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I decided to troubleshoot the connection issue with my Macbook a little later. I couldn’t wait to test out my newly assembled MPCNC so I pulled out my old Windows XP laptop, installed Arduino, Pronterface and Repetier. All of the software could connect and when I jogged each axis I saw the machine come to life! It’s so beautiful! It looks like I got everything wired up correctly on the first try! High-Five everyone!
Okay, so going back to the Macbook connection issue, I think Ryan’s suggestion of slowing down the baud rate is the key.
WatEng’s comment in the blog seems to confirm this: https://www.vicious1.com/marlin-firmware/#comment-2422
So editing the baud rate in the Marlin firmware to 115200 should solve it. Lowering the baud rate in Pronterface or Repetier on the Macbook alone wasn’t enough.
When I get a chance, I’ll download Ryan’s latest Marlin firmware beta from his latest blog post, edit the baud rate and see if works.