Custom controller 2.0

Somewhat outgrowing my DDCSV3.1 controller (wanting something with more flexibility) I ordered a Centroid Acorn CNC board. In giving thought to a new housing, my attention turned towards the unused Onefinity BB controller sitting on a shelf. Pulling the boards out of the controller and leaving the power supply in place, it looked like a perfect enclosure for the new controller. As of right now, I’ve gone as far with the build as I can until I actually receive the Acorn board. I hope to have everything finished up late this week.

I will say that as much as I don’t care for the BB controller itself, I’ve found a huge amount of admiration for the enclosure. Like the machine itself, it’s simple and appropriately robust, and its been very easy to work with. Modifications have really been minimal, save for a new short rear panel I had to make to accommodate the G540 stepper driver.


Very excited for your new build and seeing the progress - it is a great controller. Please keep us updated.

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Will do, Tom. It was a difficult choice between the Acorn and the Masso Touch. A couple times I almost pulled the trigger on that, but ultimately decided on the Acorn. I almost went this route back when I was building the controller for my X-Carve. I briefly considered a new Chinese controller, the SMC5-5-N-N. But honestly, I am weary of the narrow support and virtually non-existent & worthless user guides.

Well, I had to abandon the original Onefinity controller encosure because it was just getting uncomfortably packed into the enclosure. So, I ended up modifying my original DDCSV3.1 controller housing and things fit nicely. This required enlarging the opening for the 8" touch screen & a couple other modifications. This left me with some empty/unnecessary holes in the front. At some point I may make an aluminum cover plate, but not sure yet. Will consider that once I get everything fully configured. The controller itself is configured now, but I need to customize the user input panel on the screen to remove some buttons & enlarge some.

I’m running the same Gecko G540 stepper driver, but wow, this thing seems SO much smoother just jogging around.

@alldaysammyj I had some issues getting probing to work. It’s functioning in general, but is not zeroing out the z axis. For example, when I probe, the z axis should end up reading 0.450" taking into consideration my .250 probe + an additional .200 clearance move above the probe. The distinction they make between “probe” and “tool touch off” seemed to cause me some confusion.

New Acorn CNC controller

Old DDCSV3.1


Quite the refresh! I too am thinking in the future I will use my CNC, to make things for my CNC.

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Hey Bill, have a look at this video.

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Thanks Sammy, I think this may help! :sunglasses:

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This was the operation of making the larger screen opening. Someday I’d like to possibly make a new/nicer enclosure, but it’s not real high on the priority list right now.


Hi Bill! I just pulled the trigger on a Journeyman X50 and I’m planning on building out using a DDCS Expert controller. If I may ask, what software are you using for CAD/CAM? There seem to be relatively few post processors for these controllers despite how common they seem to be. At present, I’d like to use Fusion 360, but I’m open to other options if you’ve got a better end-to-end workflow.

Hi @MoarVoltz! I’m not very active on here anymore since I sold my machine & got something different, but I still drop in to check notifications once in awhile.

I used (and have since 2016 since my X-Carve days) Draftsight 2D software for CAD, and Estlcam for CAM programs. Draftsight is no longer free as it used to be (although I still use it as such), what I like about both these programs is that they’re very intuitive & easy to use. I find them to be perfect for the 2D and 2.5D work that I typically do. I’m not sure what PP to use with Fusion, but I always used Linux, Fanuc, or other generic PP with my controllers (including DDCSV). The post processor is easy for me, since I don’t require any auxilary I/O commands, I’m basically just running the simple G-code.

I’ve never really had any issues with the DDCSV. I know the controllers are good, although I’ve had no personal experience with the newer Expert version. But be aware, they are basically a throw-away controller with little meaningful support (which is typical with most Chinese CNC controllers). There is a Facebook group for Digital Dream controllers. I’m an admin on that, although I haven’t been active on there in some time. Members help each other, but the main tech support people (2 of them) are rarely ever on there, so it’s not as great of a group as it once was. Unlike with my current Centroid Acorn controller, help and support are readily available on both Facebook and on Centroid’s own forum site.

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Thank you very much for the reply. Since ordering my OneFinity I have been reading through the forum quite a lot and you often have posts on the topics I’m looking into the most and I’ve appreciated your careful, thoughtful responses on those threads.

I knew that there wouldn’t be any ability to expect support from the company for the controller. In my case, I’m a computer engineer, so I feel comfortable building and troubleshooting everything on the hardware side myself. The biggest problem I’ve encountered has been not having a good representation of the g-code syntax/format that the controller expects so that I can modify one of the Fusion PP’s to produce known good output. I know people have used Fanuc or Mach3 (or even GRBL) and some of those require manually editing some lines out of the start, but it does make me wonder if there might be other such incompatibilities that just haven’t been discovered yet.

As for software, Draftsight is one that I hadn’t yet encountered mention of in all of my searches. I’ll definitely give it a look.

The Acorn reminds me quite a bit of Tiny-G. If I may ask, why did you change from an offline controller to one that required a PC? I’m finding myself wanting to go the other direction (used a Tiny-G on my OG X-Carve, but found using it to be clunky).

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You are very welcome, @MoarVoltz, I’m glad to hear my posts have been useful. I’ve found the Chinese controllers very straightforward to hook up, and have always run a Gecko G540 stepper driver with whatever controller I’ve used. Another controller that is comparable in functionality but has a bit better interface is the SMC5-5-n-n controller. It’s also a Chinese controller with little support, but I found the interface to be more likeable than the DDCSV 2.1 I was using at the time.

I’m a career CAD designer, and the thing I really like about Draftsight is its ‘lightweight’ feel compared to AutoCAD or other 2D program. It hasn’t been free since 2018, but there’s a workaround to keep that free version working.

I have always liked the stand-alone controller, but decided that a PC based controller would be handy, and it really has been. Being PC based, I can easily edit & create programs right there at my machine. Plus, I like the larger screen than what I had with my previous DDCSV controller. It also has a much more professional look & feel to the UI.