ROS2 package to interface with a GRBL serial device


grbl_ros ROS2 CI

A simple ROS2 package for interfacing with a grbl device.

Currently supports:

  • polling status of grbl device

  • sending plain GCODE commands using ROS2 service

Supported Platforms

All Tier 1 platforms = Windows 10, Mac OS X, and either Ubuntu 18.04 or Ubuntu 20.04


ROS 2 Version

All Tier 1 platforms

Dashing Diademata

All Tier 1 platforms

Eloquent Elusor

All Tier 1 platforms

Foxy Fitzroy

All Tier 1 platforms

Rolling Ridley

Dashing and Eloquent target Ubuntu 18.04 while Foxy and Rolling target Ubuntu 20.04.

How to use

The grbl_ros package exposes two major functionalities to ROS: pose tracking of the GRBL device and sending commands to the GRBL device.

This package publishes a transform (aka tf) to the most recent machine coordinates received from the GRBL device. This allows for other ROS nodes to “know” where the machine is which can help enable many different functions.

Secondly this package runs two ROS2 actions: send_gcode_cmd and send_gcode_file. Both actions do what they say they do and enable the user to monitor the status of these actions as they happen.

Getting started

Quick start:

# for Ubuntu
sudo apt install ros-<your-distro>-grbl-ros

Fork and clone the repository if you’d like to compile it yourself. Once cloned, you can now build your workspace by running the following from your workspace’s root directory:

colcon build

Once built, just make sure you’ve sourced your overlay (source /path/to/workspace/install/setup.bash) and you should be able to start up the grbl_ros node:

ros2 run grbl_ros grbl_node --ros-args --params-file /path/to/workspace/src/grbl_ros/config/cnc001.yaml

Before you can command your GRBL device to move, most likely you’ll need to unlock it using the $X command:

ros2 action send_goal /cnc_001/send_gcode_cmd grbl_msgs/action/SendGcodeCmd '{command: $X}'

You should see Goal finished with status: SUCCEEDED and a print-out in the grbl_ros terminal that the GRBL device is now unlocked.

From here, you can send your device whatever GCODE commands you would like. Here are a few common ones to get you started:

ros2 action send_goal /cnc_001/send_gcode_cmd grbl_msgs/action/SendGcodeCmd '{command: X1.0}'
# TBD, recommend more if you'd like more to be listed here!


Unit tests are run on every PR and every release across every supported platform for each ROS2 release. Refer to the “actions” tab for this repository to see these tests yourself.


Are you using grbl_ros? Do you like what functionality it provides but want it to do something more? PLEASE reach out!!! I want to hear from you! Make an issue, PR or smoke signal to get my attention as I would love to hear from you!