Has anyone here upgraded from a PRO version? Thoughts?

I am in the market for a CNC and I’m considering both the PRO Foreman and the ELITE Foreman.
I’ve read about both but from active users, I’m curious if anyone here has personal experiences maybe even with both versions to help me along my journey? I’m leaning towards the ELITE considering the current promo, but I’d love to be more informed by actual current ELITE operators.

I have had a ShopBot Buddy for many years until my shop got horribly flooded so I have a pretty good grasp on how to operate a CNC and will be looking to use this as a form of income.


Hey Aaron,

I have no personal experience with the Elite/Masso Controller, but I followed the MASSO setup Tom @TMToronto described in the last years in this forum (before Elite/MASSO came up), then I followed the experience of the users who bought and set up the new Elite/MASSO machines, and have read major parts of the MASSO Documentation.

It is like day and night. Constant rehoming, software freezing up, failed cuts caused by lack of computing power, all is a thing of the past.

I have not had any software issues on the Masso yet, no freezing, loss of work home or any other bug.

I rarely have to home, the machine homing is so reliable and repeatable. The tool changes become just a short disruption instead of a task you want to avoid. Especially if you add a tool setter, the machine will jog to the tool change position, then you change the tool, press one button and walk away. No more splitting toolpath into different files, upload, home Z.

There is so much potential to make a mistake when changing tools on the buildbotics and screwing up the cut.

I have a working rotary, I don’t even have to home that, the coordinates are saved in my G59 coordinate system.

I can install automatic tool changer if I like.

I just don’t want to look back. Best upgrade. I would not ever buy the Pro again after the elite experience.

I can stop the cut, change the tool mid cut, and continue. Adjust the feed and speed.

If you are a hobbyist and use this CNC a few times a year, you might be alright with the Pro. I am a semi professional and use the CNC at least once a week. I do not necessarily need an ATC, but need the Elite.

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Hey all,

for the purpose of neutrality and objectivity, it should be added here that Tom @Geige’s opinion is an individual opinion, also partially based on user error and/or misjudgment, and that there is a very large amount of users of the buildbotics-derived Onefinity controller as used in original X-35, X-50 and PRO machines, that are completely satisfied.


Hey Tom, hey all,

Every CNC machine has to be homed after power up. Exactly once per uptime. This is because the carriages could have been moved while the machine was off.

Manual tool change during a g-code program works fine on the Buildbotics-derived Onefinity Controller, if you have a working tool-change routine e.g. like this one.

I agree that the Masso brings many good things that the buildbotics does not offer, e.g. some of those that I described here.

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That is not correct.

The Masso homes itself after powering on. It will remember the work offset even when powered off.

The builbotics controller will have to be homed more than twice (don’t forget the toolchanges!), once stall homing, which is also done by the touch of the button, then you have to manually jog the machine to the touch block, connect the wires and wait for it to home the working position. Often though the buildbotics controller will freeze, and you have to restart the controller and repeat homing. Also, you will have to home the buildbotics controller after every tool change which involves jogging the tool to the touch probe, while the Elite will automatically jog itself to the tool changer and automatically home itself, then immediately continue cutting without the need to load the next program.

So on average I will home the Masso once per cut, or better it mostly homes itself with the touch of one button. Occasionally I have to adjust the Z height if I deviate from the Machine bed as Z0.There are not many opportunities to make a mistake in this process.

On average I had to home the buildbotics controller 3-4 times per cut (darn toolchanges, and why did the controller freeze right now?), with the potential to make a mistake, for example load the wrong program, or accidentally put the wrong tool in, or accidentally forget to home the Z after the tool change, or calculate the offset wrong, etc. Only one small mistake will likely result in the loss of the workpiece.

I have not lost any piece of wood due to homing mistakes since I upgraded to the Masso.

I would compare the difference between the builbotics controller to the Masso to riding on the bed of a pick up truck a bumpy mountain road, where occasionally the pickup truck goes over the edge of a cliff to getting driven by a chauffeur in a limousine on an Autobahn in Germany.

The difference is that stark.

No offense here please, but I have tried on of your toolchange routines on the builbotis controller once. I am not sure which thread that was, but there was a mistake in the code, and the spindle turned on and the bit dove into the touch probe and left a hole there.

Again, I do not want to be personal here, I value all your input on this forum and do not want to offend you, but whatever tool change routine I tried there had a mistake in the code, I assume you did not try it out on your machine before publishing it.

Disclaimer: The views expressed below are solely my opinions and should not be taken as factual representations of any products or their performance. Experiences may vary, so proceed with caution and understand that these recommendations may not work out for everyone.

TL:DR; If you are buying new, and can afford the extra scratch, go with the Elite. Period.

I also recommend considering a high-quality spindle. My personal choice is the PwnCNC air-cooled 80mm spindle, though the water-cooled version is equally commendable. If starting with a Makita router, and you plan for an eventual upgrade to a spindle, you may have to replace your entire Z-Axis slider as Onefinity does not sell just the 80mm mount for the Z-axis by itself anymore. Note that when I purchased my machine, the 80mm mount was available separately.

Lastly, I think the BuildBotics (Pro) controller works just fine. Yes you have to do things “differently” from the Masso controller, but any first-world inconveniences encountered as a result of purchasing one will be minor. Nevertheless, I’m contemplating upgrading to the Masso controller later this year for its enhanced features.

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Hey Tom,

I think I know what the problem is here: You do not know what “homing” is. “Homing” means to let the machine run all its carriages towards their machine zero position, where it will sense if this position is reached, and will then set the machine positions to zero. This step is mandatory as the carriages may have been moved while the machine was off. You do not need to repeat this step, it is only necessary once after power on.

“Returning to home position” is something else, it is driving the carriages back to this recorded home position, (e.g. with G28 or G53 G0 X0 Y0 Z0), also called “machine zero”.

If you think you have re-run the homing sequence more often than once per power up, then you seem to have a defect on your machine. It would have been wise to identify and fix this defect instead of buying another CNC controller.

You have to home a CNC machine exactly once, after power up. Whether you trigger that manually or the machine does it automatically after having been switched on, is no real difference.

Also with a tool-change routine for manual tool change like mine, you do not have to jog the router/spindle around or the re-home. I don’t know what you used as tool-change routine, but with my tool-change routine, all is done automatically: On encountering M6 (tool change) command, the spindle is stopped and moved to the manual tool change position, where you are told with popup windows and acknowledging with clicking on “continue” what to do, including probing the length of the new tool, and then continues to run the g-code program. If you had an error with a tool-change routine, why did you not tell about it?

What you describe here as “experience” which someone would encounter when buying and using the buildbotics-derived Onefinity Controller is by no means the experience of thousands of satisfied users. It is just your personal tragedy.

There is no g-code in my tool-change routine that would explain that. It seems, again, that your technical problems were not correctly identified and resolved.

I remember well the threads when I tried to help you. You had worked on expensive wood blanks, and you lost them due to defects with your machine. Before issues could be nailed down, you began to hate this CNC Controller and that’s the situation now. You are now a disciple of the Bashing the Onefinity Controller religion.

You may be right with saying that you had no issues with the new Masso CNC Controller. But the experience with the Buildbotics-derived Onefinity Controller you describe is by no means the experience a buyer will have to expect when choosing a PRO machine. There are thousands and thousands of buildbotics-derived Onefinity Controller users with their Original X-35, X-50 and PRO machines that are satisfied, because their machines works without errors.

There are things that I critized on the machines and the controllers. I am someone that uses very expensive wood blanks too, and I often wrote that I would not use a Onefinity machine for professional use without modifications. Some things were improved by the Onefinity manufacturer, and it was not only the Elite/Masso machines that benefit from this, but the Original/X-50 machines the same way too, which are now the PRO machines. And some criticism remains from my side, but for both machines, the Elite AND the PRO.

I think it is not fair to tell new users that your experience and the issues you did not nail down because you continued production without having fixed them will be what they will experience when buying a PRO machine. Because it is not correct.

Onefinity based its succes on the machines with the buildbotics-derived Onefinity Controller, and it was these machines that they offered exclusively for more than two years before they released the Elite/MASSO variant. Never would they have had that success if the buildbotics-derived Onefinity Controller gave buyers the negative experiences you described. That’s logical, isn’t it?


I should have used the terms homing and probing. That does not really change anything, the procedure of milling a piece is still far more error prone and labor intensive on the buildbotics controller.

I think you cannot speak for thousands of Onefinity users, neither can I. I am speaking as someone how has used both controllers, and I think you do not even set up your buildbotics CNC yet? It seems all very theoretical.

I bought the Onefninity because I saw the hardware as affordable for the price, especially plug and play capabilities and the ball screw nuts. I was initially happy, but then learned how weak the builbotics controller with the stall homing is, and how much faster and more relibable it became with the Masso.

They had their success because the hardware was really good value, and the customer service is excellent. The buildbotics controller works probably fine if you make signs designed in VCarve with one V carve bit.

Anything more (toolchanges, complex STL files, too many nodes,…) and the buildbotics controller is at its limits.

I also forgot to mention: If anything goes wrong during the cut, lets say your workpiece is not clamped tight enough (shit happens), one missed stepp and the Masso will stop and give a motor alarm.

The builbotics controller will continue cutting, drag the workpiece around the table with a running spindle until something breaks.

Hey Tom,

this is often the expectation people have towards closed-loop stepper motors. But this is not justified because it is simply not true. A closed-loop stepper will catch up to one half or one entire revolution if it is lagging behind. If the step loss exceeds a certain amount, the ALARM line of the stepper driver becomes active and the CNC controller can detect this and stop the program. However, the workpiece may then already be damaged as with an open-loop stepper and the bit is often broken too.

The idea that you can avoid bit breakage and ruined workpieces with closed loop steppers is an illusion that does not take into account the technical function of the closed loop stepper. The CNC controller is not informed of individual lost steps, but simply receives an alarm if the amount of lost steps exceeded a limit, which will let it stop the spindle and the program, but comes too late to prevent all possible damage. This is also the reason why closed-loop steppers have not become so popular. An open-loop stepper like in the Original X-35/X-50/PRO machines, with its steps built into hardware, is a very reliable motor as long as it is correctly sized for the application, and it is still the standard in the majority of CNC machines today, not only hobbyist, but also in professional machines.

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Hey Tom,

I can speak for thousands of Onefinity users very well, because I follow this forum since years and remember well the kind of problems that the users encounter generally, and the positive experiences they make also. I analyzed the open source software and the open hardware buildbotics-derived Onefinity Controller and know very well where its weak points are. But your “experience” is not what you have to expect when you buy such a controller. Again, you did not nail down the technical issues you had but continued to work on expensive workpieces (what I would not have done after an issue appearing). I would have fixed any issues before ruining more expensive wood blanks and taken advices on what to check or to change on the machine more seriously.

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