Brand new to CNC, looking for what is really needed

O yah I forgot, I built my OF from the very beginning with TTracks in mind (i just felt like I would beed them based on what I make). Although I think TTrack is essential and I favor them over TeeNuts or Insert nuts or glue to hold down my materials.

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I know im very late to convo…

My first 2 cnc projects were/are 2d/2.5d sport team clocks and dot matrix photos. Using carbide create. While teaching myself aspire and fusion 360. Just like everyone else on here, i can only tell you where i started and what my needs became because of my projects. But can safely say try to let your first projects pay as much of your cnc on going expenses as possible

If you have a computer with ethernet port you can save some money. It will also work via networking through wifi.
these are the must:
•Controller (black box)
•A Screen (if not using computer)
•A dust boot
•Vac hose clips… (or something to keep hose out the way. Im using cut plywood nailed to table in a #7 shape and velcro strips as my boom and keep right now

The luxuries: these are not essential but will make life a whole lot better.
 •hold down clamps (2sided tape and/or screws. Screws are the best just add extra space and compensate for them in project design.

•Game controller (highly recommeded) you can also use any XBox or microsoft compatible controller even with usb
•Hose boom kit
•Drag chain kit

Where you should spend your money over luxuries are in the bits. The least talked about bit is the surfacing bit. The surfacing bit should be amongst your first bit set, If not the first. Designing your spoilboard should be your first project, it will teach you alot about your machine, and your software, especially if your trying going for fancy design.

Starter Bit kits: 1/4 or 3/8 shaft if using makita
•sufacing, 1/4"down cut (should get you through spoilboard project.
•1/16", 1/8", 1/4" Down cut
•1/16", 1/8", 1/4" up cut
•1/16", 1/8", 1/4" combo
•Vbits °30, °60, °90

I bought these bits as i saw the need for them. It will be a wallet shock to get them all at once
i chose the happy median using whiteside bits. Most people preffer starting with cheaper bits, during their rookie trials. Ive been fortunate and have only ruined one bit so far, and i buy back-ups as soon as i can. My plan is to have 3 of each of my most used bits on hand at all times. note that you will break bits, this is an on going purchase for cnc.
•collettes spare collets and nuts should also be added to get soon list but not a must.

I am thinking I should start a new topic, but this topic is such a good match…
Hoping this will not get lost in the depth of this thread!

NOOB here… contemplating the Machinist.
Key points are in bold font.

Context: I want to make 3D weird(art) and mechanical parts including gears, sprockets, collars, hubs, girders, beams, brackets, … that are pieces used in my mobiles. These mobiles are one-OFF mechanically sound contraptions. It’s a mixture of wood and soft metals, plastics, …

Would someone be so kind to chime in and clear my fog
I have conducted months of surfing to get at least a basic understanding, to know what to ask.


  1. I just realized the Machinist is only 16" x 16" … I was set on a minimum canvas of 18" the next size is the Woodworker 32"… I get the feeling it will not cut well enough the soft metals, aluminium, brass, etc.? …and would not be a good idea! OR will it do?

I need to be able to cut wood, acrylic, plastics, soft metals, smoooooooothly, with minimum chatter marking (some joints require a succinct level of precision to allow free motion).
Now, if I look at a Mechatron level scenario, all is answered, but then totally out of my league!
Another machine, the Carvera, I think would work, but it is too darned small and restrictive.

I know the Machinist will mean more split pieces, but unless a better solution, I will bite that bullet and survive with a 16" canvas. (see (2. 4th axis) below, for potential solution)

As to the screen and the interface, I like the idea of the ONEfinity screen, not needing a computer, but I don’t want to fall in the trap and have to upgrade later. I need screen real-estate and software that allows a comfortable visualization of the complete assembly.
Thus I will run a large screen.

2. 4th axis… gotta have that, I have a variety of cylindrical pieces.
Can the ONEfinity be coupled with a 4th axis?
Is there a recommended setup?
…and if so, can it be installed in a diagonal orientation to gain length?

  1. Software: (no cloud or subscription, please)
    I think the CAD/CAM software I see spoken of is the Vectric suite, I am pretty sure it’s standalone.?
    I cannot see to be limited to the lesser versions, I would not wait, and simply get the Aspire module.
    But I have run across the OneCNC CAD/CAM software in my study, and I think it is better. Guaranteed standalone, with an on demand blueprint superimposed view.
    I have not downloaded any trial versions of any of them… I am burnt crisp assessing CAD/CAMs… will soon erase all that bloat off my system.

A comprehensive response to all the points(in bold font) I bring up would be suhweet!

Thanks lots!

Hey NIQ,

if you want to see the CAMotics toolpath visualisation, you got to know that although it is installed on the Onefinity Controller, it will not show up if you just attach a display to the Onefinity Controller, no matter how big it is. You will see it only if you run the Onefinity Controller application (which is a web application that runs in a web browser) from an average laptop/desktop computer remotely. This is because the Onefinity Controller on its internal Raspbian installation has not the graphics hardware acceleration drivers installed to show the 3D visualization CAMotics offers.

The woodworker 32″×32″ is now available with thick 50 mm rails on X axis. Generally, all users say that the Onefinity offers very high precision and is very, very sturdy and rigid, compared to other machines for the same target audience. The only thing for which I would recommend another machine is when you plan to mill mainly steel. But you will be able to cut all the materials you mentioned with the Onefinity.

The Onefinity CNC Controller, which is a hardware and a software fork of Buildbotics Controller, has four stepper motor drivers of type Texas Instruments DRV8711. Each of them can be assigned to axis X,Y,Z, and A. A is traditionally a rotary axis. In factory configuration, there are two stepper drivers assigned to Y because since the Onefinity is a CNC of gantry type, it has two Y steppers. In order to use one stepper for axis A, a rotary axis, you can either run the two Y steppers on one stepper driver, which is commented here, or, as is the case in some rotary scenarios, you don’t need one of X or Y because you always stay over the centerline of the rotary axis, in this case users simply disconnected the X or one Y motor and attached the motor of the rotary axis to this stepper driver and configured it as A. But if you plan to put a rotary axis diagonally, of course you will need both X and Y to work.

In fact the matter when wanting to run a rotary axis is if your CAM software and its postprocessor supports a rotary object.

If you want to learn more about rotary axis on the Onefiniy, the information is spread around the forum a little, but you will find it with rotary and 4th axis

You can make yourself an image of Vectric Pro with the tips here. Note that you don’t forcibly need the Vectric Aspire Software which is very expensive just because you want to create 3D objects. You can do this with a lot of other 3D softwares and import the objects into VCarve Pro or into another CAM software. One Free and Open 3D software is Blender, and there are many other 3D softwares.

One thing that may be considered when restricting to software with perpetual license is what is being brought up here.

Thank you for the crucial clarifications you offered. You are a gent.
You are in the better class of individuals who chime in! Thank you.

Incidentally, the ONEfinity is not the most rigid unit, there are others that beat it hands down, and cost less.
I am not here to name names and play the tit of tats dance, but this is a crucial ingredient.
What I am here for is the most complete understanding of all the variables across many systems, so that
I may make the best decision for my specific scenario combination…
ONEfinity is in my top 5, but not my NO. 1 yet.
They are not by any means directly comparable, not one alone includes the best cross properties.
More important than generally spoken, just the specs are not enough to assess this type of equipment,
and in fact can be/are deceiving. The gammon of line items that come into play is rather massive.
Without checking, I think my list has grown past the line count in a page.

Be it I am being redundant, your last sentence is left to interpretation.
I do believe the last word in your response, ‘ONEfinity’, means NOT JUST the ONEfinity,
again, but specifically, per the laid-out context, the ONEfinity Woodworker 32 x 32.
And where lies the confusion, if the presentations, and/or the naming, and wording were more accurate,

I would not even have the question.

KEY, not to be conveniently ignored at any point:

  • the context is soft metals and other soft materials, and wood - and hobby level equipment precision

Thus, yes I understand the dynamics of short vs longer spans and their more beefy structure directly affecting precision.
…and since, we are faced with having to juggle between precision, size and cost of equipment, and other factors,
why is the Machinist even in the game? Is that laid out in a comprehensive write-up anywhere as compared to the 32 x 32?

What range of efficacy, significant difference in cost justifies the loss of capacity between the 32 and the 16
that actually matters in warranting a separate model…?
Lots of points to juggle, certainly. (…not in a bunch of time-consuming videos!)

size?, foot print?, space available?
…of course precision, which I can see as the only one contender, yet, not, in view of what I lay out below!

We are not dealing in microns like a MECHATRON setup here, the precision to the decimal inch .001 is hardly that accurate.
A serious micron gauge is flat out overkill! and may cost more than the hobby machine itself!

Yes, the pixel on our screens is an elephant next to the end tool precision, and what the software can hold in its calculations.
The software has to scale things to match and as a result, we only see a representation, not the actual beast.

But the precision itself is hyped, since the weak perception of the eye is no help to carry judgement and the level
of the type materials granularity and the resulting accuracy are not a match.
The nature of the beast helps the obfuscation to fool the actual truth.

I am a complete noob at CNC operations, but there are things I can visualize and/or rationalize as injected into
the narrative as selling points.

Your clarifications are now part of my on-going assessment.
So grateful to you!

Hey NIQ,

why not, many other CNC machines are mentioned here. Of course this is a manufacturer run forum, but you don’t have to worry about that. It’s more that only by knowing what you are referring to that you can discuss what technical features are advantageous (or disadvantageous) on the Onefinity. So far, the Onefinity has not had to fear mentioning of competing products. I think the Onefinity manufacturers want to convince through actual technical features than through an image or through obscurity.

I have done a lot of research on CNC machines in the price range and target group (and for the semi-professional and the professional target groups as well). I would be very interested if you can describe in detail what is important for you in terms of technical and other features on certain machines, and whether it is comparable to the Onefinity CNC.

Regarding the target group, it should be clear that the Onefinity is a hobbyist machine. This should be taken into account when comparing. On the other hand, it is a multifunctional CNC gantry milling system for the permanent and regular processing of wood, plastics, and non-ferrous metals, which means it is for permanent use (which, by the way, is definitely not the case for the Makita hand trim router, but Onefinity doesn’t sell it :slight_smile:, so to make this true for an entire, ready-to-use machine, you got to avoid such devices and better use a milling motor to which this applies too).

Some people buy the Onefinity because they find that it is superior to another hobbyist machine, the Shapeoko, or because they upgrade from cheaper hobbyist machines, or from self-built, DIY, open hardware CNC machines that lack many technical properties the Onefinity offers. But I think this should not be first of all a matter of preference or of taste, but of verifiable technical properties.

I would very well be interested in knowing which machine is more rigid but costs less.

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Please share your insights but with specifics. I am interested to know what is the most rigid in this class.


Hey NIQ,

the active forum members here are very critical people who analyze, test and evaluate the Onefinity’s features very closely.

For example, some people have criticized that the construction of the Onefinity’s Z-assembly, which differs from usual Z assemblies, could be better in order to be more resistant to chatter and torsion. You can find discussions about this in this forum if you search for “80mm mount” or for “z assembly”.

Okay, but then you got to 1. take your time and 2. tell which technical features you want to look at.

I think for most here your posting is a bit hard to answer. It would be better if you ask one question at a time. And you should open a new topic for each different question on the forum start page (rather than using this thread which deals with the question of what accessories to buy with the Onefinity).

For example you seem to ask:

Or you could ask:

  • I have the following five machines in mind from these manufacturers in the $xxxx price range:

    I want to be able to do this and this with a CNC machine. Which one should I buy?

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@NIQ Your question about the differences between the Machinist and the Woodworker models seem to concentrate on rigidity and precision, whereas most people choose one or the other based on space. I had to rebuild and rearrange my modest shop to accomodate a Woodworker but I often work on larger pieces so to me it was worthwhile. That machine takes up an amazing amount of room, not just it’s own footprint but ancillary equipment as well( vacuum, controller, touch screen, etc.). Most people interested in the Machinist are doing smaller, more intricate pieces anyway. It’s unusual to be making something in metal bigger than its footprint and if that is the case, it would probably be advisable to move up to an even more robust, industrial machine. For a hobby machine, Onefinity’s intended audience, it is very well built and after my own extensive research, the best and most bang for your bucks machine on the market. Your needs will obviously differ from mine and your search may go in a totally different direction. Let us know how it goes, we can take it even if you don’t go with a Onefinity!:grin:


Thank you Aiph5u…
I will take your points one by one and return a one line response for each in one reply,
except for one you made that cannot be answered in one line, but still the answer will be short.
It may take me a minute… I am in the middle of shtuff!
I will do this before I take the plunge and get my equipment.
(so that you are not hung checking for my answers, it may take me as much as a week)

Thank you.

to Charles Anderson, Gorgeous answer, thank you.

Though this may be a duhhh in most people’s minds, you confirm my understanding,
and it is good to hear it from one who has ridden the horse.

…lucky me I can copy-cat my own previous exchanges and provide this: