Everything is perfect.
Another positive to add to your balanced review is OFs involvement with this forum. I am sure they will appreciate you taking the time to articulate both the positives and negatives of your experience thus far, and all of this over time will help to inform them of possible changes to consider for the future. I am also new to CNCs, with the Woodworker arriving in May being my first. I suppose a positive of my being active on the forum for several months is having read about all of these issues already, through real-life user experiences such as yours. I feel ready to solve any problems that arise, either through the help of forum members, or the OF team.
Hardware (rails, and motion) - 4.5/5
Controller Hardware - 2.5/5
Software - 2/5
OF Support (split) - Email support 5/5, Forum support 2/5
Stay tuned, as I hope to have a fix for the controller/software soon - sadly means throwing the BB box in the trash… so leaving us with a $2000 set of linear rails/motors.
Edit/Update: I wanted to add some specifics, as perhaps @TMToronto indicates, changes can occur based on feedback (as opposed to my general “it sucks” vibe (including positives and negatives and is my opinion, and does not reflect the views or stance of anyone else for which I may associate with.)
- UI is simply too small. I don’t care how good your eyes are, or small your fingers are, it’s simply too small. Touching the OK/Cancel buttons is a chore on most popups, as I’ve missed multiple times and then had to go hunting for what I needed to re-do it.
- Usable / Needed UI components are not readily available. I mostly mean the Play, Open, Pause, etc those buttons on the default screen require a scroll. Why?! This is mostly important during a running job. If I run a job, I have to scroll in order to get to the pause button. THIS IS BAD! Yes, there’s the e-stop, but what if it’s not an emergency, I just realize… that’s not right… and want to pause. There’s no “quick” way of doing that.
- I know some systems change their UI based on what’s going on. When the unit is running a job, different information is generally needed versus when setting up a job. I feel like this could greatly benefit from something like that. When running, give readily available controls front/center. But this is mostly an issue with the web-frontend if anything, and I can understand why it doesn’t do that.
- I fully support the work Doug and Jo have put into the Buildbotics control system. The fact they could hack their way into it, and make it do what they wanted, great! But that was a “great” for 2017… we’ve moved past that now, and the need to hack an 8-bit AVR in order for it to run what you need is in the past. “Who would ever need more than 640k…” right?! There’s still a place for this, but I feel like if I were creating a product in 2020 (OF), I’d be looking at other options. (OpenBuilds Blackbox) (OpenBuilds option even has a PC-less control panel).
- Lack of Feed adjust - based on the way the BB controller offloads the gcode parsing, I’m pretty sure this simply can’t happen. (would love to be proved wrong).
- Lack of “resume from here” - but this might be larger than life, and using big-boy-toys has fouled my expectations.
- Controller uses a male DB25 connector. This is wrong. Anytime you have a electrical connection where where voltage is present, it should be protected. In general this is done with a female style connector (think of your wall outlets). In the OF Controller’s take, you could easily get a chip to land on the back of the controller and short any of the pins. One might argue this was a carry over from Buildbotics, but from what I can tell, they reworked the enclosure already, re-specking for a female connector could have been made then too.
- Wifi - lets build a unit with WiFi, and then put it into a box, which is built to limit EMI (to protect it’s contents). This one has been discussed in length. Just include a supported USB Dongle, or don’t advertise it as a feature.
- Stall homing - I’m still on the fence about this. I see the convenience, and lack of needing homing switches, but the idea of telling a driver/motor to “hey to smack into that rail until you can’t, and let me know once it hurts” just feels ‘wrong’. It works, so won’t knock it too hard, but unsettling. (wasn’t sure if this was more driver/controller related or motor/hardware related) eye twitch
- These rails are SOLID, I was slightly skeptical after ordering, but once you have it in hand, this unit is stout! The rails are hollow, which again gave into my skepticism, but it makes running the wires smooth, and they do not more. The inclusion of the 3rd rail on X axis was a huge bonus, and kudos to OF for including this free (for pre-orders or other).
- They didn’t peel the labels off the motors. I shouldn’t even have to say this, but they leave the information on there, even the website/model, etc. This makes replacement/upgrades cake! motors here
- Portability - Although I don’t plan on moving my unit once setup, knowing I could, and easily is quite nice. During my initial setup, I moved it a few times, and enjoyed the fact that I could simply move each rail independently instead of an entire unit at once.
- Stock cables are too short, end of story - either make them longer by default, or include the extension cables.
- Z-Axis spindle mount - I question the design here of mounting the 65mm mount directly into the Z rail bearings (all one bracket). I can see where this will provide rigidity, but I question why they didn’t use a simple face mount, making alternative spindle mounts a much easier option. If they provided an obscure spindle, and only wanted people to use that, sure I’d get it - lock users in. But they don’t even provide a spindle, and only officially support one. Is this why they only officially support the one, because any other non 65mm spindle would require such heavy modifications? I’m speculating, but outside of “we got a good deal on this mounting system” - I can’t see much advantage.
- When I first received my unit (mid October, but didn’t assemble until November), I ran into an issue with my Y2 motor not functioning. Emailed support, and received immediate responses. It ended up being a loose connector, one of the pins pulled out of the plug on the end of the rail. Simple fix, but they even posted up a quick video demonstrating how to get the end piece off to get to that plug. Top notch! This gave me a great first impression.
- I won’t lie, I’ve had mixed feelings about the support here on the forums. It’s very Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde. At times they give in-depth and thorough responses with details, and genuinely feel like thy want to help. Then I turn around and see entire threads, of basic “yes”, “no” responses, with no feedback or follow up (in fact they have to conflict with their own forum rule and include extra “20 character” text just to meet the minimum requirement. I don’t know OF, or who’s behind the scenes, if it’s just one person who’s trying desperately to keep up with an active community and provide SOME response where possible… Yeah, I can see the issue, but in places where follow-up was requested and again shot down with minimum responses. It’s driven the stake a little deeper.
- Software/Firmware Development - I wish the development/workflow was a little more open (source, branches in Github, Pull Request, etc.) but doesn’t seem like they have any interest in expanding that.
I’ve remedied some of this myself. I’m a DIYer, I void warranties for a living (literally, that’s part of my day-job), I knew to a certain degree what I was getting into (without the deeper dive of the Controller), so here’s some things I’ve tweaked already:
- Wifi - I went the route of @muddyfeet and did the Pi mod - works fantastic now, even in a space where my wifi is already weak. I plan to hard wire in the future anyway though. (p.s. I modified a 2nd RPi, and simply moved the SD Card, not that it matters, but this way, the original Pi is intact (but I have a stack of these things anyway).
- UI - mostly connect to my unit over LAN/IP from my shop computer now. It gives me a usable interface to work from. The only drawback is I’m 6 feet away from the e-stop when I click start… so click and pray
- Controller - TBD - I plan on replacing this out right. I have a Centroid Acorn on hand already, and use it in other builds, so quite familiar and happy with it. It very much as that “industrial machine” vibe take from that what you will. But to experiment, I’ve ordered a CNC xPro v5 to try out along with CncJS for the UI.
- Cables - I ordered the extension ones from OF. At the time the connectors were on back-order, and didn’t feel like waiting months or ordering 3000 female connectors. (I have since ordered a handful mostly to make future connections to the stock motors.
- Spindle - TBD - I have no immediate need to change this, but will be looking into options to change either the Z axis or the default mounting block - just because I can.
Your concluding statement reminds me a little of house hunting - being happy knowing the electrical, plumbing, HVAC, foundations are all sound, but knowing you will need extra cash to replace counters, some flooring, new paint, cabinets, etc. I need to be careful not to get ahead of myself, as I have no experience with any CNC work, but early on I felt the need to research other controller and software options/upgrades. I am happy that others are doing the same, and from other posts I believe you yourself will be evaluating a different controller. I have been looking at the Masso controller among others, which at least one OF owner has switched to and is liking very much. I started saving up for a new controller/software at the same time as I started saving up for my Woodworker.
Hi Mike - welcome to the forums and CNC. Though I agree with many of your points, I think the overall tone of your note is far more ‘dire’ than warranted. Terms like garbage and junk are extremely black and white, when in fact, I believe the world is far more grey.
I’m saying that based on years of experience with hobbyist level machines (good and bad). The learning curve for the Shapeoko (1 and 2) and X-Carve was very steep, and remains fairly steep. Having spent ~12 hours assembling my X-Carve, I appreciate the OF mechanics a lot. Do I like universal gcode sender UI better? Yes. Do I think the motor control software in Buildbotics is better than grbl? Maybe, possibly yes, but it is not without problems. Does it sound like your machine is misbehaving more than others? Maybe. But I am constantly reminding myself the OF is a 1.0 product, with all its warts. It will take time to ferret out all the problems and bring a great deal of stability to the platform. In that regard, the Shapeoko and X-Carve do have a leg up on the OF. A better controller is certainly warranted - either through iteration or through replacement.
Thank you for taking the time to express your observations and engage in the forums - Iet’s work together as a community to make things better. Though I’m not holding my breath on the UI front
I have to agree with @cyberreefguru… I am new to cnc as well but with all my research I feel I made an excellent choice. My expectations were high and honestly I have not felt limited by the machine.
In my opinion support is 4.5/5 (6/5 when compared to many other companies)
The controller is adequate for my needs… It could do more sure but I didn’t want to pay for a higher end cnc
I also feel your reaction may be a bit forward as we all knew this is a Ned platform which will evolve. I have had other brand new products that straight out were failures. This is not one.
Sorry you feel your money was not well spent but I am sure you can sell easily and move to an avid or other higher priced machine.
It also looks like another thread has @OnefinityCNC offering more assistance to you as the controller may have issues. I hope you will be able to edit your post/opinion after they help you out.
Being new to CNC doesn’t give much weight to your rating, other than to state the new-user frustration. Shapeoko is itself a highly regarded machine. The huge difference that Onefinity brings to the table is a nearly industrial-grade machine design. Onefinity is well aware of certain issues with the controller, and is working hard to bring the controller in line with the quality of the machine itself.
Just be aware that whatever it was that landed you on the Onefinity vs. Shapeoko or x-carve or other similarly priced brand, you definitely made the right choice. The controller issues will straighten themselves out eventually. And take solice in the fact that you won’t face the issues of belts & v-wheels, or basically ANY of the mechanical issues that plague the lesser machines.
@Wolfkabal: Thanks - at least I know it is not just me. I can’t speak to their support yet (email or otherwise), but we will see. I may need to look into the Pi mod for Wifi. I have an ethernet jack on my repeater that I diverted away from a downstairs TV to connect (which works well), but I would prefer not to hard wire. Thanks - Mike
I agree, there are many things that could be improved, especially on the software side, and the nonexistent WiFi. The Onefinity certainly isn’t perfect, but I still am happy with it and think it was the best option for my budget and needs.
@ Bill Blades: Being new to CNC gives a lot of weight to the rating. I suspect a significant number of OF customers are like me and new to CNC. New user frustration should mean a lot to a company that wants to grow it’s market share and build a loyal brand. If your recent buyers are not satisfied with your product, you may as well go back to sell dust boots.
I bought OF, precisely because it didn’t have mechanical issue potential of the other brands. The rail system is excellent and easy to setup. The controller and software - not so much.
Would you buy a new house or car and just expect that HVAC or engine problems “will straighten themselves out”? What is the difference? I haven’t worked with their support yet, so we will see, but the thread is entitled “First Impressions”.
Sounds like you might want to sell your Onefinity, and purchase a $5,000 CNC, that might meet your needs.
And don’t forget the User Interface, I mean why can’t they make these icons on the controller any larger? It’s bad enough that they are using a 7" screen, at least fill up the gray square 75% with the icon: PLAY - STOP - OPEN - DLOAD - DELETE
Really, increase the size of the icons, we’re goin’ blind here. Thanks.
I agree with Michael. Or better yet sell your 1F and buy a shapeoko think your having newbe issues now just wait. The 1F is leaps and bounds above all the others in this price range. I know because I have owned the others. This includes the controller. If you want a different controller then buy one but you better understand what you are doing or you will send tons more money and have a even worse experience. Maybe the CNC world is not for you.
I think that’s part of the point here - for the price it’s a good unit, but for the same price it could have been an even better unit (out of the box). The common trend is around the controller or software, both of which can be changed. If I could have bought just the rails/motor (motion system) itself, I would have in a heartbeat. I’ve even looked at sourcing the same components. I can find everything except the actual 35mm rails (find in pieces, but not matching sets).
I know I’m nitpicking, and probably more on the “advanced user” side of the fence, but if it worked as expected out of the box I wouldn’t have gripes. Some things are growing pains, but somethings are just poor foundational decisions.
would you buy a Ford Focus and expect it to preform like a BMW Z4
What I meant by that was not that they would “fix themselves”, but that Onefinity will be on it with firmware updates until the issues are resolved. This requires user intervention to perform the updates.
A CNC router is a hobby-level machine, and because this is obviously your first trip around the block with a CNC machine, it’s highly unlikely it’s going to work exactly to your expectations. That’s not the reality of inexpensive CNC controls.
I’d buy a Focus and expect to be able to read the gauges, and not have to reach into the back seat to adjust the radio…
I don’t think a single person has complained about “performance”
@Tim - EXACTLY, apparently I am not the only one that thinks a $2,500 CNC should work well out of the box.
@scottjritt I would expect my Ford Focus not to have engine problems and ineffective design features.
While I give them credit for being new, there is also such a thing as not releasing a product before it is ready. I think a 2.5k machine should be better out of the box and apparently, I’m not alone. Perhaps mine might have a bad controller - they are sending me a new one to check.
Wow! I guess I am just a happy go lucky guy. I love my OF Woodworker. I love my little screen. It works great with a mouse. I love the screen on my Note 9 and it is smaller than the OF screen. I have no problem using it. I am 69 years old. The controller and screen do everything I need it to. The machine is delightful to use and is a real workhorse. I’m making great projects with it and beginning to sell some of my work. Support has been great - they want these machines to work well for us. Stop your whining.