Alternatives to Onefinity Controller

Continuing the discussion from Onefinity CNC Firmware 1.2.1 (2/8/23) (X-35/X-50 machines w/ Buildbotics Controller) (Most Recent):

Hey Bob,

you know the Masso G3 that was already presented in this forum, and its stand-alone version with Touchscreen, the Masso G3 Touch, that you can get to an excellent price in bundle with the Onefinity Elite Series. There was also presented in this forum the DDCS, the Centroid Acorn, and surely I forgot some.

For me, there is no reason to use the Onefinity Controller (or the Buildbotics Controller, from which it is a hardware and software fork) because there is LinuxCNC and I know how to build PCs.

LinuxCNC is very evolved and powerful nowadays. It evolved from the NIST’s Enhanced Machine Controller (EMC) project (See EMC History)

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I appreciate all the information! That Linux UI burns my eyes though. :wink:

I have half a mind to build a Mac/iOS based controller myself, but I only understand about 2% of what a controller needs to be capable of at this point. As I gain the domain knowledge, I may consider something like that. Obviously I would still need some hardware to interface with.

Masso G3 looks nice. Unfortunately I just bought my non-elite Journeyman over the holidays, so I can’t be selling it and buying a new elite machine. Maybe the Masso controller itself could be worth it at some point.

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Hey Bob,

yes, that is true. Just like the Raspberry Pi in the Onefinity Controller is connected to the AVR board, and the AVR microcontroller to the TI stepper drivers, you would need motor drivers between the PC and the motors, there are suppliers for such parts. Usually you also add an I/O card in order to have enough I/O ports, to drive the motors and also other things like additional limit sensors. For each axis motor, you need one port for step, one for direction and one for enable, so you are already at 12 if you have 4 axes so even if you have an ancient parallel printer port, it would not be enough, hence the need for an additional I/O card, which is usually connected to the PC via PCI or PCI-E but also via Ethernet. The MESA cards are used by many for this.

You may wait for the Upgrade to Elite that is announced for the future :slight_smile:


I converted my OF first to LinuxCNC then to Masso G3. Both options are solid, but the Masso is more user friendly. That being said there are some unsupported G code commands in the Masso that are supported in LinuxCNC that may make it unsuitable for some applications - I have a friend who runs a bunch of retrofit mills who will not run the Masso G3 because they lack cutter compensation so his re-ground endmills can’t be used without changing the tool setup in his CAM and post processing it again, a deal breaker for him.

The main hurdle in the conversion is installing home switches, the BB controller is unique in it’s support for stall homing. After that it’s a matter of swapping out the wiring and adding stepper motor drivers. Same basic process you’d need to do to move to a aftermarket controller.

At the time I was converting mine the Acorn was a contender but supported 4 axis (3 axis with auto squaring) and I wanted to be able to use a rotary axis down the line. I believe they now have a 5 axis board that would be a serious contender if I was making the switch today.

If you went the route of LinuxCNC, it’s plausable to reuse the RPI and a board like the ones Mesa make that give you 6 axis of step/direction as well as 24 inputs and 8 outputs using the SPI on the RPI. It’s a fairly low cost option compared to others and LinuxCNC is rock solid, even used by OEM manufactures of industrial machines.

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