How long will original controller be available

I am wondering how long the original controller from buildbotics will be available to us more importantly support for it firmware updates Etc also what is the life expectancy of this controller my reasons is is one F going to stop support for this controller and only off for support for the masso and stop supporting the buildbotics

Hey Greg,

what I read was:

But even if they would stop its production, you could still use the Controller (if you like the system that much). It evolved a bit ([1], [2]) since Onefinity forked the system and it has now a 15-pin auxiliary I/O port for connection of external (e.g. closed-loop stepper) drivers.

But since they keep working on it I doubt they plan to stop it :slight_smile:

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We currently have two software versions for the BB controller in development. Our development team is different than the masso development team.


Now that’s an amen will we be able to still buy the buildbotics version controller say if the one we have now goes out and we prefer that one instead of the masso

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Of course you will!!


All great questions Greg. First, I suspect the buildbotics controller will always be offered through the original company. As for OF offering it as an option, hard to tell. It certainly has some issues - things other machines overcame long ago (e.g., x-carve, shapeoko). But the features are unparalleled at the price point. Secondarily, the RPI3 won’t be around forever, so the entire controller needs to be up dated internally anyway. I hope OF responds with more interesting feedback :slight_smile:



Yes sir
My questions are when it goes out I don’t know what position I’ll be in financially if I’d be able to buy the more expensive option or the one here that we’ve been using


Onefinity CNC:
When the Masso upgrade path comes available for the original machines would you take back the original controller and refurbish to offer at a reduced cost?


Great question
I’m hoping our friends from
1f will in line with their good reputation will want to offer those of us loyal customers an option to upgrade and keep our arm and leg

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I’m still shocked y’all are somehow getting that many Raspberry Pis when I have to sell a kidney to get one o_O


Hey Forrest,

time to switch to RISC-V :slight_smile:

Seriously, can’t you substitute with Orange Pi 3 / 4 / 5 ?

PS: Seems you can still get the pico / RP2040 (Arm Cortex-M0+) (e.g. here). Play doom in a lego brick (how is this done?)

I have tried the Orange computers a few years ago and they worked just fine, but are not a 1:1 replacement for the Raspberry mainly with the form factor. Luckily I have x2 spare RPI 3, x1 RPI 4 and even a couple zero-w boards purchased in the before time that I am treasuring like baby formula. And recently I have been finding more uses for the ESP32/ESP8266 boards which are well in stock.

And if I didn’t have any spare Pis, I would think that someone has posted something here about replacing the 1F Pi with something else like a full PC.

Hey Forrest,

The form factor, no, but regarding technical capabilities, i.e. with the built-in technical components, you get extremely much more for the money.

Depending on what you need to run on it, you may use it as much better replacement.

I haven’t bought a Raspberry Pi in a long time, and I don’t plan to anymore.

What I don’t like is that you need the proprietary, closed-source packages that have to be downloaded from the Raspberry Pi Foundation Server (to find in the extra /etc/apt/sources.list.d/raspi.list file) and that are not included in Raspberry Pi OS and also can’t be included with the many available free and open-source operating systems (which means if you don’t agree to install them without knowing their source, your system will lack some important hardware support or even won’t run at all)

Are you saying that an Orange Pi can directly take the place of a Raspberry in relation to the Onefinity? I’ve never felt or had the need to open mine up, but I thought the 1F Pi not only physically sits in a specific place inside the box, but also has a ribbon cable going to the stepper board from all the pin headers on the Raspberry? If so, then physically, the active pins on that ribbon cable will need to be translated/mapped to the Orange board, which I guess is not too difficult but may be annoying to say the least.

Also, what about the Pi firmware which is currently using Pi OS (Raspbian) of which I don’t believe will run straight away on the Orange Pi as it uses a Linux/Android hybrid OS? If so, then getting the buildbotics code (not to mention Onefinity’s specific flavor) onto the Orange Pi may be problematic?

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Hey Forrest,

the Onfinity Controller? I thought we were talking in general (hijacking the thread for some talk :slight_smile:). Assumed you do some microcontroller projects all the time (isn’t that normal? :slight_smile:) Do you want to buy Raspberry Pis as spare parts for the Onefinity Controller?

I don’t know, I did not dive enough into the source code. I planned to have more than the look I already made, but since I don’t plan to use the Onefinity Controller, it is of less interest for me. But of course it would be possible with any small or big pc with enough I/O ports, and someone who wants to track the bbmc source.

Precisely. Sure, the bbmc software that is run on the Onefinity Controller uses the GPIO pins to control the Onefinity AVR mainboard with its stepper drivers and so on, and not to forget you program the AVR microcontroller on the mainboard from the Raspberry Pi.

For me, I don’t think the effort to try to run the Onefinity Controller with another small single-board computer than the Raspberry Pi would be worth it, however of course it would be possible if someone wants to make it their project. You would have to follow the source and track the calls of the GPIO inputs and outputs. But the Buildbotics/Onefinity Controller is not powerful and professional in my eyes to make sense to try this for me.

However having created the Buildbotics Controller, especially the software, and further developing it, is an amazing achievement of the inventor.

Ah, sorry got all wrapped up in the thread, and, I think the Buildbotics controller to be fairly well suited for how it’s used here, and think doing a Frankenstein with it is absolutely more work than it’s worth, and I would love to buy one or two more Pis for backups to the 1F controller, but with my luck, the BB stepper board is going to die first.

I do think the Masso controller brings with it a more solid production shop classification, and I am very excited to eventually upgrade for the additional axis support, and it looks freaking awesome! But even with the quirks, I’m pretty happy with the BB controller and think 1F did a great job integrating it and the Pi.

I have used a number of boards dating back to when the Arduino IDE was version zero-point-something, but have enjoyed having the Pi and ESP boards being so pervasive in the past few years and could just grab-n-go for whatever hair-brained idea I had that particular day. And with having a few hobbies now, just don’t feel too much like branching out into the Orange Pi or other parallels.

[/begin soapbox] I also think the “shortages” for the Pi are not the complete reason for them going for as much as a used laptop, but also that the RPI Foundation screwed up not having enough manufacturers. Just last summer the one (and only one) stateside officially sanctioned manufacturer in Texas did not renew their contract. Wait, what?!? Someone decided to stop making one of the most popular electronic devices in the world, that makes no sense. It was at that time I also heard some numbers; there are 400,000 Pis produced EVERY MONTH! Granted, this is split between a few different models but at what point do you stop calling those kind of numbers a result of supply shortages? [/end soapbox]

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Based on threads on the buildbotics forum a year or more ago there were issues which prevented upgrading the rpi to a later version. Don’t recall specifics though…

Hey BJ,

this interested me and I searched for it, but as far as I can see on the Buildbotics Forum, they mainly see the problem that Raspberry Pi altered the connectors positions on the Raspberry Pi 4, so that Pi 4 would no longer fit into the Controller’s case backplate (compare yourself: Raspberry Pi 3B vs. Raspberry Pi 4B). The Ethernet port is now on the right of the USB ports. Also Buildbotics sees increased heat implications with Pi 4 with their current casing.

Other than that, one user reports that he was able to successfully build the Buildbotics-firmware sources on the Raspberry Pi 400 (Pi 4 based). So I would see no reason why it wouldn’t work with Onefinity-firmware sources too – both upgrading the hardware to a Raspberry Pi 4 and upgrading the Raspberry Pi OS to a recent version as well (usually recommended in order not to have a device with a lot of old security issues in your home network).

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Hey Forrest,

a quick look at the Onefinity Controller Schematics (rev5) shows: The Raspberry Pi exchanges data with the AVR ATXMEGA192A3U (datasheet) only via I²C Bus (SDA/GPIO2 (pin 3) and SDC/GPIO3 (pin 5)) and over the serial interface (TXD/GPIO14 (pin 8), RXD/GPIO15 (pin 10) and CTS/GPIO16 (pin 36 of Raspberry Pi GPIO header)). Note that there is also a TinyAVR microcontroller on the board which measures and controls current that is connected to the same I²2 bus than the main AVR. That’s all.

The remaining connections between the Raspberry Pi and the Onefinity AVR Mainboard are +5 V, GND, RESET and since revision 5 of the board, you have pin 40 of the GPIO used as SHUTDOWN for the new little circuitry that allows the Onefinity Controller to power itself off by itself (what a Raspberry Pi is unable to otherwise)

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Interesting. I figured not all of the pins were being used. And now that you’ve done the legwork, I think I will try and tap into Pin 40, instead of messing with the soft on/off power switch wires, and connect it to my automated control box (Automated Spindle and Vacuum Power Control Box). I can then auto power down after long carvings, and power on while upstairs to upload gcode for the next day.

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