Smoothie basics

Here are some basic notions and pointers about Smoothie.

Smoothie is a firmware.

That is a program that executes on a micro-controller, basically a very simple/small computer used for very specific tasks.

The micro-controller is located on a controller board, for example Smoothieboard, where it executes the Smoothie firmware.

This program receives instructions from your computer ( typically G-code, generated by CAM software ), and executes them, for example by moving stepper motors in a coordinated fashion, and operating tools.

If you are curious, you can find a list of G-codes for Smoothie, and their explanation, here.

This allows you to use Smoothie to execute CNC operations.

Some examples of workflow:

[!NOTE] 3D printer

[!NOTE] CNC milling machine

The workflow is very similar for a laser cutter, as it is essentially a CNC mill with a very very thin tool ( the laser beam ).

Smoothie adventure

When setting up a machine to be controlled by a Smoothieboard, the process is generally as follows:


You can’t do anything if you can’t talk to your Smoothieboard.

The usual way to do so is to simply connect a USB cable to your Smoothieboard, then to your computer, and then to connect your host software to the Smoothieboard.

See your host software of choice’s documentation on this matter.

The Host software will then provide you with a graphical user interface to interact with your Smoothieboard ( and therefore with your machine ), and you shouldn’t have to worry about communication more than this.



When reading this documentation, understanding of basic principles of electricity will be expected and can not be done without.

Here are a few videos to refresh your memory:

What is electricity

![What is electricity](

What are Amps

![What are Amps](

What are Volts

![What are Volts](

What is resistance

![What is resistance](

What are Watts

![What are Watts](

There is very little math in these videos ( except the last one ), if you have a hard time with what’s still there, we warmly recommend heading over to Khan Academy’s math videos for easy to digest courses.

If you want to go further on this subject, you can also follow this basic Electrical Engineering video course.