Is Odrive right for me? (Leadscrew CNC motor upgrade)

I just built a C-Beam CNC machine from the parts bundle sold on the OpenBuilds part store. OpenBuilds recommends the xPRO stepper driver, but I went with Azteek X5 Mini running Smoothieware instead. I figured it would be fine since it has the same TI DRV8825 as the xPRO.

Unfortunately, I’m having tons of issues with missed steps. Users on the Smoothieware IRC tell me that this is because the DRV8835 drivers aren’t powerful enough for my NEMA 23 stepper motors. They recommended I upgrade to DQ542MA external drivers.

I’ve been watching Odrive for a while and I’m wondering if it would be a better alternative for the X and Y axes. Barring advice to the contrary, I would connect it to the X5 Mini via the step/direction interface. I’m hoping for more precise motion (8192 counts/rev vs 6400 microsteps/rev), more reliable motion (BLDC motors can’t lose steps), and more speed and torque (Some of the motors in the motor guide have 3+ Nm of torque vs 1.2Nm on my current steppers).

What do you all think? Is the Odrive a good fit for this application?

My main concern is stability. I’m fine with working through hardware/software bugs, but once I have it up and running I need it to be consistently fast and accurate. Am I asking too much?


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DRV8835 are undersized for NEMA23 steppers, that is accurate. You can crank the current limit to the max &/or decrease your accelerations, but you’re not going to get full performance out of them.

Given that your needs are:

  • More precise motion (8192 counts/rev)
  • No missed steps
  • More speed
  • More torque
  • Step / Dir control

I’d say ODrive is perfect for you. @madcowswe has been working hard on ODrive v3.5, which has much better stability, particularly for step & direction control.

EDIT: Let us know when you finish the project, I’d love to see it running!


Did you continue with your project? How does odrive compare to your steppers?