moving parts here, many of them aren’t created from scratch for a ZXY, they are brought in from the 3D printer world. Unfortunately that means we have a few workarounds instead of just doing things the easiest way possible.

There are ways to make it a bit simpler. You can put an sd card (into the lcd) and a specific file name can be set to run at startup. But I am sure there will be limitations. If you want to do something like a playlist or a shuffle, that doesn’t exist. Even sandify, which is made from scratch and I try to keep simple will have a few gotchas, I’m sure.

@billsey, You were trying to get the start gcode to play a specific set of patterns. How far did you get on that? Does it need a specific configuration?

At the end of the day, none of this changes the fact that you will have to learn some stuff. If you want it to just run patterns on a table, you’ll have to buy the sisyphus table.

Thank you for the reply. I’m fine with learning things along the way. Sounds like my best course of action is to follow the plans that are published and simply tackle each hurdle as it comes.

I’m about 1/2 way thru printing the parts and I’ll be ordering the stepper motors/bearings/etc. in the next couple of days. Once I’m close to having the mechanism assembled I’ll order the small Rambo and LCD.



Awesome. Welcome. There are a lot of users here, and I’m sure we’re all eager to help, and interested to see the progress. So please share.

I just ordered everything needed - stepper motors, bearings, rambo mini, lcd, pwr supply, etc. I’ve 3D printed 8 of the 10 parts so far. Tomorrow I’ll go pickup the conduit and other hardware. I’ll go ahead and post in the build section…at least I think I remember seeing a build section.

Again, thanks for the help and I’m sure I’ll be asking for some support when it comes to programming.