Buildbotics vs Masso Controller (solved, answer in another faq)

Hey guys,

I’m thinking of just upgrading my x-50 with the stiffy rail and the beefy z slider for rigidity. Is there anything that would really be “game changing” about having the Masso Controller instead of the Builbotics?

Answered in this faq:

Ok so the truly “game changing” features would be the ability to use a rotary axis, adjustable feed rates, and eventual tool setting?

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including remembering xy zeros, setting 6 different xy g5X points, closed loop steppers, drag chains, power loss recover, jump to line, and many more that were in that faq.

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What is the benefit of a “closed loop stepper” over my existing x-50 steppers?
What would be the benefit of “jump to line”, “remembering xy zeros”, and “setting 6 different xy g5X points” in a practical sense?

Just my knee jerk reaction to “potentially” what an upgrade kit would cost based on a “teased” price just the Masso Controller is worth, has me re-thinking the upgrade path. Think about the original cost of the machine purchased, accessories, and any aftermarket items purchased to enhance the machine. How many of the items are compatible, and how many of the same have to be purchased again that “are” compatible? Having an X-50 Woodworker with BB controller V1.0.09, as a hobbyist, has reliably served me well. Would I like many of the additional features the Masso Controller and their benefits, yes. When I look at the pricing of the new Elite machines, it occurs to me, buying a complete, new machine would be more cost effective and selling mine with all the extras that can’t be re-used. Masso has software issues just like BB other than V1.0.09. I won’t entertain upgrading or buying a complete, new Elite until they’ve got the bugs out. Time will tell how this all shakes out. I couldn’t be happier with my purchase of the 1F and would do it again! I think the downfall here is software updates are being pushed out way too soon without thorough testing and the owner/testers pay the price. The machines themselves are a quality, well crafted unit, mechanically! I like many others on the forum want a machine that works reliably out of the box without a bunch of “tinkering” that currently exceeds most of our present knowledge, but always willing to learn, just not be a Ginny pig for development. Disclaimer: These are only “my” opinions on stepping back, continued reading of the forum, and waiting for both platforms to get sorted out before upgrading anything, whether it’s software on BB or upgrading to an Elite via new or a kit.

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I am also sticking with 1.09. I’d like some examples of the features listed above by @OnefinityCNC being used on various projects from someone. I’m not sure (I may be wrong) I would use any of the new features that the Masso controller would offer me so it may be worth just upgrading the Z-Slider and getting a stiffy rail in my opinion.

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Closed loop vs open loop:
Closed loop vs open loop stepper motor | ICAN.

Jump to line example. Have a 12 hour carve. Start the carve. Stop the carve mid carve to shut down for the day. Turn off machine. Come back 4 days from the start. Power the machine, jump to line, and start the exactly where you left off.

Remembering XY zeros Example: Put an L bracket on your cutting area. Make a sign useing the L bracket as a fence. Make a repeat sign the next day with the same L bracket as the xy zero point. No needing to reprobe or set xyz zeros as it remembered its last one when powered off.

setting 6 different xy g5X points Example: Same as above but you have 6 different L brackets on your cutting area to cut 6 items per machine cut. Either 6 different items or 6 identical items.

Not every needs the Elite machine.
All customers need to figure out if the Elite machine is worth the higher cost.

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Thanks this was helpful. @OnefinityCNC would you guys be able to offer the upgrade in stages? For example I may want to get the stiffy rail and z slider now but would like to save up and order the rest of the upgrade package at a later date.

Hey Auntjemimma, hey all,

the ‘Stiffy’ 3rd rail and the Z-20 ‘heavy’ slider are available as normal accessories on the Onefinity Shop’s Accessories page. I don’t know if it can be taken into account later if you buy them now and want the Elite Upgrade Kit later, should they be part of the upgrade (Edit: it can).

However I doubt that these will do that much improvement to your machine. It may even bring new problems like the “spindle drop on estop and poweroff” issue (Edit: For the Elite Series, Onefinity now offers a Z stepper motor with electromagnetic brake for solving this issue). And Onefinity themselves question that a ‘stiffy 3rd rail’ is necessary on any machine.

It is the switch to a CNC controller like the Masso that will make a big difference in many respects, it brings you things that are expected on more professional machines. Long-requested but not possible on buildbotics is

  • adjust feed rate on the fly, or
  • resume program after powerdown which is only possible with workarounds on buildbotics, or
  • jump to a specific g-code line in the program which the buildbotics cannot do.
  • built-in tool setter functionality (would need special script on buildbotics)
  • built-in automatic tool change functionality (would need special script on buildbotics)
    Also the Masso is
  • much more versatile with the
    • use of different types of probes and
    • different ways to probe a workpiece.

But you also have to know that the vast majority of all cnc machines in the world uses open-loop stepper motors like used on the Original/X-50/PRO Series, and what people expect from closed-loop stepper motors like used in the Elite Series does not apply in many cases. Open-loop steppers are very reliable if they are correctly dimensionated, and as was explained in other threads, the Elite closed-loop steppers will not prevent that you loose steps in certain conditions – it will just be able to signal it to the controller that there was an error. But the workpiece will usually be lost and/or the bit broken the same way as with open-loop steppers.

On the other hand,

What the Elite’s Masso G3 cannot do or does not have

in comparison to the Buildbotics Controller and the buildbotics-derived Onefinity Controller, is:

  • Run the User Interface from any web browser that can reach the buildbotics-derived Onefinity controller over the network, be it locally from your LAN or wireless LAN (WLAN), or even from the WAN (= the whole world via internet, if you have a port open in your router’s DMZ and/or run a VPN)

  • Control VFDs with Modbus protocol via RS-485 serial communications line (simple two-wire balanced connection) (Masso G3 only supports VFD control via programmable VFD input terminals for run/stop and a 0–10 V analog voltage wire for spindle speed)

  • See and edit the firmware’s source code, fix bugs yourself, exactly know what hardware is inside the box: Buildbotics’ and Onefinity’s firmware and hardware are Free and Open Source (see onefinity-firmware and bbctrl-firmware for the firmware, onefinity-pcb and bbctrl-pcb for the Open Hardware), – whereas Masso is proprietary, no chance to fix bugs yourself

  • Directly connect a USB webcam to see what the machine does and see it from remote User Interface

  • If connected from remote, the 3D toolpath simulation is displayed while the program runs:

    Image: The 3D toolpath simulation is displayed if the Onefinity Controller is opened in a web browser on a remote computer.

  • Use a USB Gamepad as Joystick to quickly move the axes, moving all axes at same time is supported

  • Buy and use Satoer’s CNC Remote control panel (made by @satoer and available at

  • Log in via ssh and hack the machine

What is really nice to have on the Onefinity Elite Series is photoelectric hardware limit sensors on the axes instead of unreliable Stall Homing, but you can Retrofit Hardware Limit Sensors also easily to the buildbotics-derived Onefinity controller, as shown in many posts in this forum (search for ‘inductive proximity’), as the buildbotics controller is able to use them if you connect them to the 25-pin I/O port, to get rid of unreliable stall homing.

But the basic things that you want the CNC machine to do will still be done perfectly by the buildbotics-derived Onefinity controller. It was ensured by the inventor of the controller that it was only released after it was developed to a complete CNC Machine Controller according to the G-code standard. Its inventor wrote the 3D toolpath simulation before, so had to implement any g-code you would expect to appear in a g-code program. You can give the buildbotics-derived controller nearly any g-code and it will run it very well and like expected.


Stiffy rail is entirely optional always. Z-20 is required to make an Elite so this must be purchased upfront.

What about the z-slider? Will there be an option to do the upgrade without the z-slider included?

for those who already have the z-20 z slider yes, as explained in the official faq.

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